Date: 10.35am, 23rd May 2007
After a fairly anxious wait, I’ve finally been able to speak with Paul. He and Attila are now safely back at Camp 4 (South Col). They summitted together at 6:50am this morning in fairly windy conditions. He said he tried to radio from the summit but we could not receive him here at basecamp. Ptemba, our basecamp manager, spoke with Pemba, one of the Sherpas climbing with them, caught the muffled declaration that they were all on the summit. After that, we hadn’t been able to make contact until just now.
Even still, contact was brief and I don’t yet know much about their summit climb. Paul sounded very tired and said that “gee, its a long climb up there!”.
I also learned that Paul, and to a lesser extent, his Sherpa Lhakpa, both have some snowblindness. Paul said that because the wind was blowing fiercly, he decided to leave his goggles on after the sun rose (rather than switch to his sunglasses). His vision is now quite cloudy and he’s understandably concerned about this (as I am too).
His initial thoughts were that because of this he will stay at Camp 4 tonight, and plan to come down to Camp 2 tomorrow. However, having spoken to Ptemba here (who has more experience than us with snowblindness), the condition can peak after 24 hours, so it might be better if he can come down today – perhaps later in the afternoon when it’s not quite as bright. If he needs help getting down, there are a few Sherpas at Camp 4 now that should be able to help. The other advise was to make a cold-pack from snow (fortunately in plentiful supply) and place this on his eyes.
Anyway, he’s having a good rest now and trying to get some fluids into him. (I remember thinking I could drink 100 bottles of lemonade after my climb last year so I imagine Paul’s pretty thirsty.)
Attila is with him now and is fine. After taking a break, he is planning to come down to Camp 2 today with Mingma.
Willl let you know as soon as I know more,