Equipped with satellite communication tools, the team is sending dispatches
and photos back to this Web site.
Youre invited to follow the climb
through written accounts and digital images.
Listen to Mikes voice dispatch
from the mountain (2MB mp3 file)
For more information about high-altitude pulmonary edema and its treatment
visit the High
Altitude Medicine Guide.
May 2, 2001
Hi this is Mike Chrisp giving a dispatch on the second of May, Wednesday.
Just to bring you up to date on whats been happening over the last
few days. About five days ago Tim Boelter and myself came up from Advanced
Base Camp. Wed been pretty wracked with coughs and colds and wed
been coughing and sputtering all the way up. But we actually came up to
Intermediate Camp reasonably quickly. And then from Intermediate Camp
straight up to ABC again fairly quickly. Tim was moving very, very fast.
He was going very, very well. He took three hours. I took five hours.
The next day we went with very heavy packs -- all our personal gear,
high-altitude sleeping bags, down suits, our food, etc. -- up to the North
Col. I wasnt going very well at all, but Tim absolutely shot up
there in about three hours. I managed to get up there by about quarter
passed two, and we got into the tent and straightaway got on a brew. We
tried to boil snow which of course, as you know, you need to use a lot
of snow -- around six times as much snow to make an equivalent amount
of water. I was actually fairly out of it. Tim sort of mothered me all
afternoon, and fed me drinks and soup. And we had settled in for a reasonably
Sometime during the night Tim started coughing and sputtering and hacking
and his chest was hurting and he was having difficulty breathing. Hes
fairly stubborn and eventually I managed to persuade him to take Diamox
to try to help acclimatize. Diamox is actually renowned for helping with
acclimatization. Eventually I managed to get 250 milligrams inside him
and I think that helped to ease his breathing a little bit. But he continued
to cough through the night and I was fairly worried. I nursed him through
the night and we kept talking to each other trying to work out exactly
what was going on. In the end I diagnosed that he probably had high-altitude
pulmonary edema (HAPE).
The next step with that would have been to give him a dilation medicine.
That would have dropped his blood pressure. We discussed that and decided
that wasnt a good option, particularly when the best thing to do
would probably be to get down to Advanced Base Camp, and then maybe to
evacuate down to Base Camp.
During the night we had a pretty tough time trying to console each other.
And in the morning it took about two and a half hours to get any water
from the snow. Tim was starting to cough and sputter and again I managed
to get some more Diamox into him.
One of the Australian doctors up on the North Col came and we told him
our tale of woe. He confirmed that fact that we probably had altitude
pulmonary edema. Neil Hornett, who was also camped on the North Col overnight,
and I decided to evacuate Tim. But Tim being frantic to get down as quickly
as possible because of the seriousness of pulmonary edema took off like
a scolded cat and went down the fixed ropes very, very fast. Neil and
I actually had real trouble keeping up with him. Also we managed to get
tangled up in a whole load of Sherpas making a carry up to the North Col.
Unfortunately Neil lost a crampon half way down as well and that slowed
us both down. By the time we got to the bottom of the fixed ropes Tim
was right across the other side of the glacier, and he was obviously going
Neil and I decided to come across the glacier together because none
of the three of us had actually had anything really substantial to eat.
Wed had a cup of water and a fig roll for breakfast, and that was
it. And that really wasnt substantial enough really to keep us going.
We both, Neil and I, felt it in very bad form that the patient should
actually arrive in Advanced Base Camp at least 45 minutes before his helpers.
By the time we arrived Tim was feeling a lot better. Hed had some
fluids and hed had something to eat. And he was actually looking
a lot perkier than he was when he was on the North Col. And when we looked
at him he actually looked so much better. Hes still got the cough,
but hes recovered quite substantially.
The decision at the moment is whether to stay here at Advanced Base
Camp or whether to go down. I think were going to go down to Base
Camp tomorrow and try and throw off these coughs, these sinus infections,
whatever it is that weve both got and try and get rid of it before
we come back up again.
Other than that, I have been doing some dentistry. I think Tim mentioned
in his earlier dispatch that I saw a Russian about five days ago and had
to remove a tooth for him. And this morning Ive been working on
an actually fairly famous international filmmaker, trying to patch him
up to get him to keep going. He was in a little bit of discomfort, but
I think hell pull through. All of these guys have really got to
see somebody as soon as they get home. But it was a very entertaining
experience actually working in the Australian Army Alpine tent surrounded
by people who were just popping in and out. We had video cameras in our
faces and just generally having a real laugh. But I think itll work
Im signing off now.
2001 British American Lightweight Everest Expedition