November 11 - Picking Mushrooms at 20,000'

It is November 11 and the entire team is at Camp One doing very well in the early morning.

“The cold but beautiful aloofness” of Ama Dablam that Barry Bishop described in 1961 looms above us. We’re excited, we’re doing well and today we’re going to try to move all the way to Camp Three, the high camp, at nearly 21,000 feet in preparation for a summit attempt tomorrow.

I share a tent with David Burger and Ryland. And this morning David had once again this really nice and small toothbrush that his son Tristan had given him before we left. David speaks fondly not only of Tristan but of course of his wife Brenda, who provided the trekking poles he’s used daily on the trekking portion of this trip, and his daughter Janae. Janae has a mantra or a saying she says over and over to herself when the going gets rough that is “Never give up, never give up.” And various times we’ve thought of Janae’s mantra on this trip.

Tristan has a mantra as well and that’s simply “Keep dancing.” I noticed yesterday evening as it began to get cool that Brent Bishop and Doug are still given to dancing when the weather gets cool. Here at 19,000 feet at Camp One, it’s a modified version of what they were doing that we referred to as “the Chicken” down in the lowlands at Pheriche. I ended up calling this the “Funky Bunny”. It still is pretty active but the movements at quite a bit more restricted here at Camp One.

We’ll begin climbing across the traverse soon. We’ll climb the Yellow Tower today and we will eventually climb up and over the snow towers that have been called “the mushrooms.”

On March 9, 1961, Barry Bishop and Michael Ward set off to complete the route to Camp Three and Barry noted, “Ward and I set off to pick mushrooms.”

So I guess this group, after a long and technical traverse near the end of our day, will be “picking mushrooms” as we hope to arrive at Camp Three in the early to mid-afternoon and begin bedding down for our summit attempt tomorrow.

Ama Dablam 2002
BAI team:

Wally Berg,
Canmore, Alberta
Brent Bishop,
Bozeman, Montana
David Burger,
Boulder, Colorado
Garry Porter
Olalla, Washington
Ryland Gardner
Edwards, Colorado
Doug Frost
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Our objective:

22,494 feet
6857 meters

First Ascent:

March 13, 1961
Barry Bishop
Wally Ramanes
Mike Gill
Mike Ward