BASE CAMP BASE CAMP BASE CAMP
"Home" at Last
Mary with Fiona & Paul on their return to base camp this morning. Photo Dennis Kellner.
Mary here, Paul and Fiona left Camp 2 early this morning and came down safely through the Ice Fall and into Base Camp.
I climbed up to just past the crampon point to meet them and believe me, that was tiring! I was thrilled to be there and welcome them back-to actually see them and hug them!!
It was so exciing watching them coming down this morning-you can see them for ages.....just like little ants on the landscape.
They are remarkably fit and well, and although very tired, are in really good shape.
Although they had a very early breakfast up there, the Sherpas here gave them a second one of bacon and eggs, potato and pancakes! They really enjoyed it and are about to have a shower. Well, a bucket wash, but I can assure you, it is amazing how refreshing a bucket wash is. (Perhaps it could be introduced into drought affected Melbourne!)
Departing Base Camp
Base Camp is a very different place now- many of the tents are packed up as all the different groups prepare to leave. The weather is much warmer now and much of the ice has melted so there is a lot more water around.
We are going to pack up our bags this afternoon and head off downhill tomorrow. What took 12 days on the way in will only take about 4 days going out because you don't have to worry about acclimitization on the way out.
We will stay in the lodges again and walk down to Lukla and then fly in that little plane again, but this time down to Kathmandu.
I am not sure when we leave Kathmandu as we have to change tickets etc but will know in the next couple of days.
I really want to thank Paul and Fiona for allowing me this unique and special opportunity to join then at Base Camp and to be a small part of their wonderful adventure. I think they are two of the bravest and most dedicated people I know and their generosity in sharing their trip with everyone has ben fantastic.
Thanks to the IMG staff here for looking after me so well. How they produce such a high standad of meals out of that kitchen is amazing.
I would also like to thank all my family and friends (and new friends) who have been able to share this adventure with their thoughts, wishes and messages of support. These have been greatly appreciated.
Thanks also to Nick for all your help to make the IT side of this work so seamlessly and to my husband John who was always there answering my sms's and giving me so much love, support and encouragement.
Posted by: Cas, London on May 25, 2006 06:59 PM AEST
very relieved to know you are both safely down the mountain. Well done for and excellent climb and fantastic reporting
Maybe meet you in person one day
Posted by: Daryl, Melb, Vic, Aus on May 25, 2006 07:08 PM AEST
Nice to see you down safe and sound. Look forward to catching up with you (and Zoe) on your return to Melb.
Posted by: Beck Adler on May 25, 2006 07:12 PM AEST
Hi guys, lovely to see the 3 of your smiling faces at BC! You guys look fantastic. Dad and I are off for dinner with Marg and Neil, and I am sure we will have a drink or two on your behalf!
Posted by: Dad / John on May 25, 2006 07:16 PM AEST
Mare, I am sure that I speak on behalf of all the people who have followed this around the World, we want to say thank-you to you.
For those who do know Mary, you will be very aware that she loves adventure and excitement, but unlike Paul and Fiona who had Everest as a goal in life, Mary was far out of her comfort zone. Living in a tiny tent in all that cold would be no fun at all, together with the constant worry and responsibility for our great climbers would sit heavily on her shoulders.
Thank you so very much for being such a wonderful and unselfish person. Lots of love, your proud husband John.
Posted by: Sammie and Nick Melb Aus on May 25, 2006 07:30 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fi,
Glad to see you back safe and sound, enjoy the bucket bath :-)
xx Sammie and Nick
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 25, 2006 07:36 PM AEST
Hi Fiona, Paul and Mary
I am so happy you are back "home". BC must really feel like home at this point! It's amazing how relative everything is. After this experience, if you do not have great water pressure for a shower or better yet, if you have to use an outhouse as a restroom; it will be a luxury!!!
Great last photo of the 3 of you at BC. Enjoy your trek back to Lukla. It should be gorgeous...all the valleys will be green and beautiful. I hope we can get a few more posts before we all have to "sign off"! MC
"When your heart is open to new possibilities, it is inevitable that good things will come your way." mc
Posted by: Glenda Mickleburgh on May 25, 2006 07:56 PM AEST
To you all,
So relieved to see you all safe and sound at BC.
A huge thankyou for allowing us the privilege of sharing your fantastic journey. It truly has been an inspiration and we will SO miss the daily reports.
Mary, What a challenge you have embraced with both hands!In typical style you have risen to the task with the strength and committment that we have always associated with you.
Look forward to seeing you soon,
Love, Glenda and Colin XX
Posted by: Sam Fountain (Shewee Girl!) on May 25, 2006 08:06 PM AEST
Absolutely fantastic! You've had me glued to my little PC on the other side of the world (UK) all the way through. You are amazing, determined and so brave.
What a story- the best one I've ever read. I feel I know you now and want to keep on following - good luck with your next adventure!
Posted by: karlyne on May 25, 2006 08:10 PM AEST
GREAT TO SEE YOU BOTH SAFE AND DOWN THE MOUNTAIN IT HAS BEEN A VERY EXCITING COUPLE OF WEEKS EVEN FOR US SITTING ON OUR BACKSIDES WATCHING YOU GUYS. FIONA MASSAGE OR FACIAL?
Posted by: Brad on May 25, 2006 08:19 PM AEST
Congratulations on making it back to BC in good condition. Bet you can't wait to have a really long shower back in Oz or maybe a BBQ/spa night at your place? I just wanted to publicly thank Nick from ExpeditionBase.com for his huge effort keeping this site up and running over the last 2 months for all of us to enjoy each day.
It certainly hasn't been easy and he has worked tirelessly until all hours of the night along with Tim Adler. Well done Nick, I think you've got a great service for expedition communications.
Posted by: Rebecca, Sonam & Lhamo Topgyal on May 25, 2006 08:20 PM AEST
Fiona, Paul & Mary I am utterly crying, but good crying, such an emotional time of your lives! Fiona, I think at some time you will go if not now, but probably later, Wooooow, I did it, how surreal, and Paul what you attempted twice is just as surreal you crazy guy! I'm here in my cold mount martha house just visualising and imagining what you are going through, you guys are famous, I saw you on channel 9 news twice in Melbourne and also in the herald sun. I dont know you, but I think your brilliant!
Love lots Rebecca & SOnam & Lhamo Topgyal - Mount Martha Victoria AUstralia
Posted by: Nick Grainger (Melbourne, Australia) on May 25, 2006 08:55 PM AEST
Thanks Brad, it has been a pleasure.
Hard work too, but the terrific adventure that Paul, Fi and Mary have shared with us and the response by the huge number of people who have visited and contributed to the site, has really made it worthwhile.
To me Paul and Fi, most ably supported by Mary at base camp, have demonstrated outstanding maturity as expeditioners in that they have not only prepared and safely taken themselves to and from the top of the world, but despite illness, exhaustion, fear, cold, and disappointment, have still found time and the energy at the end of each day to share the experience online in a way that has literally gripped thousands of people. On each of the summit attempt days, for instance, the key pages were viewed more than 14,000 times.
I'd also like to thank Tim Adler over in Boston USA who has provided invaluable help with the site.
I like to think expedition reporting of this calibre on the Internet is setting a new standard online. It's real. No knows how it will end. You can be part of it. Wow!
Thanks Paul, Fi and Mary. Its been a wonderful adventure to be with you on.
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy Apollo Bay Victoria Australia on May 25, 2006 09:29 PM AEST
Dear Paul, Fiona, BC Mom and NICK!!! I cannot begin to convey the feeling I have when reading all your reports over the last few months, both from your home and from the mountain. I am sitting at my keyboard with tears streaming down my face, thinking of the end of the journey for all of the sea level dwellers. PLEASE keep reporting until you reach Brighton. We all need to know you are safely home. Not hearing from you will be like not hearing from a best friend. Nick, words cannot tell you how appreciative we are of the IT work you have done to allow the Adler Army to go on the journey to the summit. I will miss you all, including you have left messages, more than I can say.
Cheers---Valerie & Rummy
Posted by: Liz - Upper Montclair, NJ USA on May 25, 2006 09:40 PM AEST
Thank you Paul, Fiona, Mary & Nick,
reading your story every morning has been wonderful.
I am impressed and amazed that you did not miss a day, no matter how tired, sick, exhausted ... thrilled to see you back safely through the Khumbu icefall. Enjoy your trek out (I only got to Pheriche and then was helicoptered out to Kathmandu)
Please give Dr. Freer one last hug from me, Joe & Tara Luanne.
Sending my warmest regards,
Posted by: Les Smith on May 25, 2006 09:54 PM AEST
I have enjoyed and been inspired by following your updates. I'm also impressed with the technology and almost "real time" updates. Thank you & Congratulations, Big Time!
Posted by: Kyna Hart, Hamilton, NZ on May 25, 2006 10:01 PM AEST
Hi you awesome mob,
Paul, that was a superhuman effort - I nearly fell off my chair when I read you were going back up to try again. I'm just so glad you're both safe.
Enjoy the rest of your time there and stay safe on the road home. Hope to see you in NZ soon. (We'll be teaching Jemimah to toboggan on Mt Ruapehu's slopes within a few weeks if you feel like a rather more sedate mountain adventure!)
Our love, Kyna, Mal, Jemimah and Matilda.
Posted by: John & Lesley Bailey on May 25, 2006 10:25 PM AEST
We are delighted to learn of the safe return to you of your two heroes. Thank you all, again, for sharing your story with us. Our thanks, too, to your supporters and the technicians who have enabled us to share in your adventures as they happened. I, (John) am old enough to remember Hillary's climb and how it took a day or two to get the fact of his and Tenzing's achievemnent through to the world. What a miraculous age we live in!
We look forward to seeing you soon at the Baths.
Lesley & John
Posted by: Jo on May 25, 2006 10:32 PM AEST
Mary - Thanks for today's update. I am so glad Paul and Fi are back down and safe to you; how wonderful you have been to them as their personal cheerleader throughout this. You three are amazing - have a wonderful, safe trip back to Kathmandu and do continue to update us if you all can. I'll go into withdrawl if we don't hear from you again soon!
Posted by: Jane Barrow on May 25, 2006 10:39 PM AEST
WOW - You guys are just so awesome. Feel there are not many superlatives left to describe the three of you, Fiona, Paul & Mary. Thankyou for the best time reading on the internet I've ever had. So glad you are safe and soon to return home. Fondest love, Jane Barrow, Melbourne
Posted by: Kate & Benno Claydon on May 25, 2006 10:40 PM AEST
So good to see all your smiling faces together, back at base camp.
What a ride! Clearly for you two, and Mary, but also for us riding vicariously through your great daily updates. Thanks for sharing. Thanks Nick G for your great efforts too.
Take care getting back to Melbourne, and enjoy the luxuries of heating and running water!
Kate and Benno
Posted by: Donna Thomas Heathmont on May 25, 2006 10:40 PM AEST
Congratulations on your wonderful achievements.So pleased your back safely at BC with Mary,who has kept us so well informed, thank you,and also to Nick.Travel safely back to Melbourne to your families,and thank you for sharing your journey.Good Health. Donna & Family.
Posted by: Juerg Bandle on May 25, 2006 11:02 PM AEST
Congratulations to your summit and tremendous efforts. The first and last actions of my day were to read your great reports. Thanks for sharing your experience, feelings and impressions.
Posted by: Jo, WI, USA on May 25, 2006 11:02 PM AEST
Paul and Fiona -
When you have time, I have a few pressing questions for you:
1) Are you sad to leave Everest or more relieved to be going back to the comforts of home? Do you think you will climb again in the Himalaya's?
2) Is the spring or fall season most ideal to climb in the Himalaya's? Is everyone departing BC now because this season is "over?" (And is this due to the warmer temps and melting of the glacier?")
3) Why did you choose to climb via the south rather than the north? If you return to Everest, will you consider the other side of the mountain for a different experience?
4) Is it emotionally difficult to 'come back' from an expedition?
5)Please, if you can, share what you both feel were the most challenging aspects of the climb. Was it highly technical in spots? How long, in hours, did it take for you to climb from the Balcony to the Summit? And from the south summit, why can't you see the summit of Everest - at least in most photos?
6)Is it hard to believe people don't climb with oxygen, seeing this was so very important to you both? I am obsessed with understanding Everest better; it is so fascinating to me -
Again, congrats to you both - you have inspired me to want to visit this awesome land.
Posted by: Bill Sims on May 25, 2006 11:12 PM AEST
OK Folks...my family and I are going to go into withdrawals now. Can you post a note every once in awhile to let us know what you're doing...and the next adventure? Although, we don't know how you will top this. Maybe I could teach you to surf and we could hit Mavericks together...but, then again, I think you Aussies are required to learn to surf by age 4. Again, fabulous job. Congratulations to Fi, Paul and Mary and IMG. "You're a better man [and women] than I am, Gunga Din!"
Bill, Maria, Emily, Billy, Ellie and Jake. Jacksonville-FL, USA.
Posted by: Fi & Mark Guscott on May 25, 2006 11:35 PM AEST
So glad to hear you are safely back in Base Camp. It was an amazing achievement by you all, and just as amazing was the way you kept us all so involved by updating us every day & giving us so much info. (we feel like Everest experts now!!!!) It was so special to be able to share this whole experience with you guys - you truly are an inspiration. Cant wait to catch up with you when we are over there in July. Safe trip home.
Fi & Mark & kids. xoxoxoxo
Posted by: Kathy Every, Black Rock, Victoria, Australia on May 25, 2006 11:44 PM AEST
Dear Mary, how wonderful to see the precious photo of the three of you smiling at BC, all looking so well.
Well done! I too am already feeling symptoms of withdrawal at missing this site, it has been an amazing experience. The honest and descriptive accounts of climbing by Fiona and Paul have given me an education I couldn't have dreamed of. How emotional and insightful, especially their accounts of the last climbs. A few days ago I got to appreciate the details of the wonderful roles of the Sherpas. One example was when Fiona described the help with 'clipping on', now, even more so with the help that Paul received. They are priceless human beings, a big thank you to them.
What has flowed off the big mountain, via this web site, around the globe, is a stream of friendship and inspiration in so many ways that probably wasn't imagined at the beginning.
Thanks for the journey.
Enjoy the downhill trek in such good company, stunning views and relaxed atmosphere.
Mary I can't help remembering sharing a tent in 'comfy' circumstances compared to BC and send my congratulations on taking on this unique camping experience.
Can't wait to see you, hug you and hear more.
Posted by: Mum & Dad H on May 26, 2006 12:03 AM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul,
You're finally back at base camp and that's a great thing. That last crossing of the icefall was never to be underestimated. Don't twist an ankle or something on the hike down!!
To Mary, thanks for all you've done, especially on the critical days covering C4 and above. It was all very emotional and your effort was amazing.
To Nick, thanks to you for what must have been an ever-present task. I wonder if anyone realised the size of the job before you took it on!!
Finally, well done Fiona & Paul, we're looking forward now to seeing you at home.
All our love, Mum & Dad
Posted by: Larry and Marianne Benvenuti on May 26, 2006 12:59 AM AEST
Hi Paul, Fiona and Dennis,
Congratulations one more time on your brave adventure. Enjoy the walk back to Lukla and your flight to Katmandu all the while reflecting on your difficult but memorable journey at MT. EVEREST.
God Bless you.
See you soon Dennis !
Larry and Marianne B
Posted by: Robyn on May 26, 2006 11:37 AM AEST
What a wonderful achievement and adventure for you all. I have great admiration for your efforts. Best wishes and take it easy!!
Posted by: Jess (Book Club) on May 26, 2006 12:54 PM AEST
I have followed the sage from the start and thoroughly enjoyed reading the news more or less as it happens. A wonderful experience for Paul and Fiona and I think you will be able to keep us entertained (without a book) when we get to hear of your experiences also, even climbing without crampons. Melbourne is rather cold currently, but compared to what you have there I guess you could call it warm.
Fiona's achievement has also been mentioned in the press as well as the disappointment for Paul.
Looking forward to your first appearance,
Posted by: Glenda Baker. Frankston. Victoria .Australia. on May 26, 2006 01:17 PM AEST
Congratulations again to Fiona, Paul and Mary,
We are all so releived to know that you have come through the ice fall for the last time. Mary, the feeling you must have had when you first sighted these little ants on their way down must have literally taken your breath away. The whole adventure has been amazing. Thank-you for including us on your climb Fiona and Paul and a very big thank-you to Mary. What more can you say, "Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!
Take care coming down and breathe in the lovely fresh air. Wow!
Love from Glenda.
Posted by: Zach on May 26, 2006 04:23 PM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul. You don't know me; however I just wanted to say cheers for what you've accomplished. My cousin was part of your team so I was very thankful that you had posted so much detail on your site that I could understand a little more about what you were going through. It seems that you both made very tough but wise decisions at the end. I want you to know that I am truly inspired by your selfless decision to do what you did. Paul, your right, Everest will be there next time...and more importantly, so will you! God bless and have a safe journey home.
Posted by: Ram A. from WI on May 26, 2006 04:49 PM AEST
Tim, thanks for being the man behind the scene and doing a world class job with this site.
Jo from WI - You can find most of the answers to your questions if you look around on this site or if you visit Alan Arnette's site or Exweb. Everest factoids, use of oxygen etc. are well documented. Only the few gifted ones and some Sherpas can climb without oxygen into those altitudes.
Posted by: Ram A. on May 26, 2006 04:51 PM AEST
I am sorry I mean't to thank "Nick" for doing the behind the scenes work on this site in my earlier post. Tim, thanks for bringing Nick's name to attention.
Posted by: Laura on May 26, 2006 05:00 PM AEST
Hi Paul, Fiona and Mary.
Congratulations, what an amazing adventure. Hope you have a safe trip home. I don't think I can call the Blue Mountains cold anymore. Laura
Posted by: Lee Pownall on May 27, 2006 05:25 PM AEST
Wow Mary, how proud you must be- I had goose bumps reading the events of last week. What a very special pair Paul and Fiona must be. How wonderful you were able to be a part of it and to have had such an important contribution. Thank you to the wonders of modern communications..... I am lost for words just trying to imagine how you must all be feeling.
Posted by: Eva on May 27, 2006 05:26 PM AEST
Hi Mary, Fiona a Paul,
Congratulations on your Fantastic Achievement! I read about it in the Herald Sun, spoke to John today and he directed me to your website. Two hours later I am still reading about your accomplishments. It's amazing how you have managed to find the time and energy to share your experiences with the world. Fascinating reading. Great photo of the three of you at the Base Camp.
Posted by: John and Jeanette Cooper on May 28, 2006 09:22 PM AEST
Congratulations to all of you on your amazing achievement, we are in Provence and have just caught up with your site, what an inspiration you all
John & Jeanette