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Go shorty, it's your birthday!
image story

May 20, 2004 04: 26 EST
Yeah, it's his birthday... What we gave him? 270 more minutes on his sat phone! So here goes his latest:

"....Gonna party like it's you birthday, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your birthday. And we don't give a f- 'cause it's your birthday" - Thanks 50. Download that song before you read this dispatch, it'll get you fired up.

Serious news first. Vladimir has turned around. He was going without oxygen and I guess hadn't or couldn't drink in a while. Not sure how far he made, but he is back down in Camp III safe now, allbeit, extremely, extremely tired. He is safe, however. I might have mentioned this before, but going without oxygen is like running a 100 mile marathon and going with oxygen is like running maybe a 25 mile. Maybe this isn't the best comparison, but the point it is going without oxygen is in another league of climbing.

25 years old, geez, I'm almost 27, and once you're 27 you might as well be 30. At least I have health insurance show for it.

Anyways, up here in ABC. Today I believe that I have officially broken the record for world's highest online credit card bill pay 6364m - If someone knows any marketing people at American Express, be sure to let them know, we can do a great add.

Onto the juice. Alex, Illya, and Arkadie plan to head up today and scope the situation. Low wind, but some snow over the next couple of days. The only question is? Will the snow bury the ropes. 'till 7500m, it's snow, above it, it's rocks. Take a look at AdventureWeather.com to join in on the good weather day summit fun. 10 m/s and below is considered climbable. Place ya' bets!

Marshall and I are aiming for the 25th or 26th right now, so we'll see. What will it be like up high - check out the picture. Mike Brown (Serac Films - ed note) has a great digital camera with a huge lens, so he got this wonderfull picture from Base Camp. He's also filled us in on the scoop with the route.

Camp II is where the fun starts, 7800m - you climb up into the 8000m realm and arrive at Camp III, 8300m, in 4 or 5 hours. Marhsall and I have been trying to really slow ourselves down to conserve energy, or 'your powerfull' as Dmitry says. So you get there in the afternoon, and chill until the evening. We plan on leaving sometime around 1 in the morning, that's 1 in the afternoon EST. Fast climbers do the summit push in 7, but it's more like 10 hours. That'll put us at the summit sometime before noon at the latest, perfect. Maybe we'll leave later to catch more sun, we'll see.

What's in the way between Camp III and the summit. Quite a bit. First you have to climb up to the second step. Before the second step is Mushroom Rock. This is where you ditch the oxygen cylinder you started from Camp III with for a fresh bottle for the summit. The ditched oxygen is saved for when you come back down. If for some reason it's no longer there, that's what dexamethazone is for.

The next obstacle is the second step. Somewhere around here is a frozen dead Indian guy. And as you look down from the second step there's a ledge below, you can see a bunch of dead people there too. This is the point where you try not to crap your pants. Once you're above the second step, you're almost home free. It's a 30m vertical section about. There's a ladder and ropes, but this doesn't make it any less scarier. Just a couple hours to the top.

Here's the plan for dispatches, not sure if I spoke about this before. Up high I'll be using the sat phone to try and phone in dispathes upon arrival at Camps as well as during different stages of the summit push. The only crux is the Thuraya satellite is a couple hundred miles right about Ethiopia, south west of us, about 242 degrees. Being on the Noth side of Everest, the phone might not work in Camp II or Camp III because of the line of site issues.

So groups heading up. Our sherpa spoke to Russell Brice's sherpa and he's got two groups going up. 29 sherpas and 30 westerners. 60 people in two groups. His first summit push will be on the 22nd and the second the 24th, tentatively. Our plans put us right in between and right after - Alex's group on the 23rd and Marsh and I on the 25th. Two groups of 30 people for him. The rumor is he's putting in a second ladder on the second step too. None of this is confirmed though. That would effectively bring the bottleneck at the step down to 15 people - much more manageable than 30.

This is good news because if there is really a second ladder there I plan to get some good shots of Marshall coming up while I'm on the other one. (If I make it to the second step, that is) and as far as I know, I have never seen video like that before. I've got all these ideas running through my head, who knows what'll happen, but I am just staying super positive, and getting myself really psyched up for this. Of course you've got to be super respectfull of the mountain, weather, and your own ability, but that doesn't mean you can't rile yourself up.

I'm even thinking of bringing the Ipod up high to get all amped in the mornings. I can't wait!! Who knows, a summit, maybe I get a raging case of the runs, maybe I get too scared, maybe I get too weak. I've been replaying the start of the summit bid from Camp III over and over in my head. This is all for now."

The Russian Adventure team has recently been on trips to Elbrus and Ararat, over in Turkey. They also ran a successful Everest expedition last year and are running another trip again this year to the big E. This time, Dave D'Angelo, from team ExWeb is with them.

Ludmila "Ludi" Koshelenko, the teams BC chef (who bought aprons and over sleeves for the BC cooks in China) is Yuri Koshelenko's wife, and coming with the team to Base Camp to meet her husband. Yuri is climbing the new route on the Everest North Face with the Russian National team and also joined Babanov in their first ascent of the former highest unclimbed mountain in the world – Nuptse East, 7804m last year.

Image of the route, courtesy of Dave.

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