Bruce called late last night to let me know that he had just arrived safely back at base camp. This is great news. The icefall has been notoriously unstable this entire season, and was my last, big worry. He said that every time they've gone through the icefall, the route has been different, because it collapses and avalanches and the sherpas have to go in and re-fix the route. At one point on this last time through, they had to cross over a huge crevasse, which was spanned by five (FIVE!) ladders lashed together vertically. It scared him to death, apparently, as the whole thing swayed back and forth as they crossed it, and it seemed like it went on forever. You can't just walk across those things looking straight ahead, you have to look down to make sure you are placing your feet properly, and therefore you are forced to stare down into a seemingly bottomless crevasse as you cross. Can you imagine?!
Anyway, as the climbers came into base camp they were greeted by a huge crowd of the climbers in group one, the sherpas, sherpa cook staff, guides, etc., all banging on pots and pans and shouting congratulations. He said it was pretty fun. As we were talking some other climbers came into camp and I could actually hear the pot-banging through the phone.
He says he's lost weight and has the usual dry cough that always occurs at high altitude, but other than that he feels great, and still has all his fingers and toes. He will be home earlier than June 10th, which was the projected date, so that's good news, but we're not sure exactly what day at this point. He said he might email some pictures for me to post, so if you want to keep checking you can watch for those. I think I'll keep this blog going at least long enough for Bruce to add some of his own thoughts when he gets home.
Thanks everyone, so much, for all the prayers and good wishes. It has helped more than you know. You can't imagine how relieved we are and how proud I am of Bruce!