Friday, May 25, 2007

Latest Email from Everest

Here's the latest email from my cousin, Brian:

Most of you know that I stood on the summit of Mt Everest yesterday, so I wanted to let you know that I am safely back in base camp as of this afternoon.  

If you hadn't heard that I made the summit of Everest, here are the stats of our climb-  

Willie, Tendy Sherpa and myself arrived on the summit at 29,035 feet on Thursday May 24th at 2:45 am. We spent 20 minutes on the summit and then descended all the way to camp II 8000 vertical feet beneath us. A good time from the South Col at camp IV to the summit is 9 hours. Many climbers need 12 hours. Willie, Tendy and I made it in 5 hours 45 minutes and were back at the South Col in 8 hours! Most need 17 hours. It was still early being only 5am so we kept going all the way down to camp II at 21,200 feet arriving around noon.  

Although I did not get a view from the summit as it was pitch dark, I was really happy to be one of the few to stand on the roof of the world in the middle of the night! It was bitter cold, maybe -60F with the wind-chill so that was really cool. We tried to slow down by turning down our O2 flows and waiting a little at the South Summit at 2am but frostbite was coming on quickly in those temperatures so we had to keep climbing to stay warm.  

This was Willie and Tendy's 2nd summit in only a week. I believe that Willie now has the Westerner record. Willie has 7 summits of Everest now and Tendy has 5. Our summit yesterday was by far their fastest ever in half the time of all of their other summits. They were both really excited with our screaming fast time.  

Willie gave me the honor of being the first to step onto the summit. My first thoughts were "I am the highest person on the planet right now!"  

The BBC is going crazy with my summit. They filmed me climbing all the way to the summit and on the summit. Their two camera crew's filmed me up to camp I climbing through the Khumbu Icefall for the 7th time, and then Willie filmed the rest with camera equipment they loaned him. Then they waited 3 hours in the ice fall this afternoon with camera's set up so that they could film my return. I guess I just made medical history by having HAPE only 3 weeks ago and then returning to summit Everest. Medical articles are being written as we speak and I guess I am the center of a 4 part series kind of like Everest: Beyond the Limit that will be released internationally in 6-9 months. Discovery Channel will most likely carry it in the U.S. Pretty crazy with all this attention. I have never been a minor celebrity so it is kind of fun. There were a bunch of people waiting for me at the edge of the ice fall. Many told me that they had their radio's tuned in on our progress and when we called down at 2:45 am while standing on the summit that the tears started to flow with their excitement for my success. Pretty cool. We are having a big dinner tonight with the BBC and Everest ER to celebrate.  

We were also the last of teams to summit Everest from the south in 2007. The weather closed in behind us. The wind is now howling at 70-90mph on the summit and will for the next week. The monsoon is also now here so it looks like things are done on Everest from the south this year.

 I'm looking forward to him getting back, presumably safe, at least for a while.

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