September 25, 2006 – Happy 51st Birthday, Michael!

Listen to Audio Wally's Call (.wav)

Michael Boni smiles on his 51st birthday at Everest Base CampThis is the dispatch for Monday, September 25 from Berg Adventure Everest 2006 climbing team, still at Everest Base Camp.  It’s been 5 days now that we’ve been down here and I’ve mentioned that it has been snowing, there’s been precipitation.  Our days have passed quickly and I have to say very enjoyably, you’ve gotten some accounts of that.  We’ve found good things to do every day. 

Yesterday Dave Hahn and I gave a clinic on the use of our oxygen equipment, I covered the Poisk regulator and the old Poisk mask and then Dave introduced the new Top Out oxygen delivery mask system that we are going to be using this year and we are really excited about it.

But you know last night the precipitation really started.  I’ve mentioned a time or two that it has intensified but at about 3:30 this morning I heard the Sherpas get up, a crew of 7 that went out and began to shovel off the tents and dig out.  I got up and saw that we had a very serious amount of new snow.  There were times on Monday morning, which by the way is Michael Boni’s birthday and we greeted Michael at a very snowy base camp and he looked great as he welcomed his 51st birthday at 17,300 feet (5272m) at Everest Base Camp.                                    

I’m happy to report now that the Camp 2 guys are holding fort down in a big way up there, they are doing a great job keeping the camp intact.  Actually now at 4:00pm they just reported to me they have clear skies at Camp 2.

Wally demonstrates how to use the Poisk oxygen mask

We are entertained occasionally by the sounds at first of big, new snow avalanches coming off the west shoulder and the Lo La.  We enjoy going out and watching them approach us, but then of course we duck back in to the dining tent or communications tent just before the wind blast and the spray hits base camp.  It’s a reminder of what a serious place we are in and we are going to take our decision to move ahead very carefully and be very conservatively about moving after such a big snowstorm. 

But I have to say that base camp is very secure and cozy place and we are still doing well and still psyched to climb higher when conditions permit here at base camp.

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