Written report translated from audio report:
It’s Bill Burke from Chinese Base Camp, May 23rd.
We came down yesterday, Doug, Aboul, and I, and so we are back down where we started and the climbing is done for this season. Today I had my first shower in over 3 weeks. I brushed my teeth the first time in over 10 days and I shaved, so I think I’m a new person. Doug and I went down to Tent City, think I told you about that before, which is below Chinese Base Camp, and we had a great lunch. It tasted so good. I had a nice talk with David Liano, my partner who came over with me to do the double and then got sick on the north side. So, I had a good talk with him on the radio today. He’s at Base Camp South and he told me that he made two attempts to summit in two consecutive days and was not able to make it on either attempt. And one of those days — to the summit. I think it was May 20th. So David is doing well and we’re going to hook back up in Katmandu and compare notes.
The plan right now is that the yaks are coming down from Advanced Base Camp tomorrow with all the gear, the tents, our the equipment and everything. And then the day after tomorrow, which will be May 25th, there’ll be vans up here that will take us back to Katmandu. The plan is to be back at the Yak and Yeti on May 27th. It takes a couple days to get back. We’ll stop in Jonmu, the last city before you cross the border, and we’ll spend the night there. The next day we will travel to Katmandu. So that’s the situation here.
I got some awful news today though that just saddened me so much. About 3 or 4 weeks ago when I was here at Chinese Base Camp, I went up to the 7 Summits Expedition because I know the leader of that expedition well. His name is Alex –. And I went into the dining tent, and the nicest, nicest man was in there, a climber. He greeted me, he’s Irish, his name is John. And we had the nicest conversation and he was such a good guy. He had big blisters on his feet so I came back down to our expedition and Doug gave me some moleskin to take back up to John to treat the blisters on his feet. The next day he came down, and Doug and John and I talked, and John gave Doug a couple cans of Coke for giving him the moleskin. Anyway, he’s just a really nice guy. Well I found out the day after I made my summit run that John died up near the summit and now he’s gone. I just feel so sad about it. He had a wife and two children and one on the way. What happened was he was on the snowfield just below the summit, and he was moving up the snowfield, he was on the last line before he reached the summit, and collapsed. They were able to get him down to a third step below the snowfields and that’s where he passed away. So he’s still up there. I just feel terrible about it and I ask for your thoughts and prayers for him and his family. It’s just real sad. I was talking to him a couple weeks ago.
So that’s the report from Chinese Base Camp, and if things develop and things happen I’ll be calling in to give further reports. That’s it for now. Bye”