Expedition Update

May 17th
Team has safely descended to Camp 2 (21,300ft/6500m)
new snowfall tonight, but hoping to descend to Base Camp tomorrow

Tom McMillan called our California base camp by satellite phone early Monday morning, May 17th 12:10 AM Pacific Time / Monday afternoon 12:55 PM Nepali Time with a team update.

They reported happily that our team left Camp 4 (26,100ft/7950m) on Monday morning and has arrived safely at Camp 2 (21,300ft/6500m). New snowfall (3inches/9 cm) is predicted for that part of the mountain in the late evening, but Tom reported that the weather at the time did not look particularly threatening. Right now the weather on the upper reaches of Mount Everest is dryer and clearer than on the lower part of the mountain.

Camp 2 is the safest camp on the mountain in a storm--it's in a relatively sheltered part of the Western Cwm, the broad, flat valley of snow and ice that flows down from the Everest/Lhotse confluence. The team plans to stay there overnight. Barring any problems with the snowfall, tomorrow they plan to descend past Camp 1 and down through the Icefall to Base Camp .

Here is a nice wrap-up of the excitement this weekend, when the first teams reached the summit this year, including ours. Here is an excerpt:

"The first Greek stood on the top of Everest after 9.5 hours of climbing. Giorgios raised the Greek flag as well as the flag of the Olympics on top of the world, along with a picture of a fellow Greek climber who lost his life on Cho Oyu last fall, in preparation for Everest. The rest of the team trailed Giorgios to the summit next. "Thank you for making all of Greece proud!" wrote the very happy home team in all capital letters.

Then came the night's most remarkable climb: Friendship Beyond Borders Expedition arrived at the summit of Mount Everest 7:55 AM Nepal time. Team Leader Tom McMillan and Nawang Sherpa represents a first ascent of Mount Everest by a trans-tibial amputee and a first ascent by a disabled Nepali citizen. Itís not so rare to have a Sherpa among the first teams to make the season's first summit push, but this guy is different.

Nawang Sherpa is climbing Everest South with a prosthetic leg. He got a new "climbing leg" in 2002 thanks to the High Exposure foundation, a nonprofit launched by Ed Hommer, who lost his own legs on Denali and hoped to scale Everest one day together with Nawang. Ed's own Everest dream however ended in tragedy a few months later when a rock struck and killed him on Mount Rainier Sep 23, 2003.

This year Tom McMillan, a California climber, stepped in to make Nawang's dream to scale Mount Everest a reality.

Following on the climb in cyberworld was also Tom Halvorson, Ed's and Nawang's "Magic man". Read the featured interview with him."

I will keep updating the expedition website with images, information, and news as it unfolds.

    --Linda McMillan
        in Marin County, just north of San Francisco

Our team is hoping to be able to descend from Camp 2 to Base Camp--and through the treacherous Icefall for the last time--in one day. The Sherpas on our team convinced us that if we fell into one of the big crevasses in the Icefall, we would fall "all the way to America".

You can find out what it feels like to be here by visiting the National Geographic's interactive Everest tour page.



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Our team's progress on their descent
after their successful summit bid









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