Baltimore Sun

Trapped in their cells, they contemplated the insanity of climbing Everest

Tingri, Tibet is no Mayberry.

Despite the impending arrival of spring, winter still clings to this village, situated at 14,000 ft. above sea level. Not a single flower is willing to sprout, much less bloom, as long as each afternoon brings gusting winds and lashing sands.


We are laying on our bunks, in a 8-by-12 room with a packed earth floor. We've covered the cracks in the doors with an old blanket. Dust, thick enough to write our initials on our books or glasses, settles about us.

"Yeah....Two more months of suffering like this," sighs Andy.


"At least its not snowing," I reply. "Yet."

We both roll over and flip the pages of our books.

Tingri is the jumping off place for the base camps of Everest and Cho Oyu. The team of climbers and trekkers who flew to Lhasa has met up with Russel Brice and the Himalayan Experience sherpas here. While we were being rerouted to Chengdu, China and later visiting the Potala and other monastaries in Lhasa, they were combating landslides that shut the road a number of times.

Russel and the gang were forced to shuttle loads between trucks and work through the night. Even then, they arrived 24 hours behind schedule.

It was great to be a big group again, knowing that it was only a matter of 36 hours before we would be in base camp. At this point in the journey, everyone is healthy and excited. The trekkers continue to add a lot excitement to the team. Their enthusiasm is contagious. We have a very diverse group. Luckily each person has been sharing good stories and useless trivia to our social mix.

While it is probably unfair to talk about having favorites, I have been greatly enjoying the stories Mark Vallance (founder of Wild Country, a climbing gear manufact urer) has been telling. He seems to have met just about everyone in the climbing industry and is a real bridge between generations. Together with Graham Hoyland, who is an Everest history buff, we are all learning a great deal about what's happened on Everest in the past.

Now it is time to write our own peice of history.