Friday, April 27, 2007

Support Teams Moving Into Place

E-mail update from Co-Expedition Leader Art Valdez.

12:45 PM

At 8 a.m. today, Fred, Leo and Phemba Sherpa left for Lukla to set up support at Nepal Everest Base Camp (EBC). Earlier, Thamserku, our trekking agency had already settled in the crowded camp in anticipation of the "traverse" of our 3 Pinays and to set up support logistics.

Yesterday, another Nepal EBC support group also left by Yeti Airlines for Lukla headed by PALMC founder and co-expedition leader John Fortes. John will coordinate operations in Nepal. The Team is composed of Nepal Expedition Doctor Jodell Coates (MMS), Expedition Nurse Ralph Pilapil, Pewee Wenceslao (father of Noelle) and Larry Honoridez (PALMC). Altogether, they formed the initial batch of EBC support group.

On May 1, an 8-man PALMC group, headed by PALMC ex-President Banny Hermanos, will fly to Lukla to form a bigger EBC support and cheering group for the "traversing" Pinays.

Today, Abner Mercado of ABS-CBN's "The Correspondents" is arriving together with a cameraman and a satellite technician. He will set up shop at Nepal EBC to broadcast to our "kababayans" a blow-by-blow account of the "traverse" and descent to EBC.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Vince Rodriguez, veteran reporter of the "Kaya ng Pinoy" expedition of 2006 and Studio 23 will also blow into town. Together with Sha of Sandugo, they will leave the next day for Tibet to cover and broadcast the "summit" ascent of the 3 Pinays.

Early next week, ABS-CBN can start broadcasting from both sides of Mt Everest to Filipinos everywhere.

These coming and going keep us on our feet although the bigger task is really monitoring and coordinating the acclimatization training and receiving and operationalizing the weather reports coming from our weatherman.

Pastour just called (9:30 a.m., Nepal Time) to report that when they woke up at the Chinese Base Camp (CBC) in Tibet, snow piled up by 18 inches overnight. Carina and Janet are doing fine and easily recovered after descending from the North Col to CBC. I talked to the two girls and they sounded relaxed and well-rested after a night at CBC.

Noelle and Dr. Ted are in the Tea house at the lower end of CBC, a cluster of commercial structures set up by the Chinese to put order in the thriving business at Base Camp. I talked with Noelle yesterday and she sounds fully recovered and rested. Her initial ascent at higher altitude naturally caused mild symptoms of AMS. A couple more trip possibly reaching as high as Camp 3 (27,000 ft.), weather and time permits, will fully acclimatize her and the other girls.

Noelle is always the slowest to be acclimatized but once she gets going, she ends up the strongest. That is her track records in Denali and Cho Oyu.

Pastour and Lakpha Sherpa recommends that the summit attempt will commence once the South (Nepal) side has fixed ropes all the way to the Hillary Step. Fixed ropes have been set up already until Camp 3 on the Nepal side but have stalled since last week. This is always the natural problem in the South. Each expedition is "feeling its way" or watching who will start the initial work of fixing ropes to the South Col and beyond.
Delays in the fixing of ropes in Nepal is a major factor in timing the summit bid in the North for the "traverse."

As I reported earlier, I will be making a wide de-tour to Lhasa to talk to China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) for clarification and reconsideration of additional "traverse" charges they slapped on us. Since there are not many "traverse" attempts this year, we are the most affected. I communicated already with the Chinese Ambassador in the Philippines and talked with an Embassy officials this morning who promised assistance. Our Philippine Embassy in Beijing was also furnished copies of our official communications with CTMA.
The amount is no small penny, hence this trip to Lhasa is worth every cent.

I will be in Lhasa from April 29 to 30. then I will take a land trip to Tingri hoping to rejoin Vince and Sha at CBC no later than May 2. By this time, Pastour, Dr. Ted and the 3 Pinays will already be back in ABC as they are leaving a day earlier. Our contacts will only be through the radios but I will be reunited with them when they descend back from the North Col to ABC on May 5.

There are lots of variables in when to finally reach the decision to make a summit bid. But we hope that these are manageable to ensure the success and safe descent for the 3 Pinays.

For John Fortes - How was the trek to Namche Bazaar from Phakding? Hope you enjoyed the scenic and exotic beauty of Sherpa country.

Leo and Fred - I will arrange that the radios will reach you tomorrow after I talk with Sonam. Extend my regards to our friends along the route, especially in Namche.

I have not been to Tibet although I have heard so much about its beauty and mystery. I am excited and am looking forward to an unforgetable odyssey together with our 3 Pinay adventurers.

Art Valdez
Tibet Expedition Co-Leader

1 comment:

monix said...

doc jodell is the cuteness. i kras him. hohohohohoho.

'atta girl, noey! lots of love from your biggest fangirl, monix. mwehehe.