2001 Everest South Side Expedition 
Directed by Phil Ershler • Lead by Greg Wilson 

Dispatches April 16-25

Base Camp
Base Camp
April 16, 2001
Hi all, by now you have probably received word that we reached Base Camp. You will not receive this update until mid-April. My good friend, Wynne, is carrying this note down from Base Camp and it will be sent after she reaches the States.

Our team of 5 climbers has been accompanied by 11 trekkers. The trekkers hiked with us to Base Camp, stayed one day, hiked back out and flew back to the States. Many are great friends, we will miss them all. (Four trek members turned prior to Base Camp due to altitude related illnesses.) Besides our personal gear, we have over 26 boxes and duffels. Over 2,000 lbs. of food and gear need to be carried up the Mountain to Base Camp. All of this for just 5 climbers and our climbing sherpas. During our trek, sherpas would carry our personal gear in a poko, a basket attached to a rope that is strung over the head. Each man carries 70-100 lbs. in this fashion. After Namche Bazaar, everything is hauled on the backs of Yaks, the beast of burden in Nepal.

Prior to leaving Kathmandu, our climbing team of 5, our climbing sherpas and the prayer flags that will hang at Base Camp were all blessed by a Lama (monk) in a private ceremony. During our trek, we stayed at the following villages: Phakding - 8,500', Namche Bazaar - 11,500', Tengboche - 12,687', Dingboche - 14,400', Lobuche - 16,200', and Garak Shep - 17,000'. The walk in is beautiful, very scenic along a river. As you climb higher, above 14,000, the landscape becomes quite barren. However, the views of the Himalayas are spectacular. In Tengboche, we visited the monastery and attended the monk's ceremony. In Dingboche, we watched a husband and wife plow their field. He would guide a wooden plow connected to two yaks. She would follow and drop seed into the grove. Probably hasn't changed for 100 years.

When we reached Gorak Shep, we hiked up Kala Pattar. This is the mountain, 18,300' where many of the magnificent photos of Everest are shot. Our day was clear, we took our fair share (of photos).

We are now at Base Camp In the next acclimatization phase of our expedition, we will try to keep you posted on our progress. We are dreaming of a shower and a steak.

Take care,
Sue Ershler
April 4, 2001

April 18, 2001
We had a brief talk with Sue tonight. They had not gone to Camp 1 today as planned because of snow, however, it had become clear and by tomorrow they expect the snow to be packed down and they will head for Camp 1 and then Camp 2. In four or five days, we will probably hear from them when they return to Base Camp.

April 19, 2001
April 15th, the IMG Everest 2001 team returned to Base Camp following 3 nights stay at the 19,800 feet Camp I at the top of the Khumbu Icefall. The team had originally planned to stay just two nights at Camp I but a storm on April 14th prevented their descent, however, the bad weather was short lived and the team was able to descend safely to Base Camp on Easter Sunday, April 15th.

The team has undergone further acclimatization with 4 full rest days at Base Camp. They are planning a return to Camp I on April 20th. Currently Everest is experiencing snow fall and unstable weather and if this trend continues we may be forced to delay the move to Camp I. If the weather cooperates, we will push higher up the mountain and occupy Camp II at 20,500 feet by April 21st and remain there several nights hopefully spending one day exploring the route to the Lhotse Face.

All team members are currently healthy, strong and looking forward to a summit attempt in mid-May. The expedition is being assisted by an experienced team of Sherpas under the supervision of Everest veteran Ang Pasang. Please visit International Mountain Guides at www.mountainguides.com for information on other climbs around the world.

—Greg Wilson, Expedition Leader

April 24, 2001
I spoke with Sue on the satellite phone tonight. They returned to Base Camp yesterday and will have a few days of rest before they go back up to Camp 1, 2 & 3. They will spend a couple of nights at the higher altitude and then will return to Base Camp for a few days rest. When the weather looks favorable, they will start up for their summit attempt. On that attempt, they will go to Camp 1, stay one night, to Camp 2, stay 2 nights, to Camp 3, stay one night, Camp 4, stay one night and then attempt the summit. Sue said everyone in their team is staying well and healthy. They have about three days to catch up on their game of Hearts, reading, etc. before they head up to Camp 3.

April 25, 2001
With a light snow falling at Base Camp, the IMG team is enjoying a rest day after 5 days in the Western Cwm. After ascending the 2,000 foot Icefall to Camp I on the 20th, the team climbed to 21,300 feet the next day.

Camp II will serve as advanced Base Camp for the expedition under the capable management of Phurba Sherpa who will remain there for the duration of the climb.

With all the members healthy after a rest day in Camp II, the team climbed to the upper most part of the Cwm at the foot of the Lhotse face at 22,000 feet for a look at the route to Camp III.

On the 24th, the team descended directly from Camp II to Base Camp. The next goal will be to climb to the Base of the yellow band and occupy Camp III at approximately 23,500 feet. Team members will use oxygen to aid sleeping at this altitude. Weather permitting, the team will depart Base Camp for the 4-day ascent to Camp III on the 28th of April.

—Greg Wilson Expedition Leader
This e-mail dispatch has been made possible through the assistance of Iridium Satellite LLC and their remote hand held satellite telephone on loan to the team at Everest Base Camp.

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