I don't know if anyone is still watching this blog, but I received an email from Bruce this morning and thought I'd share some of it. When they got back to base camp after the climb, it was snowing hard and continued to snow for the next 24+ hours. They were prepared to be snowed in for a while, but it looks like things worked out and they were able to leave. Here's what he says:
As you have probably guessed because of the lack of a phone call, we are on the move. The day after I last called you (the day of the huge snow storm) it dawned perfectly clear and Russell got us all out of bed early and told us to get packed. I've never packed in such a hurry and within an hour and a half we were headed out of base camp and on our way. It was pretty tricky going for the first half of the day because the trail was covered with so much packed snow. As we slowly descended the snow turned to slush and it became very sloppy and wet but we didn't care because we are headed home! At about the 14,000' elevation grass and small bushes began to appear. That is always such a great sight after being in a lifeless land for so long. It was a very long day but after all the time acclimatizing at 17,000' I felt like I was getting drunk on air. It really feels great. We spent the night at Pangboche, which I am guessing is about 18 or so miles from base camp, at around 13,000'. We are below the snowline and it is absolutely beautiful. There are evergreen trees and grass and bushes. I'm suffering from sensory overload. It was nice for the first time in two months to not wake up in the night gasping for breath.
Today we walked for about 4 hours in a drizzle and have arrived and Namche Bazaar. It has changed since we were here two months ago. With the recent rain, all the fields around the town have turned green. The trekking season has pretty much ended so the place feels like a ghost town. Tomorrow we walk to Lukla and spend the night and hope for good weather the next morning so we can fly to Kathmandu.
As we have been walking I have thought a lot about what climbing Everest means to me. It still hasn't hit me what I have accomplished and perhaps it won't until I get home. All my life I feel like I have struggled with my ability to complete what I start. I have had many goals in my life that I have started and then allowed to fall by the wayside. This has taught me that I do have the ability to follow through if I want to enough. It is totally up to me. This probably sounds trite but I have learned that I can be a finisher and not just a starter.
Sorry I haven't sent any more photos. With the big snowstorm I spent so much time dealing with keeping my tent cleared off (so it wouldn’t collapse) and other housekeeping issues that I didn't get a chance. My laptop computer is packed away now and hopefully on its way, on the back of a yak, to Kathmandu, so I don't have a way to resize my photos and send them from here. They are so huge that I don't think I could send them full size. You'll have to wait until I get to KTM.
Keep your fingers crossed for good weather two days from now. I'll call you as soon as I can.
Okay, this is Janet again. Isn't it interesting how we judge ourselves so much more harshly than others judge us? I have never thought of Bruce as someone who didn't see things through, in fact to me he's exactly the opposite . . .
I will continue to update the blog at least until Bruce gets home, so that he can add his own thoughts and share some experiences and add some photos. At this point I'm not sure what day he'll be getting home. He will call from Kathmandu and then I get to start working on changing his flight itinerary. I imagine it will be sometime next week. I'll let everyone know as soon as I know.