May 14, 1999
Thank you all for bearing with me and my limited dispatches. Tonight I am the only one left in Base Camp to run the computers and radios. Here is the latest before my fingers cease to work (its 26°F in the Comm Tent).
Peter, Bill, Charles, Jeff, and Kelly, as well as many Sherpas, are all tucked in at Camp II. Peter, Bill, and Jeff fixed at least 400 meters (1,312 feet) up the ridge of Nuptse. Kelly ascended the Icefall this morning to encounter a blazing hot Western Cwm and broken glacier goggles. Jim Williams, guide for the E-3 group, was kind enough to loan her a good pair. She continued her torrid trek to Camp II, where Charles deftly directed her rehydration. She sounded good on the radio afterwards. Charles is gathering and sorting equipment for his Everest summit bid. The main concern now is a possible change in the weather. The usual sources for weather info have been unavailable today, and we are seeking info from more sources.
Word is that there were many successful summits today from other south side expeditions. Im sorry I cant provide numbers or names. There is also an unconfirmed report of someone missing on the north side. The main sad news in our camp is that one of our strongest Sherpas, known as Big Dorje, has just lost his two-month-old son to a sudden illness. Naturally, Peter let him return home immediately. We all are very saddened by his loss and wish him and his family stability and support in this time of unimaginable grief.
This will be my last attempt at a dispatch. I am leaving tomorrow morning with Dr. Betsy Holland to return to our respective jobs and to my VERY understanding family. Words (at least at this time and temperature) cant adequately express my appreciation and admiration for all those I met and worked with on this journey. My thanks to the climbers here for inviting me to join in their efforts. My thanks to Betsy and Sue for putting up with my warped humor on the way in and for allowing me to participate in the sad but beautiful task of finishing Bruce Herrods chorten. My thanks to Peter at the Italian Pyramid, who gave us the special glue to attach Bruces photo. My thanks to the sponsors of this expedition, and finally, my thanks to the Sherpas, porters, cooks, yaks, and yak drivers who make this expedition possible for all of us.
We leave wishing Charles success and good health on his summit bid and the others good climbing on Nuptse and Lhotse. Terry will be back in two days to return you to your regular-quality cybercast. This is Rich Lee signing off.
Best wishes to all of you,
Rich Lee, M.D., Base Camp Physician