Thursday, July 5, 2007

Nichelle in Everest Base Camp

Hey Seven Summiters! I just got back from an awesome trip to Nepal and the Mt Everest Base Camp! Another USAF officer and myself signed on with a Brittish expedition called Caudwell's Xtreme Everst. As part of their team we got to trek to the base camp and help out with the largest medical research expedition ever to visit Everest. If you'd like to read more about that expedition and the research, visit The expedition took more than 200 volunteers to the base camp and put 10 doctors on the summit to study the effects of altitude and low oxygen levels on the body and how that might relate to ICU patients dealing with their own hypoxia issues. The research was truly fascinating and should produce some excellent medical advances! While on the trek to base camp we also had some great opportunities to do research for a future USAF 7 Summits Climb. We made some good contacts and got a first hand look at what base camp and the Khumbu Valley are like during prime climbing season. As well as taking note of some good places to stay on the way to base camp and other logistical tidbits, we also did some reasearch on what it takes to put together an expedition to the summit of Everest. Things like obtaining permits and organizing help from the Sherpas are just small examples of the hurdles that need to be crossed early. Forefront on our minds after returning from Nepal is the need for AF sponsorship in order to make the USAF 7 Summits expedition a success. Our "short" trek to the base camp and back required us to take 26 days of leave. Everyone we talked to returning from the summit had been in Nepal for at least 60 days. Obviously, leave will be an issue. Money will also be a huge factor. This year, a Nepalese permit for 4 people to climb the South Col route to the summit cost nearly $70,000. That's just the permit. Food and supplies will undoubtedly send that figure through the roof. Despite these challenges, we still firmly believe that the USAF 7 Summits can find a way to make an expedition to Mt Everest a success. We returned from Nepal eager to go back and help put our coworkers (or ourselves) to the summit! -Nichelle Brokering