Climber at Mt Everest Talks with WebEx from Base Camp

Photo courtesy of Brian Dickinson.

Note: the live event with Brian Dickinson was canceled due to logistical difficulties. We were able to talk to him late last week and you can hear the recording here. Below is a quick account of what happened (the links below click through to the relevant background on Brian’s blog).

Shortly after learning Brian was going to climb Mt Everest, I sat down and plowed through Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air. I had to know what Brian was up against. It scared the crap out of me. This was going to be incredibly dangerous. I gained an even deeper respect for his wife, JoAnna.

Since then, I have been slightly addicted to Brian’s progress – the ups and downs, his scare with HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and I was anxiously waiting for our WebEx session planned for tonight. We have been planning to talk to him live at Base Camp.

Then, last Thursday, Ray Bellantoni here in Santa Clara, CA reached Brian – we had to change the plan. Ray had talked to Brian and the technical constraints were going to be a huge challenge. Apparently, power comes from a single solar tower that also powers the 3G network. To get any reception, Brian had to climb up a bit from camp and sit on a rock to get signal. On top of that, they were heading out early to Camp III to spend five days on the last leg of acclimatization. When they came back down, they could get the summit “go” almost instantly.

We needed a Plan B.

On April 28 (the 29th for him), we finally got Brian live and decided to quickly record a WebEx with him. At first, the sound was horrible and we waited – and waited – for a video feed. Then, poof! We could see him! It was exhilarating. As we spoke, he said, “Hey, there goes another avalanche,” and explained one reason they have to climb in the dark is that during the day the sunlight causes frequent avalanches.

Click here to watch the recording.

He was so excited to talk to “people from home” and he told us all about his adventures so far. Of course we asked him the important questions, like how do you stay clean and what are you eating. But we also asked him about the risks like the Khumbu Icefall, the altitude and the loneliness. It was an amazing discussion.

Screen grab of Brian via WebEx at Base Camp. Wow!

Near the end, he was telling us about how people up there arrive with high hopes but are leveled by the challenges of the altitude and cold. He talked about helicopters coming in to rescue people on nearly a daily basis and as we talked, a copter arrived and we could see it leaving in the background of the video.

Waiting for word.

So now, when Brian comes back down from Camp III, he will wait. There are small windows when the weather is favorable for the final ascent. That’s what they are waiting for. They could go as quickly as tomorrow or it could push out. There’s no way to know.

We plan to talk to Brian when he’s back at sea level. We’ll have a live event and you can talk with him firsthand about all aspects of his climb. We’ll have more on that later here and on WebEx’s Facebook page.

For now, we wish Brian safe passage and we look forward to seeing his pictures from the top of the world. Godspeed.

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  1. VERY cool! impressive to anyone climbing that