Back to EBC, Viagra and Getting Excited About our Final Move Up the Mountain

Everest Base Camp

May 15, 2009

Namaste:

After enduring 3 days of heavy snow and wind at Camp 2, Mingma, two cooks from another expedition and I moved back down to EBC on May 13.  We were just about the only people on the mountain.

The move from Camp 2 to Camp 1 was especially dangerous because the Western Cwm was covered with deep, fresh snow, making it impossible to see the crevasses. Because of the crevasse risk, we roped up for the move from Camp 2 to Camp 1, meaning that each person was attached to a rope about 15 feet apart. That way, if one person fell into a hidden crevasse, the other 3 members of the rope team could arrest that person’s fall.Mingma was in the lead, using his ski pole to probe for hidden crevasses. We made it to Camp 1 just fine. However, the storm had destroyed 2 of our 3 tents at Camp 1. We moved from Camp 1 through the Icefall as fast as possible because the heavy snow significantly increased the already high avalanche risk. This was my final rotation, so my next trip up the mountain will be to reach the summit.

Yesterday, the rest of our team rejoined us at EBC. They had been resting at Pheriche. So, now we are a full team again–except for Will Cross. Will decided to end his trip up Mt. Everest. He had several reasons, including the avalanche in the Icefall and the fact he has climbed Mt. Everest before. Will plans to travel to China to climb Cho Oyu.

Two members of our Austrian team–Felix Stockenhuber and Dagmar Wabnig–are medical doctors. They are conducting a study of the effect of taking Viagra on high altitude climbing. Every member of our team was tested by the doctors today. For example, they used an ultrasound machine to measure the performance of my heart, both before and after taking a Viagra pill. The test showed a significant improvement in the performance of the right ventricle of my heart after taking the pill. Felix and Dagmar also predict a decrease in the risk of my contracting high altitude pulmonary edema if I take a Viagra pill starting at Camp 2. The same results, in varying degrees, were shown for every other member of our team.  I suppose this should not come as a surprise since Viagra was originally developed to treat pulmonary hypertension. So, most of us plan to take a Viagra pill once a day, starting at Camp 2 for our final move up the mountain.

Now, we are all getting really excited about our next trip up the mountain to the summit. It’s hard to believe that we have reached the point where our summit push is imminent. We plan to divide into 2 teams since there are not enough tents in the Camps to accommodate all of us at once. I will be part of the second team. Here is my schedule:

May 19: move from EBC to Camp 2

May 20: rest at Camp 2

May 21: move from Camp 2 to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face

May 22: move from Camp 3 to Camp 4 on the South Col

May 23: rest at the South Col

May 24: move from Camp 4 to the summit and back to Camp 3

May 25: move from Camp 3 to Camp 2

May 26: move from Camp 2 to EBC

Bill

Camp II
Camp II
Camp II
Camp II
everest05152009_3
Moving from Camp II to Camp I

 


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