Saturday, September 22



We received two calls today. We were not ready to take the first one and Hoseman said he would phone back in one hour.
In fact he phoned back after two and half hours because, he said, he had become involved in assisting a climber who was descending because of an upset tummy. The gist of the second call was an expression of disappointment over the lack of blog postings from our end. Our difficulties included the sorting out of the relevant information being received. Much of it comes from distorted almost garbled bits of information - as one would imagine would emanate from a high altitude ice and snow covered mountain slope. In fact, it’s a miracle and a marvel of modern technology that we can communicate so well let alone at all. Hoseman had said he would just mention the following three headings to us but would give us fuller details once he had got back to Camp ABC over the weekend and understood this to mean we should wait for more complete information before posting the blog. He concluded: “All is well!”
OK, we were wrong – we now know we must post EVERYTHING as he says it to keep up the continuity! We understand why - there are people in various parts of the world who regularly look up the blog to garner ANY information, disjointed or not.

1. Camp 1 established;
2. Thieves on trail;
3. No Alpine Style ascent to be attempted.

To fill in the other missing bits as we have received them since our last post on Tuesday 18 therefore, they are as follows:

(Message recorded on telephone while we were out)
As I am now receiving your SMSs, send me one when you get back. I can’t guarantee I’ll still be awake but will definitely speak to you tomorrow. Will have more time for a good, long call.

On returning home, we immediately send off an SMS and got the following call almost immediately:
My ‘Jetboyle’ is on the go, melting snow to fill up my water bottle. I am very undernourished and dehydrated. In past two days, have only eaten one packet of soup and had one coffee. This refers to my second heading “Thieves on trail”. My food parcels were stolen!
The good news is that I have finally established my Camp 1 and in so doing set my personal new altitude record namely, 6440 m. Will be going back to ABC for some R and R which will really be nice. Will give you more update then.
By the way, your SMS messages seem to be cut off before the end. Suggest you adjust available message characters by half and send the balance in more than one message to say what you have to. (No indication whether this was at Camp 1 or Depot Camp).

Call from Hoseman to say he was back at ABC and had had a good dinner and some ‘Sherpa Milk’ tea. Felt 100%. Will now have a good night’s sleep. Mumsie told him she was incensed that someone had stolen his food packets “What was the world coming to?”

Hoseman only then explained that the ‘thieves’ were ravens and I recalled reading about these bold birds in Woodrow Wilson Sayre’s book “Four Against Everest”. I know Hoseman has extensively researched Sayre’s expedition and must also have remembered this experience with these thieves of the Tibetan skies.
“Roger and Hans Peter came up with some bad news. The cache on the edge of the glacier had been looted by ravens or crows. Ever since Camp 1 several large black raven-like birds had followed our progress and scavenged our camps. I have no idea what they eat normally at these altitudes, since we saw nothing else living. But they certainly read the sign “meal ticket” written across our backs. One or two were always in sight. Apparently, we had underestimated them badly. They went right through the burlap sacks and the plastic bags in our cache with their beaks. Our food was scattered all over. Their favourite was the meat bars. We could ill afford the loss of these precious supplies, transported with such effort so far. We salvaged what we could and piled rocks on top to frustrate any future efforts. And then I started worrying about our essential cache at Camp 2. It was not protected by rocks. The ravens were squatting all round as we left. This could be a disaster. Our only hope was that, luckily, we had stored the food in the canvas marine sacks and so far they had not pecked through these much tougher containers.”

Last night we received this email from Major Peter:

0921 FRIDAY:
Haven’t heard much from the Lad this week – do you know where he has gotten to on the hill? Has he hit 6,500m meters yet? Hoping for some form of update at the weekend – is he getting his SMS messages do you know? [Yes!]
Must be just getting quite spring like down in Cape Town – lovely! [Yes]
Hopefully today is my last day at New Star – I hope to creep out quietly. On Monday it is planned that I go to Luxembourg on a different job – Oh well, it is all cash flow I guess.
Cheers, Peter

2109 FRIDAY:
We replied immediately putting him in the picture and asking for his new email address.
This concludes this post. Hopefully things are now a bit more up to date.

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