5/26/2007

Everest Base Camp
May 26, 2007

Namaste,

The computers are still not up and running, so I cannot send a report of my reflections on summit day and the miracle recovery of my camera, which fell 3000 feet down the Lhotse face. So I thought I would bring you up to date with the latest drama at Mt. Everest.

Paul, one of our strongest climbers, summitted Lhotse on May 21. He became seriously ill after coming down from the summit and returning to Lhotse high camp and then descended to Camp 2 and became more ill. Yesterday it took us 10 hours to help bring Paul down from Camp II to Base Camp where he immediately entered the Base Camp hospital tent. The two doctors examined him and said he had double pneumonia, high altitude pulmonary edema, and he has frost nipped (not frostbite) several fingers on both hands.

He was on oxygen at high camp and has been on oxygen ever since. He spent last night in the hospital tent. The doctors are treating him with various medicines and he has been on a IV drip of a saline solution for dehydration, along with the supplemental oxygen. He is going to do just fine and will recover, however the doctors feel that he is too weak to make the trek to Lukla and a flight to Kathmandu. Tomorrow a Russian helicopter is coming up to Base Camp to pick him up and taking him to Kathmandu where he will immediately enter a clinic for further treatment. I emphasize that he will be just fine and he will recover completely, but he needs to descend from high altitude and continue the proper treatment.

As far as my plans, I want to stay here until Paul has been picked up by the helicopter tomorrow and then I will start my trek from Base Camp to Lukla for a flight to Kathmandu. My trek to Lukla will take at least 3 days. As soon as I have my flight schedule to return home I will send a report.

Bill Burke