Everest Base Camp
May 9, 2007


We are all safely back at Base Camp and the Everest/Lhotse teams are reunited.

This last trip up to Camp III was an adventure and a test of the limits of human endurance…or at least this human’s endurance. I feel good to have reached Camp III, and to have slept really well at that altitude (our camp is at approximately 22,500 feet). My appetite is completely in tact, and I have had no signs of altitude sickness. The big test is coming up when we move back up the mountain–more on that later.

It’s great to be back at Base Camp for rest and
acclimatization. Our plan is to move down to Pheriche tomorrow morning. Several reasons for this move. First, thicker air, which helps keep us healthy and acclimatized. Second, a much need change of atmosphere. We get to see green grass and trees instead rocks and snow. We will see real people (even children!) and animals instead of grizzled mountaineers wearing backpacks and crampons. Third, we get to order off a menu and enjoy a sampling of different foods of our choice which will help us bulk up for the big move. Fourth, we will sleep inside in a tea house instead of crawling into a tent and trying to keep warm in a sleeping bag. On this last point, as I write this report, they have moved my tent off its rock/ice platform and are using shovels and pick axes to try and create a level platform so I can sleep well at night. We will probably stay at Pheriche for two nights and then return to Base Camp.

Only one more move up this giant mountain! The tentative plan for the Everest team (Mark, Terry and me) is to move to Camp I on May 16 and then move to Camp II on May 17. Mark or Terry have the option to move directly from Base Camp to Camp II on May 17. I prefer to split it into 2 days since I move slower. I am pretty sure Mark plans to do the same. The Everest climbers will move to Camp III on May 18 and Camp IV (the South Col) on May 19. May 20 will be summit day. All of this is subject to weather and any individual need for rest days. I am guessing that I will need a rest day in there somewhere. The big unknowns, of course, are the moves from Camp III to Camp IV and Camp IV to the summit. These are huge moves and big, challenging and long days. But, I’ll just take it a day at a time and remain optimistic. My faith and trust in the Lord remain strong, and I am ever so thankful for my progress to date and my good health. I feel really good.

I’ll send another dispatch when I have something new to report and, in any event, before I make my final move up the mountain. I miss everyone at home so much and look forward to my return to beloved family and friends.

Thanks for your continued support and prayers.

Bill Burke