Monday, May 6, 2002/lk
“We’re all tucked in here at Camp 2, getting ready to go up to Camp 3 at over 23,500 feet tomorrow for a couple nights. This is our final acclimatization trip before the summit attempt. After this we’ll go back down for a good long rest after spending over 12 nights above base camp.”
That’s the latest e-mail report from Scott Woolums, owner of Hood River-based Adventures International. Woolums is leading a team of three climbers in an attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Hood River-based Woolums has been in Nepal since the end of March. He and his team spent a couple of weeks trekking to base camp at 17,500 feet, the staging area where Woolums and dozens of climbing teams from around the world set up their main headquarters for the two-month climbing season.
Since establishing their base camp, Woolums and his team have been moving up and down the mountain, staying at higher camps for a couple of days, then returning to base camp. The up-and-back helps acclimatize team members to the altitude.
“Staying at Camp 2 and higher demands some mental toughness as any simple task can put you out of breath,” Woolums writes. “Even putting boots on in the morning is a challenge.” Camp 2 is at 21,400 feet.
Another Hood River climber, Lisa Rust, is also in Nepal as a member of the first all-women’s climbing team to attempt to summit Everest. Rust, a teacher at Hood River Middle School, is one of six women on the team.
“She’s at Camp 2 waiting for the weather to (clear) so she can go up to Camp 3,” said Shelly McCandliss, who is substitute teaching Rust’s classes while she is gone. McCandliss said Rust has been sending e-mail updates to her students.
Like Woolums, Rust and her team have been moving up and down the mountain to acclimatize. McCandliss reports that Rust “hasn’t lost any weight and is doing really well.” Weight loss is a problem at such extreme altitudes, as climbers lose their appetite and preparing meals becomes an exhausting task.
Woolums said he’d seen Rust occasionally as their teams passed one another. “(I) see her coming and going as we move up and down between camps,” he writes, but their “schedules seem always different.”
Rust’s latest report, according to McCandliss, was that her team was aiming for a summit attempt around May 20, weather permitting.
“The kids are loving tracking her,” McCandliss added.
Woolums and his team are aiming for a summit attempt around May 13.
“Everything is coming together for our summit attempt,” he writes. “We have a good camp near the top of the Camp 3 area, protected from most larger avalanches and spindrift slides. Still it’s very steep ice right outside the door. We have set safety ropes up around the tents in case anyone takes a slide.” Woolums said he planned to send another update from Camp 3. “This is where things get a bit more exciting. We hope to spend two nights there, although in any bad weather we will come down as soon as possible.
“So let’s hope the mountain will allow us higher as we take each next step up.” For more about Woolums’ expedition, go to www.exploreyourplanet.com. For more about Rust’s expedition, go to www.discovery.com.