Berg Adventures International 2003 Everest Expedition

September 22 - From the Western Cwm

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

It’s the early evening of the 22nd of September and I’m calling you from the Western Cwm. We’re at the top of Khumbu Icefall at Camp 1.

This Camp 1 our Avocet altimeters are reading at about 19, 560 to 19,600. The pressure may have dropped today, causing the reading to go a bit higher. But this Camp 1 is pretty far back into the Cwm, which I like. It’s not right at the edge of the steep Icefall.

David Burger (standing) and Garry Porter in Camp 1Garry, Maegan, David and myself moved through the Icefall today. Unfortunately, Brad Johnson, who you know did our first complete carry of the climbing members to Camp 1 yesterday, woke with nausea and some other symptoms that made him feel really weak today. We’ve talked to him on the radio a time or two and he’s resting. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come up here and join us tomorrow.

It’s really an amazing feeling being here. As Maegan reached the top seracs and approached Camp 1, we were video taping her carrying her skis through the icefall. And she got very emotional and began crying. I know exactly what it was about – it’s that feeling of finally walking into the Western Cwm, a place you’ve dreamed about for years and years. And seeing the majestic sight around you of Nuptse, of course looking up at Lhotse and knowing that the southwest face of Everest is right around the corner.’s that feeling of finally walking into the Western Cwm, a place you’ve dreamed about for years and years.

There’s a lot of history and a lot of dreams. It’s really a rewarding, emotional time for us. Garry, David, Maegan and I really enjoyed just the snow camping, finally being away from Base Camp. Having our tents, the equipment we need, the small stoves, beauty and majesty all around us – the simple life.

David, Maegan and I had a lot of fond memories of Billy Roos, who all of us have done a lot of snow camping with and who was really instrumental in helping Maegan raise money in Colorado for her Everest climb. All of us have snow camped a lot with Billy Roos and he’s on our mind tonight as we settle down here in the Western Cwm. (Wally called later to say that 16 years ago this autumn, he and Billy were on the west face of Cho Oyu when the big storm of September 17-19 happened. He’s hoping the team won’t have to do as much snow camping this fall as they did then.)

Just before we started cooking our dinner, Ang Nima, Ang Kami and Nwanang Nuru – you know by now that they are the Icefall Doctors – rolled back through and had some tea with us. It’s an amazing experience seeing these guys. They work really hard and long all day. Ang Nima is the classic Icefall Doctor. I’ve tried to describe it, these guys are part religious guru, part engineer, and all mountaineer.

It’s amazing, as we were having our tea – and I think they always especially love Maegan because they can tell she is so much in her element here and so happy to be on the mountain – we all enjoyed visiting with them. Any moments there was silence, Ang Nima began to pray. Even though he’s on his way back down, he still has to go through the Icefall. It’s interesting, over the years, I’ve known most of the Icefall Doctors and they are always praying when they have a free moment. They are always keeping a proper perspective on what a great place we are at and how fragile we are, and asking for safe passage.

Please visit
our sponsors:

AprilAire Foods

Outdoor Research


Clif Bar

Windows Mobile