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Clues to Past Expeditions Found in Glacier Above ABC
Posted on April 27, 2009

Everest Dispatch #35
April 27, 2009
Base Camp 17,530 ft.

By Seth Waterfall

Dave, Erica, and I are enjoying a day of rest after spending the last four days acclimatizing at Camp 1 and Advance Base Camp. We had an excellent rotation and are feeling healthy. It’s nice to come down and get to actually rest our healthy bodies as opposed to needing to recover from an illness or injury picked up while climbing. I know I had the best night of sleep since Namche last night.

On our last day at ABC, Dave, Erica, and I climbed to the base of the Lhotse Face for acclimatization purposes. We’d headed out early, made good time up and back, and were left with most of the day as free time. Well, mostly free. Dave and I spent a fair bit of time repositioning the solar panels that power the radio and LED lights at ABC, and I re-tethered our radio antenna. After those chores, we had some true free time.

My tent was calling, but Kent, the cinematographer climbing with us, wanted to do some filming out on the glacier. Somewhat reluctantly, I grabbed my crampons and met up with Dave and Kent. As soon as we’d walked a few hundred feet though, I was amazed at Dave pointing out two oxygen bottles partially buried in the ice. I’d just assumed that the camps had been so cleaned up and combed over that you’d never be able to find stuff like this anymore. Not so. As I began carefully chopping away at the ice around one bottle, Dave grabbed the other one, a leftover from an expedition from the early ’70s. As we freed the second bottle, we were both impressed at what great shape both were in. In fact it appeared that both could still be holding oxygen. Good thing we didn’t just hack away around them with our ice axes!

The second bottle appeared to be from an American expedition and was stenciled with the phrase “AVIATORS ON OXYGEN” and was stamped with what looked like a date from 1970. I can’t wait to do more research on this once I get home. All in all, we found four bottles that afternoon dating from the mid-’60s to mid-’70s. Not bad for an afternoon of “Goraking.” Check out today’s video feed, which was shot by Kent while Dave and I were scavenging the glacier like little kids.

Now we’re resting at Base Camp and the other part of the team is starting their second acclimatization rotation. Yesterday Ed and Peter moved up to ABC, bypassing Camp 1. Today they have climbed to Camp 3 at just over 23,000 ft. They are returning to ABC to spend the night. Melissa spent one extra day here at Base Camp. She left here early this morning and will meet up with the guys at ABC. All told, the team is doing great. For me, I can’t wait to start back up the mountain again, but I could probably use the rest, and it does feel good to sleep in a little.
— Seth Waterfall

Author: - Monday, April 27th, 2009

  1. T-Dawg

    Hi, Seth and Dave!
    That’s pretty cool, finding some relics from expeditions past. Sounds like Dave has a pretty substantial collection going on. Seems like things are going at high gear, with the teams. I’m praying for great weather for all you guys. Look forward for more great footage tomorrow. I have to admit I have been addicted on watching and reading the posts every day. Well, have fun and enjoy the well-earned rest time.

  2. hulagirl76

    That looks pretty fun Dave, especially for Everest history buffs. I am glad to see that everyone is well and that you all are taking the appropriate time to acclimatize and stay healthy. I am also addicted to the reports and check them everyday. Sometimes, it is the highlight of my day. I appreciate the beautiful footage of ABC and the Western Cwm. Thanks to the camera crew too.

  3. robswanson

    hi Seth and Dave,
    i report to my fellow associates every morning on what is going on up there, and i have to tell you everyone is excited to hear that your all doing so well. we all wish you the best and look forward to the next blog. keep healthy and strong.

  4. Chris Dobbins

    Seth you look awful fancy surrounded by all that cool equipment. Hey, number 2 is over on Baruntse with a couple of other guys, thought that would interest you. Remember when the 4 of us were ‘fixing the power’ up on Stoney Pass. Stay safe and keep up the good work.

  5. Grizmtn

    Thanks for all the great footage and comments. Allows folks like me in faraway Montana to get a glimpse at a fascinating other world though the eyes of experts. Question for Dave Hahn: Since you were involved in the search for evidence of the Mallory & Irvine expedition, and the finding of Mallory’s body, do you think the north route has been scoured enough (hopefuly not by treasure hunters) to have discovered Irvine and the sought after camera if they were there, or is the area complex and difficult enough that Irvine’s remains may yet be hiding in some nook of the yellowband?

  6. elderkim

    Dear Sirs: My name is Solanda. I am a Junior attending Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, AR. I am currently writing a research paper in English. I am researching the effects of items and trash left behind by previous expeditions and their possible effect on the environment. It has been difficult to find information on this subject. I have learned about expeditions in the past whose main focus was to remove trash from Everest. I was so pleased to read your 4/27 post. Do you have any other information you could share with me? Have you found anything other than Oxygen tanks? I also have to satisfy and interview requirement for my research paper? Would one of you be willing to answer some questions about your experience? I realize you are busy and thank you in advance for your time. Good luck and Best regards. Solanda

  7. Eamonn

    Dear Seth & Dave & Ed – Greetings from Scotland, UK. I am really enjoying following your progress nightly. Your posts are fantastic and, I am sure, speaking for lots of us visiting the site, be assured all your hard work with the tech gear in organising the videos etc, is appreciated and relished by those of us who (like me) spent today in a traffic jam (mind you within 45 mins I also crossed England/Scottish border and it was like a scene from ‘Braveheart’). Keep the posts coming. On the historical Everest front… as a journalist (see I researched from a leading US magazine not long ago the amazing, almost mind-blowing story of British climber Maurice Wilson. The ‘official’ history books have hom marked as a crank who got to 26,000 ft on Everest in 1933. He was called – sadly – ‘the Mad Yorkshireman’. I was the first writer to get access to his private diary – found on his remains in Everest in 1934 – for half a century. It was incredible. I wrote the piece – but editors changed and although I was paid, it wasn’t published. Anyone wanting to read 2,500 heartbreaking and inspiring words, like ‘Chariots of Fire’ on Everest, let me know. Have a great time guys – and say hi to Maurice’s ghost from me.

  8. Eamonn

    Hi – Just wanted to say thanks to everyone at the First Ascent Blog – since yesterday the response to the mention of my article ‘Fire from Ice: The Incredible True Story of Maurice Wilson’s Solo Attempt to Climb Everest’ – on Maurice Wilson, the Englishman whose self-financed, solo-expedition got within an ace of the Everest summit in the early 1930s, has simply blown me away. In the last 24hrs my site has been swamped globally by inquiries. I wanted to assure everyone who has already contacted me at – – I PROMISE I will send you a MS Word version of the piece free shortly. I think Maurice Wilson would be astonished at what these First Ascent guys are doing in 2009, almost as much as the folks contacting me seem to be amazed at what I uncovered about his exploits. Thanks again everyone, sincerely, I am humbled, Best wishes, Eamonn.

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