Back at Advanced Base Camp Audio

Follow Bill’s progress in 3D. View the tracking map to see the journey so far and instructions on how to see Bill’s track.

Audio transcript:

“Hello everyone, it’s Bill Burke. I’m calling from Advanced Base Camp. I have to start with a heartfelt sincere apology for not filing this report sooner. I don’t have any real good excuses. It’s hard to even describe to you the conditions on the mountain the last 6 days what I’ve been through. But I do want you to know that I do apologize. I want you to know that I’m fine. I just got back last night, late yesterday down the North Col, the last dangerous part. I’m resting at Advanced Base Camp today and then I’m going to head down to Chinese Base Camp and get this phone charged. This phone has very low battery on it and I’m trying to conserve it for family. But my wife will tell you, I haven’t called her much either. Maybe when I have a chance to let my thoughts settle a little and write you about what it was like, you’ll understand that I do apologize, I’m fine, I feel good, I feel strong right now. We are heading down today and I am going to file a full written report when I get to a computer. It’s unbelievable what it has been like. I heard from Sharon this morning that 5-6 people died on the south side. They were in the same conditions I was when I turned around. I just feel so bad for them. I know at least one was with Asian Trekking, a doctor and I know him well. We did a lot of talking at base camp and I just pray for him. I pray for their families and their souls. It’s awful. But anyway, I’m going to try and sort all this gear laying around my tent here and figure out where to pack it for the trip down. When I get to Chinese Base Camp I’ll pack everything up. I think the plan right now is for a van to pick me up day after tomorrow and take us to ??? in Tibet, stay the night there and then drive to Kathmandu the following day. So, it’s an event filled week. I will capture it in writing when I get a chance to put all of my thoughts together. I appreciate all of you who have been calling and I feel badly. I really feel bad. I apologize for that. So, I am going to go get some breakfast and put all this stuff put in packs and on the way down I’ll call you again tomorrow when my battery is charged. ______ my thoughts and prayers are _____________. God bless all of you. Bye”


35 thoughts on “Back at Advanced Base Camp Audio

  1. Bill…fantastic climb and super effort in very tough conditons and so glad that you were strong the whole way…tough to beat the weather and mother nature. We will be excited to get you home. I think you have almost spent a year in Nepal total climbing these past seasons…they should make you a special embassador to the Khumbu. Say hi to the Tingri dogs again and look forward to seeing that smile on your face.

    John Dahlem

  2. Uncle Bill, I am sooooo happy to finally hear something from you. I am thankful you are safe and that you are a very wise mountaineer. I am sorry for the loss of life up there these past 24 hours. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for everyone. Again, I am just thanking God you are safe tonight and am interested to hear about the rest of your trip.

  3. Bill, thanks for the welcome update. Good to hear your voice, though it crackeled at times through the rush of strong winds. You “apologized” several times and offered no “excuse” for not reaching the summit. None is expected, required, or desired. Hey, obviously, the reason is horrific weather conditions and you were wise not to push it, else you may have ended up with those deceased climbers whom you poignantly cried for. Yes, your emotion came through loud and clear. We salute you for your valiant efforts this season, Bill, and we deem them a success nonetheless. Now, please phone your wife.
    Warm, fond wishes,
    Kevin Lee

  4. Admiration has grown greater each of these past 6 years that you have been gracious enough to take me along to Mt. Everest……a trip which I would never nor ever could attempt….. and, after all you have been through, you apologize ??!!! !!!
    Your perseverance and strength combined with your wisdom, courage and caring heart are a testimony for the ages…Praying for your safe return home and then we can hike the ‘mundane local hills’… ..hope to see you on the trails. THANK YOU….Suzy

  5. Very sad report indeed, just glad that you are safe and heading down. God has different plans for you 🙂 Be safe in the rest of your travels home.

  6. I love you papa! My motto in everything I do is “how would papa do it.” Always thinking about you.


  7. Hi there Bill, I’m not a close friend or family but I have followed your dogged progress over the last few years. It must be an incredibly tough time for you – the weather, your hopes, the sense of loss of others that did not make it on that day. And the huge gratitude that you and we all have that you are here to tell us about it. Take your time. You did not get to the top of the mountain but you did battle with both the mountain and yourself. You are a true warrior. Go slowly now and we look forward to the wisdom that will emerge. I know all too well the feeling of not doing what I said I would do but being all the richer for it. Blessings Sarah

  8. So glad you are safe. It was very sad to read of the recent loss. I know your family and friends are grateful you are heading down and home.
    You’re an inspiration to all of us!

  9. I love you so much papa. I’m thinking of you and praying for you always. I cant wait to see you.

  10. No need to apologize at all, Bill. You have allowed us to go with you on this very dangerous adventure–something I would never have experienced if not for you. I am thankful that you made the decision to avoid trecherous danger. Nothing to apologize for in that. Thanks so much for letting me and others go with you. I look forward to seeing you, and seeing the pictures when they are ready.

  11. Glad your are safe Bill- I was getting concerned. No need for an apology you are a true hero and I am glad I could have been a part of your journeys to the top of the world. Excited to hear about your new hobby!

    Love ya

  12. I have been following you for the past 2 climbing seasons. I am sorry the weather was not on your side this year. But what a tremendous effort you gave. It is inspiring and I have enjoyed every picture and every post. More than anything I am glad you are safe. As the others have said- you have nothing to apologize for.

    Thank you for sharing this experience with all of us and I look forward to hearing more when you are safely at Chinese base camp.


  13. Glad your safe Bill. I have followed you over the years from a small town in Missouri. My wife is a C-6 quadraplegic over the years she and I have followed your adventures. I enjoy the insight you and your family give us as most of us will never be in that situation.Once again thanks Ollie is always in our prayers and safe travels home.

    Bruce and Melissa Eckhoff

  14. Bill the headlines also have told of the ungodly conditions on Everest. I just thank the Lord you are alive, and will be able to share it later. I’m sure you are extremely disappointed and saddened for good reasons. You know it was a life or death choice. You were unselfish enough to those you love to choose to make sure you could come back and hug and kiss your loved ones. It has been amazing to follow your endeavors. Thank you for sharing it.
    Don’t apologize. You are smart and made good decisions, so be kind to yourself. You deserve it.


  15. Bill, no need to apologize as others have mentioned! We’re just elated that you are safe, Congratulations & Terra Firma! You’ve made the right decisions throughout each of your Everest journeys showing that not everyone climbing has the capacity to make the appropriate decisions in extreme conditions. You are our hero – your stories are inspiring, your perserverence unwavering, your decisions are thorough & selfless. Your family & friends are your summit rock & no mountain supersedes them! We look forward to climbing with you again – Jill & Rich Smith – Leadville, CO

  16. Bill,

    We are overjoyed that you are safe and feel awful for the climbers who didn’t make it and for the tragic loss their families and friends are now dealing with. You made a heroic decision to turn around when you did, one we all know was extremely difficult but, thank God you did.
    You have given a great gift to all who have followed your adventures — a true life example of following your dreams with the faith, strength and perserverance required to take on one of the toughest challenges on the planet and at the same time — showing respect for things you cannot control and the courage to change direction when you have no other choice.
    We are looking forward to your return and a first hand accounting of your climb.
    Be safe.

    Jim & Peg

  17. With tears from my heart: Good to hear your strong voice! No apologies, you made the right decision, for you are with us and always will be our hero! God bless you, we love you.

  18. Please don’t feel bad for not writing! We understand, and are just glad you are safe! Sharon kept us updated on the important things. We are all looking forward to your full report after you have rested (don’t leave anything out!), and I hope to be able to attend one of your public appearances when you are back in San Diego.

  19. Bill, so many people who wrote here above me said exactly what I would have said. No APOLOGIES, please! I have MAD RESPECT for you! You are the epitome of SUCCESS! Please write the book! I can’t wait to read it! Best wishes for a safe trip home.

  20. I do not understand what you are apologizing for. I am grateful to hear from you whenever you can share, & you will always be first class in my book. What an adventure you have had. I am so sorry to hear of all the deaths on the mt. That is another thing I admire about you, Bill, you put safety first. I pray for them & their families & thank God that you know how to make positive decisions in spite of your desires. I pray for your safe & comfortable return. Love & Blessings, Betty

  21. Bill,
    glad to hear that you are out of harms way and concentrating on packing becomes the task of the day.
    You certainly made two great decision in moving to the Chines side and then turn around when the weather was undescribely awful. The Nepal side seemed to have had too many anxious climbers for a very short weather window. I am very sorry to hear about the lives lost.
    God bless you and have a safe journey home

  22. Bill,
    You’re the champ of Mt Everest. I cannot imagine the strength it took to battle that mountain in the horrific weather conditions. One of the things Danny loved about you was your inner strength that pushed you to “charge” it was inspiring to him and anyone else who has followed your journey. Much love to you Bill and congratulations on getting 4 hours from the summit!
    Mary Jane

  23. Bill, You don;t know me, but I have been f0llowing your incredible journey this year. I cried tears of joy when I heard you were safe. What a tremendous effort you made.
    You are my hero!
    Burbank, CA

  24. Bill, you have no idea how happy I am that you are safe and had the good sense to turn around when you did. And, you have no idea how scared I was last night when CBS announced an upcoming story on the news (before a commercial break) that climbers had died on Everest. I thought the commercials would never end because I was so afraid you were one of them, but thank God you weren’t. I feel terrible for the ones who did die and even though I don’t know you personally, you have made me care deeply for you and I’m so glad you’re alive and safe. I will follow the others and say you have nothing to apologize for. We all know you’ve had a huge task and we understand. Take care and get the rest of the way home safely.

  25. Bill you are everyone’s hero. I concur with the person that said “God has other plans for you”. You are far from DONE at anything. Following your life has been MY adventure and I consider you even wiser than I ever did for the hard decision made to turn around at the time you were prompted to. Nothing is out of God’s plan as you are always going to be IN IT. Much love and comfort go to you during this difficult loss of your friends.

  26. Bill: So glad you made it back down to Base Camp safely. I was so worried
    when I heard of the conditons and all the deaths on the south side. Just hearing
    that you stepped over two bodies is horrifying. I know your family will be exctatic
    to have you back home with them. Take care Bill and looking forward to seeing
    your smiling face when you get back.


  27. Bill, God Bless You – for the right decisions on the mountain and a safe return.

  28. Hi Bill – I’m just an outsider looking in. Sounds like an incredible journey and looking forward to your future posts. I really admire you guys that take on that mountain. Sorry for the loss of your friend. Friday evening I was looking at several posts and saw the woman from Toronto that died on Sunday. That Friday evening as I was looking at the photos, I envied her for her courage to climb, and wished I could have been in her boots,..then heard about the tragedy Monday. What a shock. From several posts I’ve read, the mountain is too icey and not a safe climb this season. Best of luck to you and your return home safely.

  29. The attached website is a story that came out today about the conditions up there this past weekend. 80 mph winds! Wow. Just amazing you were able to get through that and back down safely. Terrible tragedy for those who lost loved ones up there.

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