Journal: Everest 2007

Arrived in Nepal

Hello everyone, It was a long flight but my team mate Tim and I arrived safely. We were two gear bags short thankfully they arrived yesterday. Thank you to everyone for your kind words of encouragement. We look forward to meetlng the rest of the team on March 20.

Cheers Al,


The hike has started

We had to leave Kathmandu one day early because the Maoists were acting up. With the threat of a general strike and the airport being shut down. The team is all together. We left Kathmandu in two groups because of all the climbing gear and took the flight to Luckla where the hike would start. The scenery was beautiful and we got rained on but that did not dampen our spirts. We arrived in Phak-Ding at an altitude of 8,300ft . The next day, March 22 we left for Namche Bazar and arrived to an altitude of 11,300ft. I find the people the most intriguing and find myself taking lots of photos. Thank you everyone for your kind words of encouragement. All the best

Cheers,
Al


Namche Bazer alitude 11,300ft

Our tents are sitting next to a helicopter that crashed last year. Yesterday we went for a hike up to the Everest view hotel at an altiude of 12,580ft to help us acclimatize. The view was outstanding. From where I was standing with the naked eye I could see the top of Everest with plumes of snow blowing of the top. Standing next to her was Lhotse just as beaurfull.Early supper and then into my sleeping bag. Today was a rest day so Tim and I went into town and checked out the local market. I have a small cold but other wise I am feeling ok.

Cheers


Living in a different world.

The world as we know it no longer exists here. There are no wheeled vehicles, stop signs, lights or even roads .Two days ago we were camped in a yak pasture .We attended a Buddhist monk service which was all surreal. We are above the tree line now so for heat they will use yak dung soaked in kerosene. . The people here have big hearts .The average income is $300.US dollars a year.Everday is getting ready for tomorrow .There are no bathrooms here like we are accustomed only a hole in the floor or in the ground. But that doesn't dampen their spirits . The people of the area greet you everyday with a big smile and a big hello.The land is barren and wind swept but I am very happy to be here. The town I am in today is called Dingboche at an altitude of 14,152ft. I still have my cold but feeling much better . I feel that so far I am adjusting to the altitude quite well.I have been trying to send out photos but so far no luck .I will keep trying .All the best.

A Lite dispatch

Cheers


March 29 in Dingboche

We took a rest day in Dingboche but we were up early to go for a hike. We hiked to an altitude of 15,200ft. In the after noon we hiked over to Pheriche.Every thing is going well.Tomorrow we will move higher up the khumbu valley to a little town called Lobuche.

Cheers


Memorials over Everest

Yesterday March 30 we were up early to continue our hike up the khumbu valley towards Lobuche at an altitude of 16,200ft. Just over halfway I found myself on an ridge overlooking beautiful mountains in front of me and to my left and right. I had to pause not because of the beautiful scenery but because I was standing between the memorials of Scott Fisher and Alex Lowe and so many others who have lost their lives on Everest. It was a reminder to walk soft, be very safe, and have total respect for the Goddess of the Universe.


Cozy in my - 40 sleeping bag

Hi everyone , I am still trying to send out photos but as of yet no luck. We are having a rest day here in Lobuche but really we are letting our bodies adjust to the altitude .We are at 16,200ft and today I feel great. So far the food is good. Today I took advantage of the blue skies and got a pail of hot water and washed all of the clothes I was wearing I think after this I will wash my hair. We leave tomorrow for Gorak Shep. We will spend just one night there and then on to Everest base camp .Supper is over and I am crawling into my sleeping bag .Its a beautiful clear night stars everywhere.

Cheers


We have arrived

April 1/07

Hi everyone we were up early and left Lobuche and hiked to Gorak Shep to an altitude of 17,000ft.We arrived by noontime so we did a scramble on Kala Patthar 18,500ft and watched the sunset over Everest and Nuptse.As the last rays of sunshine were extinguished for a brief moment only the top of Everest could be seen. I hiked back to Gorak Shep in the dark.APRIL 2/07 I was up early with a headache so I pack my things and watched the sun come up.For the last thirteen days we have been hiking towards Everest base camp today we have arrived . I have a small tent to myself and this will be home for the next two months .I am in my sleeping bag at the moment trying to get warm.

Cheers


Its 2 am

Its 2 am and I have to use the washroom I reach for my pee bottle its full. I am in my warm sleeping bag but I have got to go! My hand fumbles for the zipper. The coldness stings my body it takes a few more seconds for my mind to register that I am out side standing by the embankment and let mother nature take over. I turnaround and there is a full moon hanging over the Khumbu icefall giving the appearance of diamonds everywhere .Back inside my sleeping bag I try to go to sleep but a pounding headache won't stop. It will be a long night.The next day will be a rest day. Tim and I as well as our sherps have a meeting and go over our climbing gear and trek down to the icefall . At supper I feel very cold, we have soup and a good meal I have a good appetite but I look forward to the warmth of my sleeping bag. Once inside I start to cough so hard that my supper almost becomes part of my tent and sleeping bag. I lay there breathing hard but the pounding continues . My tent is erected over what we call dry ice deep below I can here cracks and pops like a icecube in a glass. All night long you can hear rock fall or avalanches all around you but you are a safe distance away. 

Its 2am. 

Cheers,


The climb has started

Hi everyone April 5 is an important day here at Everest base camp. A lama will arrive and we will have our puja in the morning .What does this mean? Well it’s very important. Before anyone can go up the khumbu icefall the lama will bless everyone and also your ice axe and all your gear. Everyone is forbidden to enter Sagarmatha (Everest) The goddess of the universe until this very important ritual is complete. Well the puja is over. I feel good and my health is fine. I am in my sleeping bag as I dispatch this We will be up at 5,30 to make our first of many climbs through the khumbu icefall .

Hi M&D

Cheers


Dedication Project Everest 07

I dedicate Project Everest 07 climb to my late brother Derek and all the others who lost the idea of Hope and to those who say I can't, I say you can.


Khumbu icefall/ Rice crispys

Yesterday, April 6, Tim, our two sherps and myself were up at 5am . Today we started our climb on Everest .We are on the south side. As we headed up the khumbu icefall all I could think of was the cereal rice crispys. Everything was going snap,crakle pop. We sounded like a couple of fright trains huffing and puffing, but we sure had fun.We got to an altitude of 18,630ft.Before the sun got too hot and our anchors too loose. We came back down to base camp for some rest. Today we will take a much needed rest day. In going high and sleeping low what we are trying to do is force our bodies to create more red blood cells which in turn will carry more oxygen . We call this the process of acclimation.

Cheers


How cool is that

The snow is falling hard at base camp this afternoon so I wanted to share something with you. I cannot give out the names because I do not have their permission .A friend of mine made me a whole lot of protein bars one for every day. She went to all my family and friends and to the children at St Paul's school and had them write a little note of inspiration and then she put each one in a protein bar. So thank you to everyone .The other person I am thankful for picked me up an ipod and loaded it with great music. .The hike to base camp was a lot more fun because of all the great tunes. So how cool is that? So many people believed in this project that's why I am here.

Cheers


Happy Easter Canada

From the rocky shores of beautiful Newfoundland where I was born and had the privilege of growing up .To all the provinces from coast to coast. To a beautiful place I call home Fort McMurray, Alberta. To everyone in Canada .Happy Easter from Mount Everest.

March 8/07

We had a large snow fall yesterday so we thought it wise to let the snow consolidate on the khumbu icefall .So rather than sit idle we did a scramble up Pumor to camp one at an altitude of 19,000ft . Once there we sat for two hours before coming back down. Once again climb high sleep low.

Cheers Everyone. 

Happy Easter.


Happy Birthday Mom!

All my Love


Gaining ground
April 11/07 

Hi everyone We were up at 4 am this morning with the intent of going up past the Khumbu icefall to camp one .The altitude there is 20,000ft. The tents and all the supplies are there. Our goal was to climb to camp one, spend the night then the next day go up to camp two . Do a turn around and head back to camp one for the night. If all went well we would come back down to base camp for much needed rest. Well that didn't happen. The weather turned for the worst. All night the high winds battered our little tents. The fabric was being pulled in all directions . Then the temperature dropped and then the snow came. The decision to stay put was the right one. We will try again tomorrow weather permitting .I feel good and look forward to tomorrows climb. 

Cheers


April 13/07

Mother nature is a fierce mistress. All night long she battered our little tents. The fabric was being pulled in every direction . The sound of avalanches could be heard though out the night .The temperature dropped so low that it cut through my clothes and in to my bones .We were up early had a little oat meal for breakfast shouldered our packs and put on our crampons and we were off to camp two. We arrived to an altitude of 21,360ft did a turnaround and headed for camp one. It was a very long day and I am very tired. Tomorrow we will be up early our plan is to go through the Khumbu icefall all the way to base camp for a couple of much needed rest days. We are making great progress .My best to everyone .

Cheers


Happy to be here
April 12/07 

It has been a very long day and I am knackered. We have arrived at camp one above the Khumbu icefall at an altitude of 19,870ft. We will be up early tomorrow to try and reach camp two. Both Tim and I have been in our tent since arriving early today trying to rehydrate our bodies. The stoves are going full blast to melt enough snow for water. We have had soup, and eating as much as we can. Rest is in order for the moment .Tim is already asleep .

Cheers Everyone


First Westerners

Friday 13 doesn't always have to be a bad omen. Yesterday myself and Tim and others from IMG (climbers) were the first westerners to have went to an altitude of 21,360ft on Everest camp two. Early this morning we departed camp one and came down the Khumbu icefall to base camp for some much needed rest. We will take between three and four days and then back up the mountain. Everest is a big mountain and you need to have total respect, for she commands it! That's why you need to have strategy like coming down and recharging your strength ,letting your body heal. Be patient with you're self. Be patient with Sagarmatha .

Cheers


Everest update
April 17/07

Hi everyone .Here is an update on the climb. We have been resting at base camp eating and sleeping lots. Yesterday some of our climbers were heading up the Khumbu icefall when a small avalanche let go they only got dusted with a little snow and all arrived safety at camp one. Today they were heading towards camp two, once there, they would do a turnaround and head back to camp one for the night. On the 19th of April we will be heading back up the mountain for one night at camp one 19,870ft then on to camp two 21,360ft for three nights. Camp two is ready to be occupied as we have tents and food and all the gear there. This will give our bodies a chance to acclimatize at a higher altitude also we will work at moving towards the Lhotse face. All the best. Hello Fort McMurray.

Cheers


Everest update
April 19/07

Last night the winds were very low and the temp warm .I was awake by 2am at 3am I packed my packsack by 4am we were eating .The 4 days rest at base camp was much needed. It is time to step up to the plate again. We started the climb up the Khumbu icefall in the dark and all went well. This time we traveled much faster and arrived two hours earlier into camp one. By the time we arrived the sun was so hot I felt like an egg in a frying pan. As soon as we arrive we have to melt snow for water that's the first order of business its important to keep the body hydrated . Tomorrow we will get up early and climb up the Western CWM glacier to camp two, once there we will stay for three nights and in that time head for the Lhotse face and camp three. I am feeling good and have a huge appetite. The snow is falling and the temperature is dropping as the winds are picking up. To night I will sleep in my absolute zero suite and in my sleeping bag. If you are wondering what a absolute zero suit is its like a big sleeping bag with arms and legs and its very warm I will use it during the day time when I climb higher on the mountain.

Cheers


April 22/07

I have been trying to send out dispatches for days now with no luck. We were up at 5am today and its very cold for breakfast all I have is some oatmeal. The winds are blowing hard and our goal is to climb to the bottom of the Lhotse face. That morning from the start on my right hand three fingers are cold, very cold. We continued upwards to an altitude of 22,370ft the winds and the intense cold trying to push us back each step of the way. Camp three will be set at an altitude of 24,000ft. After so much effort we turn our backs to the wind and blowing snow and head back to camp two. Things are going great and we are moving forward .Back at camp two I take off my crampons and boots and crawl into my sleeping bag trying to find some warmth. Slowly, I drift off to sleep. To all the students in J.Vyboh's class at St. Paul's school, Thank you for the paper crane that you made for me for good luck . I want you to know that I carry it all the time. I had fun meeting each and everyone of you and remember always believe in yourself and that education, education is knowledge and knowledge gives you power. The power of choice.

Cheers


Everest camp two, update
April 20/07

Up early at camp one . We will spend only one night here. The night was long and cold. I didn't sleep very we'll as my throat is still very sore. I try and sleep with my buff over my face because the air is so dry. Arrived at camp two at an altitude of 21,360ft everything we need to survive is here . Camp two is well supplied .Our goal is to stay for three nights and let our bodies acclimatize in doing so we will create more red blood cells witch in turn will carry more oxygen . In the past I have climbed to 22,845ft but only slept at 19,500ft so this is the first time I have slept at this altitude . Every thing you do takes greater effort and its cold all the time. At this altitude my appetite is not so good and I find at times I have to force myself to eat. On the 21st at supper I take a bite of food and feel sick so I walk away from everyone and leave my supper in the snow. In a few minutes I go back and have a cup of hot water.

Namaste
Night time April 22/07

Its early and supper is over I am back in my tent we have a big day tomorrow. Our job here is done for now. At this altitude your body is breaking down, everything takes greater effort even the smallest task. Your brain is starving for oxygen and you are becoming exhausted. You need to go lower down the mountain for rest to regain your strength and that's our plan. Our goal is to go from camp two bypass camp one and go all the way to base camp for five or six days of rest then back up. This time on the way up bypass camp one and go all the way to camp two for five or six days with the goal of staying at camp three 24,000ft . Its another very cold night I have everything on. Three layers of socks my fleece hat, gloves and all the clothes I have, everything! .The only thing that separates me and the howling wind and snow is the thin fabric of my tent. I finally fall to sleep and wake up to stillness and warmth which feels good .I drift off again and then like jack in the box I bolt upwards Its too warm my tent is heavily covered in snow and I am breathing stale air. I get up and remove the snow its cold again and I drift off to sleep. Five am comes early I slip on my boot liners that were in my sleeping bag and then into my boots. I try to unzip the tent but the zipper is stuck I pull hard and fall backwards gasping for my breath. I lay there for a few seconds then try again this time it works. For breakfast we all have oatmeal and then we are on our way. The climbing is going well. Coming through the Khumbu icefall I meet another climber from another team on the fixed ropes. I could sense that they were exhausted as his or her head was pressed against the hard blue ice. I know how they feel for I have been there many times my self. As I climbed past the person I put my hand on their shoulder for a few seconds and in Nepalese I say' Namaste' ( hello or good by ) Everyone arrived safe at base camp and happy for the rest days ahead.

Cheers


Looking forward
April 27/07

The mountain is calling us back and rest time is over. The weather at base camp has been foul but I did manage to get some all important rest. I was up this morning at 4am and heard the loudest thunder you could ever hear but it was not thunder at all it was Sagarmatha telling us to walk softly. To be sure of every foot placement To have respect! That noise was in the Khumbu icefall where tons of ice collapsed. Its where at four thirty tomorrow morning I'll be climbing. This will be my fourth time going through. There is no other way around. I'll take a deep breath, nod at Tim and no words have to be spoken. Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway (John Wayne ). Once at camp one we will then move on to camp two then to camp three on the Lhotse face at an altitude of 24,000ft spend a night there and then back to camp two for a couple of nights of acclimation. This all should take six days. I will bring my satelite equipment again but the last couple of times it didn't work. I will do my best to keep you posted.

Cheers


Thankyou

To everyone who has sent me e-mails on my pda Thankyou . I am sorry that time doesn't permit me to write back but I want each and everyone of you to know how important they are to me. Everest is a different world. At night your e-mails give me peace your words give me strength your encouragement
Helps me make it through the day. All the best.

Cheers


Khumbu icefall
April 28/07

Hi everyone I was awakened early this morning by high winds. My tent was shaking like it was going to blow apart .I thought today's climb would be postponed for a day. The next thing I knew it was 4am and I was slipping out of the warmth of my sleeping bag .Its time to saddle up! It's awfully cold. I slip on my climbing gear and the day starts. I am standing at the foot of the Khumbu icefall and she rises 2,500 vertical feet . As we climb an avalanche lets go to our far left .We stop and hold our breath but thankfully we only get dusted. The night before the Goddess of the universe gave us a warning as part of the icefall collapsed. As we climbed I was in awe of the powerful force of nature. In the Khumbu icefall you need to have steady nerves and you need to climb with speed and be aware that at any second the ice you are climbing can collapse leaving total destruction. The Khumbu icefall is a moving glacier that is made up of large chunks of ice the size of cars, houses big apparment buildings the size of your fridge all thrown on top of each other. Your job is to climb safety through all of this to camp one. Tim and I and our sherpas are safely at camp one melting snow for water to rehydrate our bodies .We will stay here for tonight and leave early in the morning for camp two.

Hello to Canada and my home town of Fort Mc Murray,

Cheers


Keeping your eye on the dashboard

Managing your health on the mountain is a day to day business .Everything from putting enough sunscreen on to managing cracked lips to taking your socks off at the end of the day to let your feet dry out .I call it keeping your eye on the' dashbord'.Yes, just like your car, do you have enough fuel? how is your temperature? As the temperature changes you need to adjust your layers AND stay hydrated. That's like money in the bank. The smallest problem if not taken care off can stop you in your tracks and ruin any chance of a summit bid.

Cheers


Lhotse face 24,000ft
May 3/07

To climb Everest you have to climb the Lhotse face to camp 3 to an altitude of 24,000ft .For the first time I really felt that we were truly climbing .The morning started off very cold with the wind and snow whipping at our faces so hard we had to turn and lower our heads to move forward .Once on the face itself you would bend your neck as if looking at an airplane. You have crampons strapped to your boots and as you kick your feet into the hard blue ice you would lift yourself up and your calves would start to strain with all your weight .The only thing that attaches you to the ice is the two front points on your boots and your safety ropes. Below you thin air. At one point in the day I looked down and to my horror one of my crampons was almost off I had to clip myself into the safety line lift up my leg and reattach the crampon without dropping it. My heart was beating so fast and my lungs were starving for oxygen . We arrived at camp 3 early in the afternoon exhausted but happy. The first order of business is melting snow for water, then for supper I had a little rice which was half cooked and some chicken. Our tent is located below a serac [large ice formation] so for the best protection if anything were to fall it would go over our heads. We have a safety rope about five feet from the tent so if you take off your crampons you might want to clip into. Otherwise, if you slipped its a long way down. The air up here is so dry that at night you wake up every half hour or so and it feels like your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth and your lips are sealed together. That night I slept well but poor Tim didn't fear so well. Between our sleeping bags and the snow we use a closed cell foam mattress one quarter inch in thickness to try and give us some insulting protection against the cold. Tim was so cold that he sat up right in the darkness of the night listening to his I pod until the batteries went dead. When he still couldn't sleep he put on his oxygen mask and for a half hour and was breathing fresh air soon after he was fast asleep. The morning came quickly. The safety rope to the yellowband and and to camp 4 are in place. Camp 4 is the last of the camps to be outfitted before a summit attempt can be made. Everyday it starts snowing in the early afternoon and visibility becomes bad you just hope that you are in your tent at that time.

Cheers


On the lighter side

On the lighter side.Its 3am and I am at 21,000ft. I have been tossing for hours. Finally, I unzip my sleeping bag and the coldness of the night comes rushing in. I put on my boots and my head lamp and go outside .The cold wind swirls around me .I put one foot in front of the other and follow my head lamp and It takes me to a hole in the snow where a plastic bag sits. Everything from the waist down has to drop .I let mother nature take over .I reach into my pocket and pull out the paper roll and to my horror I only have two squares left. I take hand full after hand full of snow then hand fulls of hand sanitizer .Iam back in the warmth of my sleeping bag and as I start to fall asleep I make a mental note I got to start carrying more toilette paper

Everest update , Hello CANADA


May6/07

Hi everyone! We are back at base camp for some overdue rest .Its been a great week high up on the mountain but after being at that altitude for so long the body starts to break down. As a climber it's impossible to maintain your weight no matter how hard you try. Night and day you are fighting against the cold, climbing and carrying a pack and doing all this at a high altitude which requires a lot of fuel and why you lose so much weight .I am not sure how much I have lost but my clothes sure have gotten big .Everything on the mountain is set to go Camps 1, 2, 3, and 4 the last of the camps at an altitude of 26,000ft. We will need to let our bodies rest and eat as much as we can to regain our strength. We will give ourselves five or six days and in that time we will be watching the weather forecast daily . The next time we go up it will be for a summit attempt keeping in mind that we don't want to be caught high up if the jet stream hits.

Hi Mom & Dad

Cheers, 


Everest base camp news
May 11/07

Good day everyone Things are heating up here at base camp. Everyone here is watching the weather forecast daily .Last night there was a group of climbers from another team making a summit bid but the high winds forced all of them to turnaround . Trying to time the summit attempt is a big problem and usually you only get one chance the reason being your body can only stay at that high altitude for so long and you are just to exhausted . Winds at that altitude range up to 100mph so timing is everything With the cold temperatures and high winds you risk a bigger chance off getting frost bite or worst yet getting blown of the mountain. I have been sleeping very well and getting lots to eat and in regards to my overall health I feel great.

Cheers


Summit push
May15/07

Hi everyone This is it, The summit push is on. We were up early this morning and climbed through the Khumbu icefall we had to take a different route because there was a collapse in the icefall a couple of days ago. I found the day to be longer than usual and once the sun came out the heat was unbelievable. I arrived at camp one very tired.Weather permitting our goal tomorrow will be to climb to camp two.

Cheers


Everest summit push
May 16/07

Hello everyone .I arrived at camp two in good shape the altitude here is 21,260ft .There will be no rest days we have to take advantage of the hole in the weather. Tomorrow we will be up at 4am and will climb the Lhotse face to camp three at an altitude of 24,000ft.From there the climbing days will get longer. Once we arrive at camp four we will be at an altitude of 26,000ft and into the death zone. From camp three onwards we will be on oxygen. This will be my last dispatch for a few days the reason is that my pack has to be as light as possible once at camp three I will be carrying my oxygen bottle. The target date for the summit will be May 19 if all goes well. Thank you everyone for your kind e-mails they are a great source of encouragement. I am so proud to be from Canada.

Cheers


Everest updates
May 17/07

Up at 3.30am I had some oatmeal for breakfast and started the process of getting ready. It was going to be a long day. Today we are moving up to camp 3 [the Lhotse face] where the altitude is 24,000ft. The climbing was great but the lack of oxygen was not so good, at times I found myself fighting off the effects. With the lack of oxygen at times I felt I could just clip into the rope and go to sleep so each time that feeling came I would simply push thru it. Soon I was at camp 3 and hooked myself up to a bottle of oxygen and started to feel much better. All that night we slept on 02 and will continue to do so until we are back safety at camp 2.


May 18, 07

Slept very well. We were up early and back on the Lhotse face I felt strong breathing that fresh bottle of 02 but also it meant more weight in my pack. Up the Lhotse face we climbed and then we did a big traverse until we crossed into the yellowband and then continued upwards pass the Geneva Spur until we found ourselves at the south col. The altitude there is 26,000ft this is where we will make our final summit bid. As soon as we arrived we started getting our bodies ready , drinking as much water as possible, eating and much needed rest. That night we would be leaving at 9pm for the summit...


Cheers Canada from the top of Everest

May 21/07

Hi everyone, I have just arrived at base camp today and feel very exhausted so if you will give me a couple of days I will fill you in on the summit climb. There is a lot of organizations that I need to thank and a whole lot of people as well. On May 19 at 5.54am after over two months I stood on top of the world. I feel very humble

Cheers


Everest... the final summit push!

We arrived at the south col about 10am and started the process of melting snow for water. Our goal is to drink ,eat and sleep as much as possible because tonight we will leave for our summit attempt at about 9pm. Tonight the stars are shining like diamonds and the air is crisp it will be a good night to climb. The first part of the climb takes us up the triangle face. We are a long way up and and just getting started! Once on top,after about 4 hrs, we arrive at a place called the balcony where we will change our oxygen bottle for a full one . The full one will get us to the summit and back to the balcony and we will need the other half bottle to get us the rest of the way back down to our tents at the south col. From the balcony we climb the south east ridge as the snow starts to fall and the winds pick up with such intensity that you had to bend your head to one side [ but the sting of ice crystals still found their way to your face. As I climbed higher into the death zone my left toes became cold and then my entire foot . I was very aware what was happening but as long as I could wiggle my toes I felt I could keep climbing. If at any time I couldn't I would turnaround. At about 28,500 ft my head lamp started to blink letting me know that the batteries were going dead. 'Not now' I said to myself. I was all alone. Some climbers were way above me and my sherpa was way below me and I could hardly see the glow from his light. At that moment I felt so..... alone. I was finding it harder and harder to breath as the valve on my oxygen mask was icing up so bad that every time I would breath in, the mask would get tighter on my face. For a few seconds fear put its arms around me like a blanket on a cold night.I had to push the emotion from my mind and deal with the problem . I would tie a clove hitch into the rope and clip in and just hang there so my hands would be free. At 28,500 ft I took off my oxygen mask and very carefully removed the iced up valve and reached around on my rack and removed my pocket knife and cleaned the ice out once the mask was back together. I was on my way again climbing higher. I felt part of the mountain once again and I was moving faster. At the south summit I climbed past the climbers that were ahead of me now and there was just one climber and his sherpa ahead. I climbed through and up the Hillary step..... I knew that I was close about.....10 minutes from the summit. I came across the other climber and we hugged each other as he was on his way down. That will always be a special moment to me. Soon I found myself on the summit and to my surprise I was all alone! It was a great feeling being there and looking out over the vastness of the landscape and thinking of the people that no longer walk among us. For me as I climbed they were there every inch of the way. About 15 minutes later three heads popped up from the north side I believe they were from Russia .Soon another climber from our team and his sherpa as well as mine were on the summit with me as we all took photos .The roof of the world is not much bigger than a average size coffee table and I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to be there .Being on top of the mountain means you only have half your job done [you still have to get down safely]! As I was leaving the summit my left eye was getting very blurry and soon I would lose the vision in that eye altogether. Apparently, this was the result of blowing ice crystals on the way up. My eye simply froze! All I had now was the use of the right eye and at times I found it hard to focus. I continued down climbing by myself I new that my sherpa was close behind as well as other climbers . You never let your guard down not for a second . Once at the balcony I changed my oxygen bottle and continued down climbing until I was once again at the south col. The round trip took 11.5 hours. It was good to see the tents again. Once at the tents I took of my crampons and crawled into my sleeping bag for a much needed sleep. The next morning May 20 we were up early and climbed down to camp two bypassing camp three altogether .May 21 we would do the same thing bypassing camp one all the way through the Khumbu icefall and into base camp. As I was taking off my crampons for the last time I could feel the weight of the mountain slip from my shoulders. I had made it! Sagarmatha is a big mountain to climb and she commands respect .This year several lives were lost , people turned around for different reasons and others were rescued, some toes and fingers were lost to frost bite. I feel very lucky to have been given safe passage by the goddess of the universe and to have climbed in the land of the giants I arrived at the top of the world on May 19/07 the time was 5.54am.

Cheers


Back in the USA

Wow, what a crazy week after arriving at base camp! The next day I was up at 5 am packing all my belongings and by 8 am was saying my good-byes to everyone. It took several days to get to Lukla and then I had to get a flight out to Kathmandu. The whole time you were very aware that this place is in control by the communist Maoists. Once at Kathmandu I rejoined Tim Warren and we both changed our plane tickets to leave earlier than planned, but because the Maoist had yet another point to make that didn't happen as we had hoped .What did happen was something that you only see on the news and never think that you would be right in the middle of . All morning you could feel the tension building with armed military type police everywhere. For the most part the only vehicles on the roads were United Nations, Red Cross and ambulance. At one point we boarded a bus that would normally fit twenty and this day they packed in about fifty [all tourists like us trying to get to the airport ].There were road blocks by the Maoist everywhere and they had big tree stumps everything and anything they could find to block the way. At one point things became so bad that our bus driver was pulled from the drivers seat and dragged out side. He put his hands together as if praying as the angry mob was all-round shouting at him. As this was going on others were trying to let the air out of the bus tires. After sometime they finally let us go but said we would be the last to leave. We arrived at the airport without our luggage and quite anxious but the plane left without us. Now we had to find another way back to the hotel and try the next day. That evening I ate some bad chicken and spent the entire night in the washroom .In climbing Everest I lost 28lbs.....and in the washroom I lost even more! Feeling sick and flying is not my idea of fun but everything worked out just fine. Late last night we arrived in Providence, RI so I will spend a few nights here then be on my way back to Canada. Thankyou everyone for your heart felt concerns

Cheers, Al


Thank you

June 4/07

Hi everybody ,I arrived back in my hometown of Fort McMurray ,Alberta today and it feels great to be back. I would like to thank all the sponsors without their generous support Project Everest 07 would not have happened .Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo ,Summit Valve and Controls Inc,Suncor Energy ,Universal Aviation Services ,Paddy McSwiggins Bar and Grill, Outdoor Essentials,GIW Pumps.There have been so many others that have believed in myself and Project Everest 07 that with the fear of not mentioning someone I will simply say thankyou to all, I really appreciated all the e-mails they were great .All though we worked under IMG this was a non guided climb witch gave us the freedom to make all our own decisions and to move up and down the mountain at will. If I have a message its simple , Believe , Believe in yourself ,

Cheers


Namaste

Hi everyone just a little update on what has been happening to me since I returned home. As you can imagine after climbing Everest and losing 28 pounds, rest was the order of the day. It has taken two months but with each passing day I feel much better and I am regaining the pounds I lost. People often ask me what I had looked forward to once I arrived home. They would ask if it was the comforts of a bed, eating normal food or any one of the comforts of the western world but what I wanted the most was very simple and it came from the heart of a friend a HUG. I had a chance to revisit the children at St Paul's school and deliver on a promise that I had made to them. They had given me a paper crane for good luck and I told them that if they study hard and listen to their teacher that I would come back before school year ends with a photo for each one of them with me holding the paper crane at base camp. I did a little better than that; I took their paper crane all the way to the Summit. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and my other sponsors gave me a great welcome home with several hundred well wishers braving the rain to welcome me back. That was cool. With the help from some of my sponsors I have been working on sorting out fourteen hundred photo's. Once this huge task is completed my goal is to do a series of slide shows. Within the next three weeks I will be posting a series of photos of my trip and climb on Mount Everest. My many thanks to each and everyone who took the time to sign the guest book on the opening page of my web-site. 

All the best,

Cheers, Al

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