Monday, April 23, 2007

Moving Down The Mountain

Pinoy Everest Summiter Erwin "Pastour" Emata was able to make a satphone call Saturday night from Advanced Base Camp. According to Pastour, it had been snowing heavily all evening. And two days afer reaching ABC, everyone is feeling symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) -- including the Sherpas. They are all experiencing mild headaches, coughing, loss of appetite, and in an extreme case, vomiting hit some members of the Team.

Upon team physician, Dr. Ted Esguerra's advise, the team will go back down to the Chinese Base Camp (CBC) to rest and recuperate after conducting a "puja" or Buddhist at ABC. Other foreign climbers who were also hit by AMS, had earlier gone down to CBC.
The team is estimated to reach CBC on April 24, giving them two to four days to recuperate. By April 28, they should be ready to start their climb back to ABC, reaching the camp on April 29 if they can acclimatize properly, or April 30 if they decide to take it slow.

This will allow the Philippine All Women Team to go up to the higher camps during the first week of May. Weather permiting, if the fixed ropes are in place at the most critical rock faces -- the 1st, 2nd & 3rd steps -- and if they are fully acclimatized, the three Pinays will have a shot for the summit and cross into Nepal on the second week of May.

Pastour had initially thought the team could make a summit bid on the first week of May, but AMS has taken its toll on the climbers. They are physically alright but not in top shape for a summit bid according to Dr Ted. Their rapid ascent from CBC to ABC climbing more than a thousand meters in two days last week caused these physical conditions.

The teams descent to CBC is timely, as weather forecasts show that Everest will be buffeted by strong and stormy weather the whole week. So the best thing for them to do really is to descend to CBC and rest.

According to their Climbing Sirdar, Lakhpa Jelgen Sherpa, they've received reports that someone from the Nepal side will try to make a summit bid next week. Maybe, he has not heard about the worsening weather condition next week during his summit push. But this is also good news because it means that most likely, the fixed ropes are now all in place in the South.

Once the team reaches CBC, communication will be much easier as they will have cellphone signals and access to SMS.

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