Changing China

Giant on the move

Nick (& Dave & Mark), the torch and Everest – Day 9

May 3, 2008


I heard excited cries outside our hut this morning and the optimist in me immediately thought the climbers had reached the summit of Everest with the Olympic torch.

A warm bath, clean clothes and bedding were only a matter of hours away, I thought, as I poked my nose over the top of my sleeping bag into the icy cold.

Enthused by the prospect of the news, I slid out of my nylon cocoon, stepped into my boots and clad in little more than a ski jacket and long johns pushed open the cabin door.

The reason for the noisy excitement of our Tibetan hosts was immediately apparent as a huge clump of snow landed on my size 10s and a blizzard of white flakes obscured the medical tent which usually provides our outlook.

rtr2057u_comp.jpgAs with most people who have grown up in Britain, snow is a magical thing to me. Redolent of Christmas, snowball fights, evenings by the fire, a warming single malt and so on…

But here in the shadow of Everest, my immediate thought was that this would surely mean a delay to the climbers’ progress up the mountain.

My second thought was that snow melts and the holes in the cabin roof would soon be dousing us in ice-cold water.

I managed to my gear into the media centre before the drops turned into a dribble and within a couple of hours, our hosts had dispatched local men to wrap the huts in plastic sheeting.

rtr2053a_comp.jpgrtr2053a_comp.jpgUnfortunately, in the process of water-proofing my cabin, one of the hardy young mountain men put his foot straight through the recycled cardboard leaving a huge hole right over where my head usually lies at night.

Of course, whatever inconveniences we may be suffering down here pale beside what it must be like to be up Everest during a snowstorm.

Looking towards her (she is a she, I am told) through the snow storm, you realize once again that this is not a novelty fun run. People’s lives are at risk up there.

Pix from the top: What a difference 24 hours can make … see yesterday’s snap. Snow-covered yaks rest outside the Rongbo Monastery at the foot of Everest. And a kitchen worker sweeps snow off the roof of the make-shift dining room at the media centre camp. Photos by David Gray.


enjoy your day ,there must be a wonderful place,and full of magic….

Posted by xu | Report as abusive

Hi Nick,

I don’t envy your assignment up there near basecamp. I was there during the summer a few years ago and cannot imagine what it must be like there during an all-out snow blizzard. Good luck!


Hi Nick, Dave, and Mark, Thanks for writing daily. Your pictures and life on the Everest remind me the ice-planet Hoth in the movie of Star Wars, The Empire strikes Back.

I like the torch relay idea that promotes people run on the streets when it arrives, good for people. I think the torch relay to the Everest was a bit crazy. Again, it is once a lifetime chance. I hope the weather gets better soon. Regards.

Posted by JL | Report as abusive

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