Berg Adventures International 2003 Everest Expedition

October 22 - Focus remains strong at Base Camp

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

This is Wally Berg calling from Everest Base Camp on October 22, which most of you know was our ‘would-be’ summit attempt.

I’ve received a lot of I hope good-natured ribbing since the entire team returned to Base Camp about my statements about not-bad wind or moderate wind, or what have you, up at Camp 3 a couple of days ago, and even when we returned to Camp 2. Yeah, we were in some wind up there. The team was strong sitting up there on the Lhotse Face. I still think it was conditioning and it will be good for us when we get to the South Col where even in the best of conditions, every time I’ve been there (save one or two) there’ve been some real winds.

Sunrise over EverestBut the winds at this point have us shut down. You may be wondering, is this discouraging, how are those guys feeling, my God this has been going on a long time. Actually, I can report to you that amongst the five of us – David Burger, Brad, Maegan, Garry and myself, along with Leila and Grant our support team – you get a focus, you get determination, what have you, single-mindedness, stubbornness. That’s not what it’s about. We know we’re going back up there one more time.

We have excellent weather forecast. It’s really interesting this year, for the first time ever at Everest, the Sherpas take the weather forecast that comes from the members seriously. I’ve never seen them do that – they normally think it’s a joke. The weather data that we’re getting from Explorersweb and Adventure Weather, and the data and forecast we’re getting really excellent ones from Michael Fagin in Seattle, have really been right on. We’re watching them, sometimes they don’t look all that good.

But no I’m not discouraged because I spent the last 15 years trekking and/or climbing in the Khumbu Region, the Everest Region in October and November. And I know very well that every year you look up there at Everest, as I do every day I get a chance. And some days that plume is up there, some weeks it’s up there, and sometimes it goes away.

We’ve got the right team – both Sherpas and climbers. Still having a great time. We miss our families, home and support we’re getting. But when you’ve got what you have going for us like we do, you don’t think about giving up until you give it a shot. You just want to time it right. So, it’s a matter of patience and we’ve got that right now.

I’m going to be going to Antarctica with Gus Pope and Will Cross to climb Vinson, Berg Adventures’ ascent of Vinson, at the end of November. I know Brad Johnson has the Banff Mountain Book Festival on his mind because of his guidebook which I’m almost certain was nominated for an award there and may well win. We miss our families. I could go on and on about how each person here talks about loved ones who are missed and the support that’s appreciated.

The dining tent at base campBut this is our mountain this year. She’s going to get the last word. But we came here for the long haul, the real summit attempt. It could be coming up in a few days, could be more like October 30 – November 2, my lucky days when I climbed Cho Oyo a few years ago. We’re going to decide that, again, based on those reliable weather forecasts from Fagin as well as the data that comes in from Adventure Weather and Explorersweb. And when we get that, we’ll make a plan with the Sherpas, rest when we need to, move and strike when the time’s right.

In this increasingly autumn Everest region season, the days are cooler, the sky is always very blue and those winds are up there sometimes. It’s that beautiful, crisp-weather autumn that you hear about that has made trekking in the Khumbu this time of year so famous.

Base Camp’s a cold place in terms of outside air temperature. But inside our dining tent, where I’m going to go right now to enjoy dinner with the others, we’ve got a propane heater going and we’ve got some excellent food from Parsong coming on the table. So, ciao for now and we’ll report about our decision whether to go soon or wait a little bit longer as soon as we make it in the next day or so.

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