Giant on the move
Nick (& Mark & Dave), the torch and Everest – Day 6
You’ll never guess who I met at Base Camp.
After a quick stop to watch the monks and nuns at the Rongpo monastery at prayer this morning, we finally got up to Base Camp proper this afternoon.
It was pretty bleak. Basically, a cluster of tents on an exposed rocky flat. It made us feel almost grateful for our humble cabins back at the media centre.
The views, as always, were a compensation.
I was trying to get a couple of basic facts from an official whose English was as good as my Chinese when we reached the point of non-communication.
He translated and nodded in reply to my cheery “thanks mate”.
Next thing I knew, though, three Chinese women journalists were squealing like schoolgirls and posing for pictures with my interpreter.
Turns out this was Zhang Chao Yang, CEO of Chinese web portal Sohu and hero to China’s vast young army of netizens (couldn’t someone invent a new name for web users?).
Once we repaired to a nearby tent for tea, Zhang told me he was not only at base camp because Sohu was a media partner of the Everest leg of the torch relay, but also because he was a keen climber himself.
He has climbed a fair few mountains himself and been to 6,666m on Everest. He didn’t fancy going all the way to the top, though, because he thought it might damage the brain which has made his fortune.
I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if there were at least some celebrity involvement with this great adventure.
Ed adds: Our team have to tough it out for a few more days at Everest. You’d think by looking at the pictures the weather is lovely, right? Wrong. Apparently it’s blowing a gale up there, so at the very earliest it’ll be Saturday before there’s any action. Read Nick’s story.
And by the way, we’ve hit the 100-day countdown till the start of the Games. For all our Olympic stories, take a look at our website .
Pix from the top (l-r). Armed Chinese border police stand in formation at a camp near the base camp of Mount Everest, also known as Qomolangma April 30, 2008. Buddhist monks and nuns pray as they sit in the temple of Rongbo Monastery situated at the foot Everest. Yaks laden with supplies walk past the large camp for the Olympic torch’s ascent of Everest, also known as Qomolangma, in the Tibet Autonomous Region April 30, 2008. Chinese journalists taking it easy. And the Reuters team … Mark, Dave and Nick (tough job guys!: Ed). All snaps by David Gray.