Expedition Dispatches
Satellite phone updates from the 1998 American Everest Expedition

Wally Berg
Ang Rita, The Vegetable Porter
Thursday, April 9, 1998 — Gorak Shep (17,000')

Hear Wally Berg's call from Gorak Shep
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Hi Mountain Zone, it's Wally calling you from Gorak Shep, which for us of course is in the shadow of Everest base camp.

Gorak Shep, 17,000'
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(photo: Potterfield)
It'll just be a short, maybe a three hour walk for us tomorrow on into base camp — so we're feeling very good.

I woke this morning — one of the things I always love about Lobuche is that it gets very early sun — I woke this morning pretty early, got out of my tent and looked across to Lho La over into Tibet and saw a lot of wind, evidence of a lot of wind up high off of Changtse, the north peak of Everest. I began to look around a little more closer to where I was, Nuptse and the other peaks near by and we could see that it was quite a windy day up high. Also a little cloudy, evidence of some unsettled weather in the atmosphere, not far above where we are at all. But all the same, we had a really pleasant walk at this elevation between Lobuche and Gorak Shep today, and as I said we're really feeling happy to be here, excited to be in the shadow of Everest base camp.

Ang Rita Sherpa
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One character I want to tell you about is this fellow named Ang Rita, from Khunde, who we'll be sending you some images of and probably telling you some more stories about. Ang Rita is 67. He has worked for our cook Chhungba over the last few years as part of the Kiwi expedition, Rob Hall, Guy Cotter trips over the last few years. Ang Rita used normally by Chhungba as what he calls, a vegetable porter; a guy who can run down the valley and get a basket of vegetables and return to base camp pretty quickly, not very heavy loads, not really a very difficult job as in the portering world.

Ang Rita is a very engaging, friendly character, has a great smile, even though he doesn't have all that many teeth left, and he has really endeared himself to us. I'd have to say he endeared himself even more today, and our respect for him grew because when we arrived at Gorak Shep,

A porter carries expedition gear
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(photo: Potterfield)
it was late in the morning, and we discovered that some of the porters that had come ahead had decided they were sick and had dropped some loads near Gorak Shep. In particular, a battery which we need to use at base camp which weights 32 kilos and some solar panels. Being as communications, as technically orientated as we are on this expedition, you know that all this power sources are important to us. Chhungba decided it probably wouldn't be too much to ask Ang Rita to pick up that 32 kilo battery and run it up on to base camp this afternoon, come back here tonight, and rejoin us, and of course return to base camp with us tomorrow. In fact Ang Rita from Khunde did just that. He hasn't come back from base camp yet, but I'm sure he'll be here soon. This old man can probably tell us a lot of stories about the old days in the Khumbu. He was actually a young man before the first westerners even came in here.

Charles on the sat phone from the trek
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We're really happy to have him with us, and he certainly is pulling his share as we move our expedition to base camp. Tomorrow he'll be the guy who carries our sat-phone and electronics which gives a light porter-load. But all the same, a really important one. He carries that for us and will resume that duty tomorrow morning even after he pulled his double duty today.

We look forward to calling from base camp tomorrow. Hope all is well, it certainly is on this end. Take care.

Wally Berg, Expedition Leader