November 11, 1999

Intro
Meet the Team
March 31, 1999
April 2, 1999
April 5, 1999
April 8, 1999
April 11, 1999
April 19, 1999
April 21, 1999
April 25, 1999
April 27, 1999
April 30, 1999
May 2, 1999
May 4, 1999
May 5, 1999
May 6, 1999
May 14, 1999
May 15, 1999
May 17, 1999
May 19, 1999
May 22, 1999

Latest Dispatch

May 4, 1999

The International Potato Peacemaker: South Side Base Camp

(Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or edit dispatches.)

At this moment I am sure you, the loyal viewer, are riveted to your computer screen, anxiously awaiting the Millennium team’s next move from the windswept bench of the South Col. I don’t blame you, it’s exciting to be there with them, riding out a night under the incessant flap of nylon, imagining that you are waiting for that moment when you too can pull the zipper open to a midnight still and take that first step of many to the rooftop of the world.

But let me enlighten you for a moment. Not all aspects of expedition endeavor are replete with such episodes of grandeur. No, take the life of a Base Camper. Ever thought of living vicariously through us?

Now I know some of you think our world is a happy little commune. We wander around in our Gore-Tex uniforms, grins affixed, singing away high altitude phrases like some sort of community of alpine Smurfs, right? Well, not quite. The days down here can be quite long, and the afternoons down right dark and dreary. To stay entertained, the impatient mind often stretches to great imaginative lengths—sometimes even devious ones. The blueprints for our Base Camp potato gun, currently coined the International Potato Peacemaker, are in the works. Just kidding...we would NEVER do such a thing.

In all seriousness though, we do have jobs to do. That’s why we’re here. We’ve most recently scrambled up talus and scree [rocky debris at the base of a slope] to position a weather station and radio repeater for the GPS transmissions. Such accomplishments of course fail in comparison to an Everest ascent, but they give us the satisfaction to make it by, day by day.

But how do we really keep going? When the dispatches have been placed, weather scrutinized, data collected, and supplies packed, what keeps us patiently waiting within the shelter of our nylon confines? Well, it’s simple really. We have friends up there.

—Terry O’Connor

Everest Main