Berg Adventures International 2003 Everest Expedition

October 27 - Two climbing team-members head down valley

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

October 27 here and I’m calling you from a sun-baked, rather hot afternoon at Everest Base Camp. Quite a different look than the last time I talked to you because we did have considerable accumulation of snow over the last few days, more than a foot.

Quiet and sunny at base campAnd I think in addition I get the notion that perhaps my last dispatch from Base Camp was not clear enough to be posted, perhaps it was unintelligible. So it’s probably been a few days. I remember giving the account, back when we had a lot of trekkers coming into Base Camp, of a Danish couple who proposed – a gentleman proposed to his intended wife at our chorten or our alter at Base Camp. He pulled a ring out of a box. Brad was pretty amused to watch that scene.

We had a huge influx of trekkers for a couple of days and then we had no trekkers at all for two days during the storm. It was very peaceful here. Now we’ve got our sunshine back and I hope I have a clear satellite transmission back updating you.

One big piece of news, and a sad piece of news for me, is that two climbing members – Brad Johnson and Maegan Carney, along with Grant Meekins – headed down valley today. For different reasons, but each of them very definitive that their attempt on Everest for this season was over.

Brad had first brought this up some seven or ten days ago, knowing that he missed Rosemary and he missed Julia his mom and also that with the Banff Festival coming up, Brad’s marvellous new guide book to northern Peru is nominated for an award and he, and all of us wanted to see us get there. Plus that Brad’s dad Dale Johnson, a legendary rock climber from Boulder in the ’50s, has been in the hospital recently and is trying to recover from surgery. It was time for Brad to head home.

Also, and this is one that will take an adjustment for me and I’m sure for many viewers on the Internet, Maegan Carney has decided very decisively and with the great confidence that she is capable to do, that the dream is over for this year on her skiing Everest. It won’t happen. I say it’s an adjustment because it’s been a year now that, for me personally, I’ve lived with the dream of Maegan skiing this mountain and I know that she is one of the only people in the world who could do it, perhaps the person who is right for it this year from her end. But these things always have to come from deep inside and always have to be based on the absolute responsibility of knowing the mountain’s letting you do what you can do in a given year.

Maegan will be back, I hope. Maegan’s dream to be what she is and inspire people is not over. But she and Grant headed down valley today. So I have that announcement.

Prayer flags and CLIF banner at basecampBut, don’t think for a minute that this expedition is over. I’m sitting here with David Burger and with Garry Porter and with Leila still at Base Camp. And probably most notably with a strong Sherpa team who I have raved a lot about on this trip. We know there are answers up there for us as to whether we can climb this post-monsoon season. But we still have to go find the answers. Not that we’re going to do anything unsafe or take any chances. I think if anything’s clear about this Berg Adventures team, besides the fact that we had a lot of fun and that we’ve got a determination, it’s that we’re people with a great deal of respect. We don’t know the answer but I know we’re not finished. The answer’s up there.

But we’re going to go find out if perhaps on November 2 or perhaps on November 3 or 4, we can still stand on the summit. There’s no reason to think it’s in the bag. There’s no reason to think we can’t do it. The mountain holds the answer and we’re going to go do a consult at least from Camp 2 and I’m almost certain a lot higher than that and see what answer we get.

We’ll keep you posted on that. We appreciate the support and encouragement from around the world. No big deal here at Base Camp. We don’t think this is a particularly long time. We miss our families and home but we’re just getting settled in here and we know the pay off is going to be coming in perhaps the next 10 days or so. We’ll have the answer, as I keep saying, for what this season holds.

We have been, as a team, we have an opportunity that is to say the least unique and I’m going to have to say is definitely privileged to be on this route ourselves this season. You hear a lot about doing the mountain with this way or that way and this [inaudible] lucky. Perhaps we would have certainly climbed this mountain 20 days ago if there had been ten teams here but I didn’t want there to be ten teams here. It was a dream of mine to have this route to ourselves.

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