Bruce called last night to let us know that they have reached base camp and all is well. He thinks he will have internet access as soon as they get everything set up, so I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have emails and maybe even pictures from him to post.
Their group, Himex (short for Himalayan Experience) has actually set up their base camp a short distance away (about a fifteen-minute walk) from the main base camp. Their guide, Russell Brice, did this for a number of good reasons, one of them being the fact that their group is fairly large -- around 60 people including sherpas, guides, etc.) and another being that regular base camp gets to be kind of a zoo, what with all the groups that converge there. If any of you have read the book "High Crimes," you'll understand that being a little removed from the main base camp may also shield them from some of the shenanigans that go on there. I bet my kids are going to tease me about using the word shenanigans : )
Base camp is about 17,700 feet elevation. Bruce says he can see the ice fall from where they are, but has to walk a little ways to see the Western Cwm (pronounced "coom"). Wikipedia has a pretty good description of the route that they will take up the mountain. Click here if you want to read about it, and scroll down to the section called "Southeast Ridge."
They are having a couple of rest days at this point. The majority of their gear was hauled up the mountain in barrels on "yak back" and when they got there, they just unloaded the barrels and threw everything into their tents. Bruce said his tent looked like a bomb went off in it and he was going to spend today (which is over now for him, I guess) organizing everything.
I'm hoping to get an email soon, which will be a lot more detailed than the few minutes we are able to spend on the satellite phone. Stay tuned.