May 25, 2009

Good Morning,

Bill called me yesterday at 5 PM from Camp 2.  He was still in his sleeping bag, dreading getting out and putting all of that gear on for the final climb through the Icefall.  I would not rest until he finished that part of his trip.  He promised that he would call me as soon as he got to Base Camp, no matter what the time.

My daughters and I talked that Bill was climbing through the Icefall this time at the same time as Walter and Bernice.  If you remember, Walter and Bernice were the two that were swept into the crevasse when the big avalanche hit.  Lightening wouldn’t strike twice….

I got quite a few phone calls from local news stations yesterday, wanting to do a segment on  Bill.  Two of them came to the house, KTLA and KABC.  Our daughters Lisa, Lori and Amy came over to give me some support.  It was actually kind of fun and we had some real laughs while they were here.  If you saw any of the reports on TV, some of the stations had many climbers identified as Bill.

My phone rang this morning at 3 AM.  I answered but it went dead.  That happened three more times.  I was hoping that it was Bill, calling to tell me that he had made it to Base Camp.  At 6:30 AM the phone rang again and this time it was Bill, confirming that it had been him calling in the night and he was at Base Camp.  He had made that last trip through the Icefall.  His phone battery had gone dead and he had borrowed a phone to call me.

It is nighttime on Everest and when Bill gets up in the morning he will begin the trek down the mountain.  He will write from one of the internet cafes on the way down, probably tomorrow.

I want to tell you how much I appreciate the many comments that so many people posted for Bill and how it helped me to know that I was not the only one that was praying and waiting for Bill’s safe return. The prayers worked and Bill fulfilled his dream.

I also want to thank Mingma for all of his hard work to help make this happen.  I think that Mingma will be a lifelong friend of Bill’s and I am anxious to meet him and thank him in person.

Sharon Burke