October 16, 2006 – Team Reaches Camp III

BAI Sherpas at Camp III - Photo by Dave Hahn
BAI Sherpas at Camp III – Photo by Dave Hahn

This was a day when I do not feel particularly well suited at being an expedition leader.  On one hand it is a privilege and very interesting to be in the middle of the communication as news, messages and information are relayed, but on the other hand this was a day for moving!  And I found myself restless from the moment it began.

The guys brought me my morning press coffee at the usual time, 5:00 am.  Ang Tsering started the generator in the communication tent soon after this and my morning round of checking e-mail and weather began.  But this morning I was out pacing, looking at the sky and listening for wind, knowing that far above at Camp II the team was waking in the 6000 meter cold morning for a start to Camp III. 

Rob ascends the Lhotse Face – Photo by Jimmy ChinStill restless before it was time to talk with Camp II by radio, I called Shelley back in Alberta to learn how the weekend had gone.  News that Brent Bishop, who was staying at BAI headquarters for a while, had a breakfast meeting on Sunday with John Freeman to pour over photographs and discuss the route for his upcoming Berg Adventures Ama Dablam climb was exciting for me to hear about.  Soon John, Peter Amentia, George Carabetta and Karen Kilian will be here in Nepal and their adventure will be underway.

By 6:30 Dave Hahn’s voice came over the radio and informed me that the team was preparing to start out.  As I said, this was not the easiest day for me.  For most of the next hour or so, I just walked around the glacial rubble at Base Camp, cup of coffee in hand, wishing I were heading for the Lhotse Face I suppose.

But no matter about that, the team that was really heading for the Lhotse Face did great.  I knew there were a lot of people eager for news of how they were doing and Dave updated me by radio, so I was able to pass along the good news as they ascended higher in good conditions. 

This was the climb that Michael Boni had called me on the radio about a few weeks back when he first started up – The Lhotse Face!  Michael called that day by radio to speak of all the folks back in Canada, to challenge them, even as he moved up step by step to 7000 meters.

As today’s group climbed higher, I spoke with Leila who is with the second trekking group back in Kathmandu and we were able to tell Chuck and Sally just before they left for the airport to catch the Thai flight to Bangkok that the team was already half way up the Lhotse Face to Camp III.  Kathy, Wendy, Linda and Leila were still out on the streets of Kathmandu, of course and when I finally called them with the news that the team had reached Camp III, they were delighted to know, and I heard their cheers. As it turns out they were cheering the Lhotse Face team from a Pashmina shop in Kathmandu!

Maegan Carney on BAI’s 2003 Everest expeditionBut the communication that really affected me was an e-mail that came for Kit from Maegan Carney just before the call from Camp III came in.  As most of you know Maegan was here three years ago to do the same thing Kit is dreaming of doing day after tomorrow – ski from the top of the world.  I passed Maegan’s heartfelt words of encouragement and support on to Kit by radio as best I could, but as I said to Kit, “she’s gushing some really great girl things to you about your gonna do it!.. wishing you a calm and successful summit day and a some exquisite turns…may the force be with you, Kit”   I am not sure I got it right, but I knew I was passing  a message between two of the women I admire most.  Maegan and Kit have never met, but theirs has to be a mutual admiration that the rest of us can only observe from a distance.  When Kit goes for it day after tomorrow she will have no bigger fan than Maegan.

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