50 Years of Everest

Alpine Ascents International




 Home > South Col Dispatches Index > April 10 Dispatch

First Report of High-Altitude Sickness
Lobuche - Thursday, April 10, 2003


Everest 2003 Dispatch Photo
Photo Gallery

Greetings everyone from Lobuche at an altitude of over 16,000ft.

The team is in high spirits and looking forward to some rest here in town, if you want to call 4 lodges, 3 yak huts, and assorted tent cities a town.

Tomorrow the teams will separate for a few days as the trekkers make their way higher to a village called Gorak Shep, (even smaller than here, the last outpost on the way to Base Camp), and the climbers will stay in Lobuche, resting, eating, and preparing for the final move up to what will be our home for the next few months.

Sad and disturbing news is making its way down the hill to us from Base Camp. Word of a French climber already perishing from high-altitude sickness, as well as a cook from another team, has us all contemplative and thoughtful, this is why we take so much time to travel to Base Camp at a safe pace, to allow our bodies to adjust. With the crowds this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary, trouble like this is to be expected, however, we have all made a pact with each other and ourselves to avoid the craziness at all costs.

I for one, coming over the hill towards the memorials above Tugla today, reflected on just how respectful you need to be of this place and these mountains. When you stop paying attention, or honoring exactly where you are, is when things go wrong.

But for now, Vern is on the fiddle, Willi is still desperately trying to hold his own with James at chess, Bob just finished the last of the smoked salmon (damn!) and I am content to be up here back among friends, and among these mountains that I hold so dear, so until later, this is Luis and Ellie who just walked in to help me send this off, wishing everyone back home a pleasant day, (and a warm night, considering the dropping temps here!)

Luis Benitez, Alpine Ascents International Guides and MountainZone.com Correspondent

email a friend