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Dave's Everest report: I am here & I am here!
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Apr 20, 2004 17: 54 EST
Our own correspondent Dave D'Angelo shoots off his Everest feelings:

Today is one of the days that I wish I was one of those people who can eloquently put their feelings down in words without rambling.

It didn't happen when I took out thousands of dollars in cash from my bank, it didn't happen the night before I left, I didn't happen on the plane, I didn't happen when I landed in Kathmandu, It didn't happen when I trekked on Everest's South Side and saw it for the first time in 5 years, it didn't happen when I met the team, it didn't happen when I walked across the friendship bridge into China, it didn't happen when we arrived in Base Camp and saw the massive North Face with plumes coming off the top - it happened today.

I was waiting and waiting, as if something was wrong with me, almost like I was on a vacation somewhere. Last summer when I went to Khan Tengri, it hit me in Barnes and Nobles, the day before I flew.

Today, it hit me, I am f*&% climbing Everest.

I kept saying that to myself, over and over, while looking up at the North Face - almost in disbelief. What happens from this point on, whether I make it or not, it doesn't matter to me. I am here & I am here!

During the Puja ceremony it was unreal and I didn't even expect it. I sat there, clutching rice in one hand and some form of powder in the other - to be thrown in the air at the end. We were above our camp on a small hill, Everest, towering above us in full view, not a cloud in the sky. The Lama saying some incantations, the chorten), an altar made from rocks, with burning juniper (I think.)

Halfway through the Sherpas raised our prayer flags - from the top of the chorten, the multi colored flags were spread in all directions. Something about seeing the flags and the backdrop of Everest I realized I am here, I am actually doing this. From the time I became pissed when an Everest National Geo special came on (because I wasn't there) all the way to when I wrote about the mountain for my SAT II's, (ciachies didn't score me that well) to that visit in BC 5 years ago- it all culminated right there, right here.

Yuri Koshelenko, who's credited for the team picture was with us as was Nikolay, the Russian North Wall's team leader - they all came out for our celebration. I'm not a particularly religious or spiritual person, but for some reason, it hit me today during the ceremony. No so much the Lama or the burning juniper at the altar, but maybe it was that I sat down and stared at Everest for the first time underneath the flags. The past couple of days we've been running around getting things ready to move up to ABC and getting settled - didn't really stop and think. I think it hit several others as well. All the years you've been thinking about, for me, maybe 15 or 20 at most, but for others, 30 or 40 years they've been thinking about this - and here we are. The expedition has officially started.

I don't know what will happen from today on, nobody knows. But I do know that in the short time I've been with Alex, Marshall, the Italians, Dimitry, Dilmurad, the Sheraps, everbody, It feels good being here with them. Things may change, sure, but today, as the sun is shining bright, Everest proudly stands in the distance and I'm sitting in the most kick ass Base Camp setup here - "It just ain't that bad."


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 from team ExWeb is with them.

Image of Everet Sherpa raising the Puja flags, ExplorersWeb files.

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