Glad to be back in Base Camp
Mary climbs down part of the icefall after climbing up to meet us. Photo Fiona Adler
The spectacular view of Everest's south summit taken from camp 4. Photo Paul Adler
Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 5:30pm, 25th May
Weather: Mainly fine, but now cloudy and snowing lightly
Hi everyone, it's Fiona here,
Glad to be reporting in from the relatively thick, warm air of base camp.
Down to Camp 2
We crashed out heavily last night - still very stiff and sore from the last few days of climbing. Even though coming down is a whole lot easier than going up, it's pretty hard on your feet and upper body. We were very pleased to get to Camp 2 - and in the heat of the day, even more pleased to be met by Lakpa Sherpa who hiked to the base of the Lhotse face with a bottle of juice for us to drink. Marvellous!
After another 10 cups of juice, we ate lunch - the first proper meal for quite a while - and then fell asleep in our tent for the afternoon.
At dinner I managed to be the source of entertainment for the 12 or so Sherpas up there. I got the camera out to take some photos and then showed a couple of the Sherpas. They were very interested in seeing more so I showed them how to flick through the photos on our digital camera. However, unbeknown to me, at some point in the last couple of days, Paul had thoughtfully taken a photo of me relieving myself in the tent - basically a close up of my bare bum. When the Sherpas got to this, they started laughing and within 10 seconds, everyone in the tent knew. Oh well, there's not much room for dignity up here.
Heading Down for the Last Time
In the morning, we left early to cross through most of the icefall before the sun and heat hit. Getting down to camp 1 was pretty uneventful - mostly a fairly gentle sloping plain with the occasional crevass to step across, walk around, or cross with ladders.
We got to the top of the icefall and took a break so that we were rested to move through as quickly as we could. About halfway down we came to a large section which had collapsed during the night. Massive towers had fallen down creating huge boulders of blue ice to climb over and exposing new crevasses to cross - all of which was unroped as it had happened so recently. A bit hairy to say the least.
As soon as we got through this section and back onto the normal route, we heard a huge crash and just about jumped out of our skins. It was a large avalanche - but thankfully not close enough to be of danger to us. After watching this for a moment, we decided to get out there as quick as we could. Not easy on our fatigued legs.
Eventually we reached the end of the icefall and were very happy to see Mary there waiting for us. She had climbed up the first steepish section past the crampon point - without crampons of course.
Relative Luxuries of Base Camp
We are so glad to be through the icefall - where we can finally say that we've finished our climbing and have escaped without injury, frostbite or worse.
After being up high for a while, basecamp feels warm and the air so thick. It's also amazing what little things now feel like luxuries. A bucket wash, chairs with backs, a drink of lemonade, and especially wearing shoes other than our heavy climbing boots!
Since we were here, much of the glacier has melted and tent sites keep having to be moved and repaired. As we're now nearly at the end of the climbing season, many people have left and only a handful of tents remain. It's a bit sad really that there's no way to farewell our fellow climbers as we all finish in dribs and drabs and then pack up and leave individually. It was great to be given a welcome back from the team that remains here. We have contact details for most of our team so will be able to keep in touch. We've gone through a lot with this group.
After lunch and a shower-in-a-bucket, we spent most of the afternoon packing up our gear. We're planning to leave tomorrow morning to start the trek out to Lukla from where we'll fly back to Kathmandu. The trek will probably take us 3 days (even though it took almost 2 weeks to trek in).
Now that we've finished climbing, we've started thinking of home, friends and family a lot more. Until now, we've tried not to let ourselves get homesick by keeping focussed on our climb. But we're definitely looking forward to getting back now.
We have been so overwhelmed with all the messages we've received over the past couple of days. Absolutely amazing - we don't know how to thank you all for being with us for this incredible journey. We really do feel that you were travelling with us every step of the way and we can't begin to describe the difference that made.
Looking forward to a good meal tonight, and maybe even an alcoholic beverage (our first since January).
Hopefully the weather will be fine tomorrow as although the hike should be relatively easy, it's still a fair distance to cover - probably taking most of the day.
Thanks again for being with us, we'll contine to post updates until we get home.
PS - Mary no longer has her phone, so anyone trying to call or SMS her, please use our number (on the website).
Posted by: Jim C. on May 26, 2006 12:11 AM AEST
You guys are unbelievable..Thanks so much for sharing the adventure. Looked forward to the daily updates on your progress and happy your all safe.
Posted by: Liz - Upper Montclair, NJ USA on May 26, 2006 12:14 AM AEST
So relieved and happy that you made your last climb through the icefall safely.
Makes me sad to see your updates coming to a close as I feel I have made new friends with common interests, passions and experiences.
On the otherhand I know how sweet it is to return home to family and friends, to your home and everyday life, so I am happy for you!
Enjoy the rest of your journey and I hope you will be in touch - maybe even to meet in person one day!! :-D
Posted by: Anne Munro on May 26, 2006 12:15 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
This bulletin is brilliant just as all your others have been. I notice that you thank us for supporting you along the way - that only happened because you both allowed us to be there and you both opened up to us so thank you for that. I am now feeling more comfortable when I think that you no longer have to go through the 'dreaded icefall' again. Paul I have already said that I think you showed tremendous courage stopping when you did on both days. Can I say to you though, that I have never known you to be a quitter and when you scale the summit, as I know you will next time, it will be all the sweeter, because of all you have been through this time. Finally I have a request of both of you and I would like to give you plenty of time to think about it. Would you two be prepared to speak at an assembly at our school about your experiences. I just believe that you would both be wonderful role models for our kids and if you speak publicly half as well as you have written in these bulletins then the kids will gain a great deal from it. Well I guess you will be both home in Melbourne soon, it will be great to see you both and to hear first hand of all your adventures.
All the best to you both (and Mary)
Anne and PP
Posted by: Jac & Luke on May 26, 2006 12:15 AM AEST
Glad to hear you are back safe and sound...can't wait to see you in ol' Melbourne town! Let us know please what your flight details back are. Cheerio for now! Jac & Luke
Posted by: Jill U from Dallas, TX, USA on May 26, 2006 12:17 AM AEST
I'm totally depressed! Not with your success and safety (just wonderful), but that the adventure is coming to an end. We are going to lose touch and that makes me very sad. Your daily dispatches have rivaled Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, which got me hooked on anything Everest. What can we do???
Posted by: Brittani on May 26, 2006 12:51 AM AEST
I'd like to thank you for sharing your amazing adventure. Congradulations on making it back safely and of course your summit. I have no idea what I will do with myself each morning now that I can't check in to see how you both are doing! If you ever get to Atlantic city, New jersey, USA, there will be a pint waiting for you both. Again, thank you and congrats! Stay safe.
Posted by: Ram A. on May 26, 2006 12:54 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona, thanks for taking us along on your ride.
A request - when you have time to rest and reflect, please give us all the details of your summit climb and other pieces you may have missed on your blogs.
Jill U. - this adventure is coming to an end. Though P & F were unique, you can jump on to alanarnette.com for his adventure to K2/Broad Peak. The Karakoram season is just starting and that area is every bit as challenging and spectacular as anything around Everest.
Posted by: Laura - Fla. Keys, USA on May 26, 2006 12:55 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona - congratulations on a job well done!! Your postings have been quite remarkable and I will surely miss them. What a ride it has been for those of us at home living vicariously through you on this magnificent adventure. A big thank you for passing messages on to Dennis. To all of you, I wish you a safe journey home to your loved ones and again, thank you for sharing this adventure. It has touched me in ways I'll never be able to express. Laura
Posted by: Kim Bernall in Denver, Colorado on May 26, 2006 01:09 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona,
Now that you are back at BC I finally feel comfortable sending this message, I guess I am a bit superstitious :o) Sorry it is so long!
Congratulations and thank you for sharing so much of yourselves over the last several months. I was introduced to your site by a friend of Jack Gerstien’s and was instantly addicted.
This is the second time I have been drawn into a spectacular mountain by people with tremendous passion, focus and determination. In 1995, my friend Rob Slater announced he would be leading an expedition on K2. While I was both intrigued and excited for him, I was also very nervous -- I quickly developed these same feelings for you as well. I have never climbed anything besides stairs so it is difficult for me to comprehend the motivation behind such a challenge.
Your website was quite a treat since we received very few updates from Rob (his high tech tools were limited to a fax machine and a satellite phone belonging to someone else.) Your daily messages and pictures made me feel as if I were with you on the mountain and the detailed accounts stirred up wonderful memories of Rob. I found myself imagining again what he must have experienced that summer.
Unlike you Fiona, Rob was never able to share his summit success with his family and friends. Through an unfortunate turn of events he lost his life during the decent along with 6 other climbers. That tragedy will remain with me forever and caused me to worry about you a great deal over the last several days. I wanted to send a message of encouragement many times but was too afraid I might jinx something, silly I know! Instead, I cheered you on in silence and prayed for you both to reach the summit and descend to safety. I took my “crackberry” addiction to a whole new level beginning the evening you left camp 4; I even woke several times during the night to check for updates.
Paul, I was so disappointed for you but much more relieved to hear you were safe. I am sorry that neither attempt took you to the summit however you should be very proud of the courage and strength you displayed in not allowing “the moment” to interfere with making a sound decision. Even though I don’t know either of you personally, my heart could not have withstood anything other than a safe return by both of you. And I know your family and friends are more than grateful they will be seeing you again soon.
Thanks again for letting me share in your journey. You are incredible people and I have more respect and admiration for your commitment to preparation, safety and each other than any height you actually reached on the mountain. I hope you find success and happiness throughout your lives together. I can’t wait to follow your next adventure!
Good luck and God bless!
Posted by: Larry and Marianne Benvenuti on May 26, 2006 01:15 AM AEST
Dear Paul and Fiona and All,
Thanks for the great memories and photos that you suppied to all of us. We followed your adventure in awe of your ablities and courage.
We will be toasting you at Den's Dong in Marathon, Florida this Friday evening.
To you both and all the climbers, we wish you the "White Light" forever.
Probably meet you in Australia when Dennis and Tam climb your highest peak.
Larry and Marianne B
Posted by: Tam - Florida Keys, USA on May 26, 2006 01:23 AM AEST
Paul, Fiona & BC Mom:
Welcome Home! Cheers, tears and hugs to all of you........CONGRATULATIONS! I am finding it difficult to find the words to express my thanks to you for the wonderful gift you gave in keeping us updated and posted on your progress and that of our loved ones. Dennis and I will look forward to your visits with us in the tropics and we will look forward to meeting the Adler Army!
Safe travels to all of you.....We can't wait for you to truly come home!
P.S. Nick and Tim: Thanks for making it happen!
Posted by: Bruce Walker on May 26, 2006 01:30 AM AEST
A quick note to welcome you safely back and to thank you for the priviledge of following your footsteps along this great adventure. Good luck to you both...in all of your endeavors.
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 26, 2006 01:33 AM AEST
Fiona and Paul
Coming back down the Icefall sounded more than "a bit hairy, to say the least!" What a challenging adventure this climb of Everest has been. Simply amazing.
I was wondering why you didn't post the picture of Fiona's "bum"? (Just kidding!) You are right Fiona, on Everest, you are "one of the boys."
Seeing Mary must have been a sight for sore eyes. Mary, looking at that picture of you ascending on the foot of the Icefall, pretty impressive! You have been a trooper throughout this expedition.
Enjoy the view while you are trekking out. MC
Posted by: MC (cont.) on May 26, 2006 01:36 AM AEST
P.S. The photo of the view looking at Everest's south summit taken from camp 4....beautiful! It looks like that should be actual summit of Everest!
Posted by: Jean-Francois Gagne on May 26, 2006 01:58 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona,
Congratulations. It has been a great 2 months. I will never climb Everest but through your blog, we were able to get some impression of what it takes to do this. It is so incredible. Thank you and good luck with all your other projects.
Posted by: Ron Munro on May 26, 2006 03:21 AM AEST
Thanks Fiona and Paul, Great to know you are all safe and well. No doubt Mary will come back with you. You are all hero's in my eyes. Love Ron
Posted by: John C, TN, USA on May 26, 2006 03:38 AM AEST
I can only confirm what many others have alreasy said, you two are incredible and we are so pleased that you made it back down safely. I hope that your make it back home to family & friends safely and that you have many more successful adventures/travels. Please post as many pictures as you can.
Take care and God Bless.
Posted by: Jo, WI, USA on May 26, 2006 04:18 AM AEST
I agree with an above post: I am sad that this adventure is coming to a close! I've looked so forward to reading you guys daily - please keep us posted and share with us as many thoughts as you can as you reflect back upon this. Question: That awesome photo of Camp 4 looking at the summit: It looks like you could just walk straight up to the summit from there, direct route!!! That's what is so hard for me to envision about Everest, because there seem to be so many little obstacles and points-of-interest (Balcony, Steps, etc) that I have the hardest time "picturing" it - how lucky you both are to have seen it, real-time! Cheers to you both as you head for home! Will Mary be heading out/ flying home with you?
Posted by: Elizabeth-London on May 26, 2006 04:57 AM AEST
I'm sad your adventure is over, but it sounds like you had an amazing time, and I'm glad you'll be leaving safely. You must be pleased to be going home again! Congratulations, you've been incredible, and I've loved reading your updates. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.
Posted by: William Popper on May 26, 2006 07:33 AM AEST
Welcome back to this world.
This has been an extraordinary glimpse into the realm of Himalayan climbing.
I am most grateful for your willingness to provide this glimpse, as our thousands of others it seems as well. Your narrative documentary will continue to inform and inspire all who read of it and establishes another communication plateau for the human experience in cyberspace. Have a most joyous and safe return to family and home.
Posted by: John & June, Sanbornton, NH, USA on May 26, 2006 08:03 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona,
Thank you for inviting us along on your expedition. I'm sorry to see it end. Best of luck and happiness in the future!
John & June
Posted by: Maddi and DP on May 26, 2006 08:46 AM AEST
Paul and Fi,
We are all so pleased to hear that you are safely back at Base Camp - even Zac has been asking us "how are your friends Paul and Inona [has some trouble with Fiona!] doing?" He has loved the photos and thinks that you MUST have come across a frozen dinosaur somewhere in the ice up there!
We're really looking forward to catching up when you're back in Melbourne and thank you again, along with the rest of the world, for sharing this awesome, awesome journey with us.
Lots of love
Maddi and DP xxx
Posted by: barb johnston on May 26, 2006 08:52 AM AEST
Dear Paul and Fi - thanks for the best news of all - that you are safe and sound and heading home. It's been fantastic following your adventure - everyone is so proud of you both - looking forward to seeing you both at home in Melbourne soon.
Posted by: Phil M - Sydney on May 26, 2006 09:17 AM AEST
Fiona and Paul, Just reading through all the messages makes me sad as well. My fascination with Everest has been fed in an amazing way. Waiting for my daily taste was very exciting and always fantastic to read. The photos along with descriptions were awesome. Thank you. I am so happy for both of you, (strange how as others have said) it feels as though I almost know you both. Thanks again for allowing me and everyone to be a passenger in your backpacks. It has been awesome experience. Congratulations on your achievements. You were both unbelieveable showing courage, strength and sense!
As an interest how many vertical feet is Camp 4 to the South Summit. I'd love to see more photos once everything calms down.
Thanks again. I too am sad the ride is almost over.
Posted by: Mum & Dad H on May 26, 2006 09:46 AM AEST
It was sooo great to hear that you were back at base Camp - yesterday afternoon seemed to drag on forever as we waited to hear - now we can all relax and wait for your return to see you again. Hope that your feet will be able to cope with the downhill trek - maybe you should see a podiatrist when you return. Life is now returning to normal here - dad to football and me to drinks night(last Friday of the month), then to Blairg. On Sunday Bev & Trevor are comint for lunch & to look over house for alterations. Love you Mum & Dad xx
Posted by: Katrina Cuskelly Melbourne on May 26, 2006 10:02 AM AEST
Let the celebrations begin Fiona!!! Gutsy gutsy effort. Looking forward to seeing your photos, it looks like another world. Katrina x
Posted by: Oma on May 26, 2006 10:52 AM AEST
Oma in Foster asked me to pass on to the three of you here very best wishes for a safe journey back down the mountain and to say how much she has enjoyed your reports. Caz has been takeing them over to her each day. Perhaps the highest praise from her comes from the fact that she has asked Michael to choose a lap-top computer for her, so that in the future she will get information as quickly as everyone else!!
Posted by: Sarah G, Melbourne on May 26, 2006 01:04 PM AEST
Congratulations Fi and Paul, I am in awe of your strength.
Mare you are so special.
Thank you to all who have contributed.
Wishing you all a safe journey home.
With love, Sair
Posted by: Donavan on May 26, 2006 02:49 PM AEST
I'm glad you're both back to BC safe and sound! I'm rather surprised, though, to hear that you're leaving immediately! I would think a few days in base camp to rest--and at the very least--ponder what you've accomplished!
Thought any more about souveniers? Last chance!
Burbank, California, USA
Posted by: Liz Sagiakos,Frankston on May 26, 2006 03:09 PM AEST
ATTENTION MARY and John, RUMMY AND VALERIE. The world is much smaller than we think, even from our Everest shared experience. You may not think you have any connection, but you each sat at the next table to each other and danced to Zorba at my 50th birthday party in 1990 on March 17th at the English Speaking Club in Toorak Road. I have the photos to prove it (after much hunting)We ate Rummy's crays. My love to you all Liz.
Posted by: Jody & Stuart Cray, Melbourne, Australia on May 26, 2006 03:18 PM AEST
Paul,Fi & Mary...
Thanks so so much for sharing your journey with us. Its been so inspiring and better than a reality program for sure. You are truly amazing. Job well done to all of you. Good luck trecking into Lukla, and a safe flight home. I know there are plenty of loved ones waiting for you.
Best Wishes.....Jody & Stu
Posted by: Deb, Ned, and Holly Jordan, Tootgarook, Victoria, Australia. on May 26, 2006 03:22 PM AEST
Thank you. Be safely home now, and on the rest of your journeys together and alone.
Posted by: Tim Adler on May 26, 2006 04:21 PM AEST
I would just like to add my thanks to Nick Grainger for the awesome support of Paul and Fiona and the website over the last few months. I think Nick has clearly shown the value of professional-level expedition and systems support.
While I and several others were members of the site support team, Nick did pretty much all of the work.
Amongst Nick's daily achievements were:
- Proof reading the daily update from Paul & Fiona.
- Reviewing the many messages of support from around the world.
- Collating the messages of support into a format suitable for transmission to Paul & Fiona.
- Producing a daily news and current affairs bulletin for transmission to Paul & Fiona.
- Liasing with the various media outlets interested in covering the story.
- Coordinating interviews between Paul & Fiona and media outlets (Not easy when P&F are perched at 8000m).
On behalf of everybody, and in particular the Adler and Harrington families, we would like to say that we couldn't have done it without you!
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 26, 2006 05:07 PM AEST
I would also like to thank Nick Grainger for an outstanding job. Nick, you had a Mt. Everest of your own! Well done. Additionally, I would like to thank Tim Adler and the other members of the site support team.
Posted by: sue w on May 26, 2006 08:02 PM AEST
Mary, Paul and Fiona
I am so glad to see that you are all safe and sound back at base camp. The photo proves it! Enjoy your trek back, time to look at the daisies and take in the scenery. I do hope that you all feel proud, elated and with a huge sense of satisfaction at your achievements. Even you Mary climbing so high, be careful you might get the bug too.
Posted by: Dad A, Brighton... Victoria on May 26, 2006 08:53 PM AEST
Nick, I also so want to thank you publicly for the tremendous input and sacrifices that you have made to make the stories from Everest happen so seamlessly.
Your steady hand on the helm speaks volumes for your care, concern and dedication to make this such a awesome experience for us all.
Your wise council and 'can do' attitude was a significent factor in the sucess of this mission, for which my family and I will forever be so grateful. Nick, thank you. John Adler
Posted by: Nick Grainger (Melbourne, Australia) on May 26, 2006 09:14 PM AEST
Aw c'mon guys you're making me all embarrassed. I love this stuff. I'd rather be out there myself, but between trips, running expedition base communications is the next best thing.
But, hey, this trip isn't over yet and I just know we're going to see a lot more of Paul and Fi in the future (no, not THAT photo). There just have to be more trips that we can all follow along on. My hand is already up to run the comms again. In fact where would you like to see Paul and Fi go next? Maybe they need a few suggestions... Over to you...everyone.
Posted by: Lucinda & Chris on May 26, 2006 10:45 PM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona,
So glad to hear you are back at BC and made the final trip through the icefall safely. It's reassuring to know you only have the easy part of the journey remaining. This time, enjoy the scenery on the way down and take it all in.
Looking forward to meeting the 3 of you at the airport - that is if you come in at a time that suits me!
Also a big thanks to Tim and Nick for all their work with the IT side of things.
See you guys all very soon..
Love Lou and Chris
Posted by: Christina Linforth-Barker on May 26, 2006 11:23 PM AEST
I just wanted to say congratulations to you both, it must have been a fantastic experience and it has been really inspirational just reading about it - although I have to confess I only found out about it in the last week after seeing an article in the Herald-Sun (noticed Paul's name and thought that must be the same guy I went to school with!) Well done on going as far as you could in as safe a manner as you did.
Posted by: Eric L on May 26, 2006 11:28 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona! I glad that you are back safely to basecamp. You adventure is almost over...the past two months have pasted so fast... I would like to thanks you for being so generous on posting a daily journal. I know it does take quite some time and energy to wright a daily journal. I sure it was worth it to have seen the impressive amount of messages you got on your website! Take good care of yourself!
Posted by: Zahan on May 29, 2006 01:17 PM AEST
Hi I am Zahan from Clayton south primary school.wow you finally made up mount everest.Thank you very much for sharing with us how you made it up to the sumit of mount everest.I wish you all the best for the trip back home.