Expedition leader Todd Burleson reports from Nepal

First Audio Dispatch: The Expedition Gets Rolling
Thursday, April 3, 1997 -- 1pm (Kathmandu)

Click to hear Todd Burleson's audio dispatch recorded over sat-phone.
As the rest of the team and 6,400lbs of supplies (400 yak-loads, two loads per yak, means a procession of 200 yaks on the trek) flew off to Lukla (9,500'), Burleson stayed behind to meet with the expedition liaison officer (required by the Nepalese government) and finalize paperwork. He expects to catch up to the others tomorrow. Along with giving an overview of the trek-in, he talks about:

The climbers' first look at the GPS equipment they'll be taking to the summit:
"We have a new system for mapping the summit of Everest... it looks like something off the moon -- a space probe. Our goal is to carry this 40lb object to the summit, set it up, and using radar, we'll be able to measure from the surface of the snow down to the rock... so we'll be able to map the true rock-summit of Everest. That'll be a first for us this year." [Click here for an interview with Brad Washburn and a detailed look at the science to be done on Everest this year.]

Early reports from the mountain:
"We've got the word that the Ice Fall is in [ropes and ladders fixed]... The first news I've heard is that from Base Camp to Camp I is quite good. There's still some danger from falling ice and some overhanging seracs, but the latest rumor, which it should be noted that it IS a rumor, is that from [Camp] I to II... the terrain is much more difficult this year, some very huge open holes and five or six ladder stands... One Indonesian or possibly Malaysian has requested a rescue from Camp I, but I don't think it happened - I think he walked down and is fine now."

Expectations for the cybercast:
"We've done a few shots with the 360-degree camera (basically it shoots in 360-degrees)... our goal there is to shoot it all the way on the trek and DHL it back and shoot it all the way to the summit [Watch the Video Page for the new shots as they come in]... the view will be fantastic from the summit... we're also shooting some video and we will be sending back digital images... as long as our sat-phone is operating... hopefully every day you'll get a two-to-three minute audio report... and I'll have a personal diary which I'll be sending back... concerning everything that's transpired on the mountain, and what I think is going on, and how I feel about the situations up there. So I hope you stay tuned and follow us on this expedition... we're very excited; everyone is in great health; things look good; and we have high hopes."

37-Year-Old Puja: Saving A Life:
"Yesterday was my day with the lama. I was with my sirdar, Lhakpa Rita to see... [the] lama, the rinpoche here. I'm 37 years old this year, called the Cake Year, it can be very auspicious for a man... They have asked me to do a number of pujas. The lama told me yesterday I must save a life before I go to Everest. So he has sent me to the fish market to take a live fish before it's butchered and save its life and turn it loose in the Bagmati River. So that'll be my objective for today."

-- Todd Burleson, Expedition Leader

[Dispatches from Everest Index]