Everest Team INSPI(RED) is happy to be sending you this dispatch from the safe confines of Base Camp! For the past two days, we have been working our way down from the South Col, after our successful summit of Mount Everest on the morning of May 22nd. As previously reported, we left to begin our climb at about 10:30, the evening of the 21st. The weather was really mild, meaning warm with no wind, but the biggest challenges came from the number of people attempting a summit. After much hard work and climbing, we were able to reach the summit successfully at about 8:00am, a few hours after the sun came up. The summit was crowded but the weather was really quite warm with calm winds, and a little snow and clouds. We spent over an hour on top, sharing in the emotion of the experience and all that brought us here. We happy to be back at base camp, having achieved a goal that we set out to accomplish months ago. Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming support for our success and for the support of (PRODUCT)RED™!

We have stood at the top of the world, but at the base of human need

And every step to get here, was taken with purpose over speed

Unity, strength and a vision of change brought us here

And the most important thing encouraging us was the absence of fear

We urge you to make a choice for humans, a choice for change

And be confident that the destinations that seem the furthest are within range

-Melissa Arnot

After much weather watching last night we decided to depart for our summit attempt at 10:30 PM. We slowly made our way up, moving among about 70 or 80 other climbers. The number of people as well as dry, rocky conditions made for slow walking - almost causing us to turn around at various points. After all of that at 8:10 AM on May 22 Nepal date and time, Everest Team INSPI(RED) and 2 Sherpa Tsering Dorjee and Fura Kancha stood together on top of the world at 29,035 ft. With a combination of perseverance and luck we are now safely back at Camp IV in the South Col. We will check in from Base Camp in a few days and further describe our adventure with photos. Thank you everyone for all of your support and good thoughts. It's now time for us to get some much needed sleep.

This one's for you - Bono, Bobby, Susan, Tamsin, Ron, Colin, Kate and the rest of the amazing (RED) Team!

-Jeff Dossett, Melissa Arnot and David Morton

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

This is Jeff, Dave and Melissa checking in from the South Col on Mount Everest at about 26,000 ft. After a good night’s rest at Camp III we headed up to Camp IV early this morning and climbed with oxygen for our first day. Everybody is feeling really well. As soon as we got in we promptly made ourselves comfortable with soup and hot drinks in our tents. We are just resting up and getting ready for what we have in store. We will check in shortly.

-Everest Team INSPI(RED)

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

Today has been a busy day at Camp II. In addition to resting and eating in preparation for our summit bid, we have been organizing equipment and deciding what to bring up with us. We will need to bring (or wear) our down summit suits as well as some warmer base layers for underneath. Tomorrow morning we are heading to Camp III at about 4 o'clock am, which is a cold time of day above 21,000 feet, so we will likely be wearing most of our warm layers. Gloves are very important, and we will each be wearing a warm, insulated pair, as well as carrying extra gloves and down mittens. In addition to all the warm gloves, we will have chemical hand warmers, in case it gets really cold. As you can see in the photos, we all are wearing the warmest mountaineering boots that are available, which are basically two pairs of boots inside each other, with built in over boots, or gaiters. We will be wearing warm wool socks, with chemical toe warmers, or battery operated warming socks, to keep our toes warm if need be.

In addition to warm clothes, we will be carrying safety equipment; first aid kits and radios for communication with our base camp. We also have plenty of camera equipment and we will be carrying various banners from our supporters. All in all, the preparation has been going very well, as we pack and prepare for our early departure tomorrow. We are all getting very excited to be getting closer to our goal. There has been so much preparation to get to this point, we are now trying to stay focused and strong.

EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) was conceived to build awareness of (PRODUCT) RED and to inspire others to do what they can help in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. We thank you all for following along as we make our final push to the summit during the next week.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, reaching the summit of Mount Everest requires perseverance, dedication and a healthy dose of inspiration. We are blessed with plenty of inspiration including the kind words of support that we have received from many of you. Whenever I am in need of a little boost in motivation, I take a good long look at the incredible quilted banners hand-crafted by the volunteers at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust in South Africa. These banners remind me of why we are here and the amazingly proud and capable people living with HIV/AIDS that we are trying to help.

I thank you again for making the personal effort to learn more about (PRODUCT) RED and the many great products and services offered by the proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED. For more details see http://www.joinred.com.

I'd also like to share a short poem that I think of often during the more difficult moments here on the mountain:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the number of moments that take our breath away". (Anonymous)

Over the next few days, as we make our final push to the summit, there will no doubt be many moments that take our breath away (and not just a result of a lack of oxygen)! You inspire us everyday!


-Melissa Arnot and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

The time has come to leave the relative comforts of our base camp and head into extreme altitudes. Tomorrow morning at 3:30 we plan to here for our final push through the ice fall and on to CII. On Monday the 19th we will take a rest day there at over 21,000 feet. On the 20th we move to CIII and on the 21st to CIV or the ‘South Col’. We’ll then have two opportunities to try for the summit. The first would come on the night of the 21st putting us on the summit in the early hours of May 22. We will also have enough oxygen to spend over 24 hours on the South Col and make an attempt the night of the 22nd putting us on the summit early on the 23rd. That decision will be based on weather and the condition of the team once we are in place at CIV. Up here even the best laid plans are subject to quick changes and our flexibility will serve us well if conditions on the mountain present differently than expected.

The past week has been a wonderful one for Jeff, Melissa and I. We had the opportunity to drop down more than 5,000 feet from base camp and enjoy the incredible number of rhododendrons blooming. The grass in the meadows in Deboche was beginning to green and all around there was flowing streams. It was a delight. As you could see from the pictures in the last dispatch we truly relaxed. We also were able to visit the Tengboche Monastery, the largest in the Khumbu.

Base camp is beginning to take on the characteristic feel of a summit week. There’s a great deal of excitement and anxiousness coupled with a sense of things starting to wrap up. All of the climbers sense that the end of the quest could be near and it makes for a tense but exciting time. So far the season has been blessed with little in the way of accidents and tragedy. We intend to keep it that way as we ascend into what feels like the heavens and look down across the sweeping Tibetan plateau, the valleys of Nepal and the Indian sub-continent.

We'll be in touch from above.

-David Morton

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

It is good to be back ‘home’ to base camp today, after a few days of resting in Debouche, although, the resting was pretty great. After lunch at base camp today, we pulled out our oxygen equipment and practiced using it, before the air gets too thin! This year, we will be using new technology masks (field tested on Everest in 2007). We practiced attaching the regulators to our masks and to the oxygen tanks. It is very exciting to be getting our final stages of preparation out of the way.

To rest and recover in preparation for our final summit push, we decided to hike all the way from base camp (about 17,600 feet) down valley to Debouche at about 12,500 feet. This “rest low and recover” technique was originally developed by Russian mountaineers in the 1970s and it is employed by most teams here at Everest. We hiked for about 13 miles from base camp to Debouche and were rewarded by green grass, trees and a lot more oxygen.

In Debouche we had a very busy time…sleeping in the grass and walking in the lush green forests that we have been missing. Okay, so maybe the life of climbers isn’t so hard, but we sure took advantage of the relaxation. There is a nearby village with the largest and most famous monastery in the Khumbu valley, Tengboche, where we went for lunch and tried to power our computers to send some photos, but the ‘cyber-café’ was closed for the season (I think a yak walked through the cables). At the lodge we were staying at, there was one power outlet, and the power came from a waterwheel, which was often diverted, which meant no power!

As you are looking at the photos that we are posting, I know you are wondering how David, Jeff and I are so stylish while climbing…okay, maybe that isn’t a question anyone is asking! Nonetheless, some people have offered enormous support to outfit us for this expedition. David and Jeff are graciously supported by Outdoor Research (http://www.outdoorresearch.com) for a significant part of their outerwear, and Melissa received tremendous support from Zappos.com and the amazing design team at Mountain Hardwear, particularly Dan Ramos with endless pairs of gloves and Chris Hillard for super awesome (and warm) sleeping bags. Remote Medical International has also been a great supporter, providing first aid supplies (and letting Melissa leave work for three months)! We are so lucky to have so many professional partners that believe in what we are doing, but like we have said before, it is the support of all of the individuals, and their support of (PRODUCT) RED™ that means the most to us.

As we get rested, and as we prepare to head back up the mountain for our summit push, we are all feeling very thankful. We are so appreciative of all of the support that people have been showing, not just for our climbing goals, but for (PRODUCT) RED™ and the amazing things that we can all do as consumers to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Whenever we meet someone in a tea house, it is so encouraging to hear them say, with excitement, that when they get home they will learn more about (PRODUCT) RED™ or when they tell us about the (PRODUCT) RED™ products or services that they have purchased. These are the people that make the difference and drive the overwhelmingly positive change in the world health crisis of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

-Melissa Arnot

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

What a different scene we are experiencing today! We woke up this morning to six inches of new snow covering base camp. Even with the snow and the cold, it feels really good to be breathing the thicker air here. We left Camp II yesterday morning and headed through Camp I and the ice fall, to arrive at base camp for lunch and an afternoon nap. As we were descending, a steady stream of climbers and Sherpa were heading up to Camp III, where we had been the previous day. With the schedule and climbing restrictions that we have been facing this season, it has created a more limited window for people to move up, and that was very obvious with the ‘ant line’ of climbers heading up for acclimatization.

The previous morning we left Camp II at 6 o’clock a.m. to head up the Lhotse face to Camp III for our own acclimatization. This was the first day that the ropes were fixed (thank you David and Sherpa!) and climbers could move up. The first hour of walking brought us to the base of the ice, where the wall gets steep. The early morning walking is always my favorite, with crampons piercing the snow and speaking to the mountain. The temperature outside was pretty chilly, keeping our hands and toes cold. Once we got to the Lhotse face, we swung our hands around to warm them up, took a drink of water and started up the wall. The first section of the slope had some soft, new snow, so as we moved our ascenders up the rope it was easy to stand mostly on our feet, but that soon changed. The teams that fixed the ropes the previous day did an exceptional job, and there were two ropes so that even with many climbers, we didn’t have to wait long to keep moving up. Parts of the slope were steep, blue ice that required a lot of attention and a bit of work. After a few hours of walking we arrived at Camp III, at about 23,000 feet. The camp was set up on a small snow ledge, ready for us on our next ascent. After a little rest up high, we began our descent into Camp II. We arrived early in the afternoon, in time for soup and another nap!

We are thankful to be down low again, resting up for our summit push. The next time that we go up will be with the intention of continuing past Camp III, onto four and then to the summit. We will be watching the weather closely, as well as the other groups, to insure our best chance at the summit.

Today we are leaving Base Camp, and heading to a little village, Debouche for some rest and recovery before heading up again. We will be down below 14,000 for about 4 days, eating fried food, drinking some soda, and sleeping in real beds!

Mother's Day is being celebrated back in the states, and we all agree, we couldn’t be here without the support and encouragement that our mothers have given us over the years. Happy Mother’s Day Jill (Jeff’s Mom), Harriett (David’s Mom), and Debbie (Melissa’s mom), we love you.

-Melissa Arnot

Some of you may be wondering what kind of a connection exists between Everest Team INSPI(RED) and Mother’s Day. At first glance, it may appear to be an unrealistic leap: a climbing team attempts to summit Mt. Everest on one continent to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in another. The connection is simple: It is the unbreakable bond of our human community. After all, we are all sisters and brothers, living together, on mother Earth.

The members of Everest Team INSPI(RED), global citizens all, could have answered the call to service in a myriad ways. Instead, they chose to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS in Africa, shine their light on the stories of hope among men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS and inspire each of us to do what we can to help in the fight.

There are 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Africa—which has just over 10% of the world's population—is home to 68% (22.5 million). The disease is the leading cause of death in Africa, with approximately 4,400 people dying every day from AIDS. Women—many of them mothers—make up almost 61% of adults living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa and, as a result, women and children are the hardest hit by the disease. An estimated 11.4 million children in Africa have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS already and this number is growing. More than 1,000 children, most within sub-Saharan Africa, are infected with HIV each day.

But every time an adult begins AIDS treatment including antiretroviral drugs, or ARVs, the survival of children becomes less precarious. It costs just 40 cents to fund the two pills a day needed to keep someone with HIV in Africa alive. Still, more than 70% of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa live on fewer than two dollars a day and can not afford this medicine. AIDS is a preventable, treatable disease in Africa if the means exist to buy and administer the medicine that is needed.

(RED) works with the world's best brands to make unique (PRODUCT) RED-branded products and direct up to 50% of their gross profits to the Global Fund to invest in African AIDS programs with a focus on the health of women and children.

Sat phone message from Everest Team INSPI(RED) leader, Jeff Dossett:

Please don't forget that Sunday, May 11th is Mother's Day in the US. I encourage you to visit Hallmark Gold Crown stores or http://www.hallmark.com/RED to consider the purchase of Hallmark's amazing (PRODUCT) RED cards and gift items. Thank you for learning more about (PRODUCT) RED and for making purchase decisions that can and do make a difference to those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa!

-Friends of Everest Team INSPI(RED)

This Stateside Edition dispatch, is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

What a joy to be sitting at just below 14,000 ft. here in Pheriche. We’ve had a couple of enjoyable nights sleeping in the relatively thick air. In the morning we head back to BC in order to prepare for our next foray up to CII and hopefully beyond.

Over the past couple of hours sitting in Ang Nuru’s comfortable lodge I’ve watched dozens of Sherpa heading home for the next 4 or 5 days. Because of the unusual season this year related to the carrying of the Olympic torch to the summit on the Chinese side of the mountain there have been rampant rumors about restrictions. The expedition leaders have been meeting every few days to try and clarify much of the confusion and we’ve been relatively successful. The schedule for TEAM INSPI(RED)’s climbing at this point has been based on the latest agreements and understanding between the expedition leaders, the military, and the Ministry of Tourism. That being said, as I’ve spoken to some of my Sherpa friends today, the agreements may change once again.

We came to Pheriche yesterday knowing that we would not be able to climb above BC on the 1st and 2nd of May. The plan now is to arrive back at BC on the 1st and then climb to CII on the 3rd or 4th. The rumors today from Sherpa friends is that climbing above BC may be postponed until a few days later. As with most information this season it is only speculation until something solid comes about which can happen at any moment. Regardless, we are sticking to a similar schedule that I’ve used during my other four summits, and letting the political cards fall where they may.

So, a wrap up as to our expectations of the next month, subject to change at any minute! We will head back to BC arriving either the 1st or 2nd of May. As soon as we are permitted- hopefully the 3rd- we will climb to CII and spend approximately four nights there. In a typical season the goal is to spend one night at CIII in order to complete an attempt at acclimatizing to 7000 meters (23,000’). This season the fixing of the route to CIII will likely be delayed longer than we can wait for an acclimatization climb. Therefore, we’ll spend the 4 or 5 nights at CII acclimatizing to that elevation and hopefully climbing above to CIII. After this next foray to the heights of CII we will drop back down to BC at 17,500’. Then again we’ll come to Pheriche at 14,000’ for one night and continue even further down to the lush creeks and greenery of Deboche at 12,500’. Just thinking about it makes me smile and relax! After a couple of wonderful nights of movies and cards in Deboche we’ll take two days to return to BC. That will put us back in BC around the 13th of May to gear up mentally for the summit push. With such a schedule I’ll be expecting a possible summit attempt between the 20th and 25th of May. There are many factors affecting this window including first and foremost the weather outlook. Another major factor is of course the health and readiness of the team. And this season we have the restrictions imposed on our movement because of the Chinese Olympic torch summit attempt.

The decision making regarding summit attempts on 8000 meter peaks is as much an art form as a scientific decision. In this day and age our resources for analyzing health of climbers and our resources for predicting weather trends have improved to a surprising degree. But if one is really to be honest there is a great degree of subjective information. Many of those decisions come down to a ‘gut feeling’ based on previous experience and previous processing of similar information. That is where the art comes in; balancing these factors in an attempt to make the summit while ensuring the degree of risk is sufficiently mitigated.

In the coming weeks we’ll be practicing our balance and tapping into that ‘art’.

-David Morton

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

After enjoying a breakfast of fried Tibetan bread and eggs this morning, we are all relaxing in the warm sun in a tea house in Pheriche. Yesterday morning, after breakfast at base camp, we decided that since we have a few rest days ahead of us, we should venture to even lower climates, and we decided on Pheriche, at about 14,000 feet, which we stayed at on our trek in.

The style that we are climbing Mount Everest in centered around staying healthy for a summit bid, but also staying strong. When we are climbing at an elevation above 18,000 feet, it is considered ‘extreme altitude’, and our bodies struggle to adjust. Most people think of the term ‘thin air’ and assume that there is a lack of oxygen up high. The truth is that there is a change in the pressure in the atmosphere, which allows the oxygen the spread out, or get thin, so that with each breath we get a little less. In addition to that, our bodies are adjusting and trying to adapt in subtle ways that we don’t even notice. As we trekked up to Base Camp, we spent almost two weeks so that our bodies could adjust from sea level to 17,000 feet. Once at base camp, we spent the first week just resting. As we are resting and adjusting, our breathing increases naturally, to help get more of the available oxygen. Also, though it isn’t something we can feel, we create more red blood cells, which are the carriers of oxygen throughout our bodies. While resting at base camp, we try to do some light activity every day, which helps the acclimatization process.

After the week spent at base camp, our bodies were well enough adjusted to climb to higher elevations. We climb only a few thousand feet each day, and then sleep there, giving us a chance to adjust before going higher. It is almost impossible for any human to permanently adapt to the pressure changes and ‘thin air’ above 18,000 feet. It gets difficult to sleep and eat, and you need more calories just to sustain minimal activity and keep warm. That is why we only spend a few nights up high and then return to Base Camp, to eat, sleep and rest, before heading up again. It takes weeks for our bodies to start adjusting to the altitude, and when we descend to Base Camp or lower, we retain the benefits of having been up high, so we are ready for the next trip up. Unfortunately the most important benefits don’t last much longer than a week, so tomorrow we will head back to base camp, well rested and feeling strong, and begin our acclimatization trips back up again.

-Melissa Arnot

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

Life at camp II has been busy the past few days. Since the Chinese summated on the North side of the mountain, carrying the Olympic torch, on the 8th, we are now free to move above Camp II. As soon as we heard the news, camp became busy with Sherpa dividing ropes to begin fixing the route to Camp III. They worked all afternoon yesterday, allowing us the chance to climb about 1000 feet above camp today.

The fixing continued up to Camp III today, so tomorrow we will be able to climb the Lhotse face, and touch Camp III before heading back to Camp II for our nights rest. Tomorrow holds our most difficult and steep climbing to date, and the air is getting thinner, as we felt today. While Jeff and I took an acclimatization hike, Dave spent the day today on the Lhotse face fixing the ropes we will climb tomorrow. We are all feeling really well, and are incredibly excited to have a chance to move higher up.

We will check in again from Base Camp in a few days.

-Melissa Arnot

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

Today is a beautiful morning at Camp II, at 21,500 feet. After returning to base camp from our time spent at a lower altitude, we spent a few days resting and preparing for our big move up.

Yesterday morning we awoke at 4 o'clock am and started our long walk to Camp II. We decided to bypass a night of sleep at Camp I, and endure a longer day, getting us all the way to Camp II. The early morning walking in the ice fall was a really pleasant temperature. The sun came up, shining on the nearby peaks, while a cloud of fog sat over the top of base camp.

After we took a break at Camp I to shed some layers, we began the long, hot walk through the Western Cwm to camp two. This part of the walk is tough, with the heat and the altitude. Before the expedition, Jeff talked about how a big part of mountaineering is being uncomfortable for a long time...that was yesterday. It is hard to say how hot it was, but the sun was hitting us from every side and reflecting off the snow. After a few hours of walking Pemba Nuru, one of our Sherpa, met us with some cookies and cold juice. I think that was the best part of the day! We got into Camp II in the early afternoon, and have been making ourselves comfortable ever since, eating and drinking as much as possible. It is a little difficult to get a good nights sleep at this altitude, but we are all doing well and trying to rest and acclimatize.

Today we are going to work on making our tent platforms a little flatter, as the ice melts underneath them, and rest, rest, rest.

-Melissa Arnot

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

We're sitting here in the late afternoon snow squalls at Camp I near 19,500 feet in the Western Cwm (pronounced “koom”). The Western Cwm is the large horseshoe shaped cirque that is created by the West Shoulder of Everest on the north and the Lhotse-Nuptse ridgeline on the east and south. Most of the time it is protected from winds and therefore becomes effectively an oven with the reflection of the sun coming from 3 out of 4 directions. It's hot, it's high, and it's an absolute visual marvel. It is difficult to describe the beauty of such an intense environment. It often feels as if one is in a world of black and white because the only physical landscape is snow, ice and shades of black rock. The man made clothing and tents dot the landscape like little dabs of paint in a monochrome world.

We departed base camp at 6:30am and we arrived here at Camp I yesterday around 11am Nepal time. The trip through the Icefall was smooth and uneventful - just as we like it to be. We were all feeling strong and relaxed. My voice is trying hard to return and every now and then I get an hour or so of a nearly normal voice. We all dozed off throughout the afternoon and escaped the heat of the direct sun by lying in our completely vented tents. The altitude and sun here are so strong that when you relax in your tent for the afternoon one's body and mind seem 'cooked'. It can be hard to read or write or be productive in typical ways. The most appropriate thing most often seems to be to just total relaxation.

It's now about 5 p.m. and TEAM INSPI(RED) is cooking up our second dinner here at Camp I. Tomorrow morning, we will climb to Camp II and spend the following two evenings there at over 21,000 feet. Camp II sits at the base of the massive southwest face of Everest. This season, the southwest face is looking unusually dry and bare. It would be helpful for the route to get some new snow between now and our summit push in late May. If not, we’ll deal with the dryness which mainly results in a bit more rockfall and slightly more difficult footing.

After enjoying a night sleeping in our -40 degree bags and trying not to think of the warming spring back home, we awoke at 6 a.m. to head to Camp II. The route to Camp II starts out rolling up and down through huge crevasses with a few ladders. After about an hour of walking, we crested a hill, which showed us a view of the tents at Camp II, unfortunately the Camp I tents look an awful lot closer! The terrain is really calm, not very steep or crevassed from here to Camp II, but it is slow going at 20,000 feet! We took about four hours to get to Camp II (except Jeff, who had a little extra motivation to move quickly, and let us just say, he was happy to see all the tents at Camp II, especially the toilet tent!).

Once at Camp II we relaxed with soup and lunch made by Ang Tsering (one of our Sherpa staff), who will stay at Camp II to support us for the majority of the season. Time passes slowly up here, and we mostly try to just eat and breathe. After dinner, we sat in the dining tent for as long as possible (which amounted to a few minutes at best) and then headed for the warmth of our sleeping bags. After one day of rest and acclimatization at Camp II, it was time to head down to the tropical lower regions of base camp. We woke up around 6 a.m., to try and finish all of our walking before the heat of the sun would hit us, which worked a little too well, as we walked down a little chilled in the wind. We arrived back at base camp at about 11:30am, just in time for lunch and showers! It is good to be back lower, though we are very thankful to have spent a few days up higher, with all of TEAM INSPI(RED) feeling healthy and strong.

-David Morton, Melissa Arnot and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

This entry is brought to you courtesy of Alpine Ascents, the expedition leader for Everest Team INSPI(RED).

At base camp, our climbing leaders and Sherpa will be well on the way to having the lower part of the mountain (the Khumbu Ice Fall) already fixed with ropes and ladders. We will establish four camps on the mountain. The first, at 19,500ft, is situated at the top of the ice fall. This camp functions as an intermediate camp until Camp II (advanced base camp) is established at 21,000 ft.

Camp II will consist of large tents for cooking and dining and several smaller tents for sleeping. Camp II will be our base during the placements of Camp III and Camp IV (23,500ft and 26,300ft respectively). Camp III, which stands at the head of the cirque on the Lhotse face will consist of three and four man tents. This camp serves as an intermediate camp which climbers will use to reach Camp IV (high camp) on the South Col.

Most of our Sherpa are able to carry directly from Camp II to Camp IV, so large amounts of gear are not needed at Camp III to establish Camp IV. Oxygen will be used above Camp III to help aid climbers in reaching high camp before attempting the summit. From Camp IV, we travel along the South East Ridge to the South Summit. From here we traverse for a few hundred meters before reaching the Hillary step and then onto the main summit.

-Alpine Ascents

It’s an intensely chilly early afternoon here at Base Camp on the 21st of April. The sun begins to close in on the Pumori ridgeline around 5 p.m. each day and things really begin to cool down. Today there have dark gray clouds consistently swirling around Pumori’s summit and the temperature drop commenced too early. We’ve spent the day taking showers and relaxing around a somewhat empty camp. The team that we are sharing our Base Camp with headed up to CI this morning so the volume around ‘town’ has been lowered. It’s made for a wonderfully serene day.

Yesterday we journeyed up through the Icefall and nearly to CI in order to do some acclimatization. I (David) lost my voice a few days ago due to an extremely sore throat and yesterday was the first time it seemed appropriate for the team to push it up to CI. Melissa and Jeff took over the radio duties as I literally couldn’t get a peep to come out of my typically over used mouth. We left Base Camp around 6 a.m. and were back into camp for a late lunch. It was wonderful to get moving up high again. I always seem to gain energy through the gaining of altitude. As long as there is a bit of rest to adjust I seem to gain rather than lose strength so despite my lack of vocal power my body is feeling stronger today. It some ways this physiological response doesn’t make any sense though I think it’s more psychological. My spinning wheels and pent up drive gets completely tapped as we ascend and in turn I feel a sense of energy and vitality return.

The Icefall is relatively good shape this season. There are some spectacular pitches which ascend vertical seracs including one section where four ladders are lashed together. Despite the incredible inherent danger every season in the Icefall I feel generally good about the route this season. Last season there were an unusual number of immense but thin seracs which the route wove in and out of. At point there was even a spot which the climbers had nicknamed ‘Darwin’s Corner’ for obvious reasons. Any nicknames for the route this season hopefully won’t have such depressing overtones.

Our plan is to take another day here at Base Camp in order for the three of us to feel fully rested for the multi-day push when we leave on Wednesday. Our sights are set on a 4 night stretch where we’ll adjust well to the higher altitudes and gain strength in the thin air!

-David Morton and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

After the past few days of training around base camp, we awoke this morning and decided to head out of base camp to a lower elevation. Where, you ask? Maui, Sydney…or perhaps Gorak Shep! After much debate, we settled on Gorak Shep as our destination for the day, which is at about 16,800 feet and a few hours from Everest Base Camp, but being the climbers that we are we actually ended up higher than base camp, summiting a nearby peak, Kala Pathar, at about 18,500 feet.

After breakfast we navigated our way through base camp and headed back out the direction that we recently came in. The trail between base camp and Gorak Shep (the last ‘village’ prior to base camp) is very rocky and was dotted with trekkers, climbers and porters all headed for base camp. After a little more than an hour, some tents and tea houses appeared, like a mirage across a dry lake bed. We took the opportunity to enjoy the sandy “beaches” of Gorak Shep with hand-stands and improvised yoga, under the strict supervision of the wandering yaks, of course.

As we sat on a warm rock, enjoying a carbonated beverage, we had the feeling that the air was a little too thick, and we should head for higher ground. Kala Pathar is a trekking peak that is cradled by the much larger Himalayan neighbors all around. After a few hours of hiking, we sat together on the summit, with our best view of Everest to date, and feeling quite thankful for where we are right now. It is so easy to trivialize the experience of sitting at 18,500 feet, when our current objective is more than 10,000 feet higher. As the wind blew the prayer flags posted on the summit and the sun shone down on us, we looked around to see friends in the mountains and each other, and it was very clear why we are here.

We headed down and enjoyed a candy bar and soda on that same rock, then headed home, with a little less energy but a much greater appreciation of the things that surround us.

-Melissa Arnot and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

We’ve been settling into our new “luxury” accommodations and routines here in Everest Base Camp for about 6 days. We’re pleased to report that EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) is acclimatizing very well and we are excited about the prospect of beginning our push to higher camps shortly.

For the most part, we are relatively healthy. I say “relatively” because at this high altitude (17,600 feet), it is common for all expedition members to experience some combination of altitude-induced headaches, upper respiratory illness (e.g. the “Khumbu cough”) and other gastrointestinal symptoms (and that’s enough said about that)!

Most days begin at about 8am with a hearty breakfast of eggs, French toast, bacon and cereal and an ample supply of our favorite coffee blends transported all the way from the US. Most mornings, the sun shines brightly and the temperatures are much higher than most would expect given our high altitude here at Everest Base Camp. In fact, it’s really too hot to lay comfortably in our tents during the intense morning sunshine, so we generally get geared up for a skills training session on a nearby glacier “fin” at the base of the Khumbu Ice Fall. We don our specialized mountaineering clothing, climbing harness and a variety of other mountaineering “tools of the trade” (e.g. glacier glasses, ice axe, fixed rope ascenders, carabiners, rappelling devices, ropes, etc.)

Although all members of the climbing EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition team have considerable high altitude experience, we never underestimate the importance of refreshing our essential climbing, safety and rescue skills prior to embarking on our first ascent through the treacherous Khumbu Ice Fall. Both David Morton and Melissa Arnot are professional mountain guides with extraordinary climbing and training resumes, so I am particularly fortunate to be sharing this amazing experience with such talented and experienced team members.

We awoke this morning to a thin layer of fresh snow. During the night there were a few thunderstorms and an hour or so of solid snowfall. It couldn’t have been a better morning for our puja day today. The puja at Base Camp is a traditional ceremony performed before moving up the mountain. The shining sun made our bathing for the ceremony a bit more comfortable than it would have been in other weather but the bathing is an essential pre-puja ritual.

During the blessing we are essentially asking for permission to climb the mountain as well as safe keeping while climbing. We’re lucky enough to have a few climbing Sherpa that were monks when they were younger. It means we actually have our own staff for blessings. Phura Kancha Sherpa, one of our young and strong climbers, is still a monk at the Thame Monastery.

Last night the kitchen staff was up late making the tsampa and traditional Tibetan bread that are part of the ceremony. Tsampa is barley flour and an essential part of Tibetan life as it is one of the main staples. Tibetan Buddhist monks consume tsampa daily. Chhang, a Tibetan beer made from rice, is also an important part of the ritual. We imported the Chhang from Pheriche- a couple villages back. The monks read from Tibetan Sanskrit scrolls and chant prayers that are used for safe travels. Putting up the prayer flags is part of the ceremony and we now have seven strings coming off our central chorten. The entire camp is covered above by prayer flags. It’s a beautiful site.

Over the past couple of days our Sherpa staff have been patiently waiting for the Icefall up to Camp I to be ‘fixed’. The Icefall Doctors are the brave souls that fix lines up the Khumbu Icefall each season. They string rope up the route by attaching it to the ice with ice screws and pickets. If the spans over crevasses are too large to cross they also attach ladders. After speaking to Ang Nima yesterday, the head ‘Doctor’, it sounds as though there are already 40 ladders in place and still a small push remains to arrive at Camp I. I can’t think of a more dangerous job than being an Icefall Doctor. Ang Nima and crew spend an inordinate amount of time in the line of fire making sure the route is in good shape. They deserve much more than the limited kudos they typically get. As of this afternoon the route up to Camp I should be finished. Tomorrow morning our crew will begin the long project of moving our gear up the mountain. In a couple of days Camp I should be stocked well enough for us to make our first overnight foray above Base Camp.

Today, we wanted to share some additional information regarding anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs for short). ARV medicines are not new. First introduced around 1987, these “miracle” drugs help to block or thwart the assault of HIV on a person’s immune system. Over the past 20 years, ARVs have improved significantly. They are less toxic, easier to take (e.g. fewer pills with less frequency) and have less harmful or uncomfortable side effects. In fact, the availability of these newer generation ARVs in the Western world have shifted a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS from a certain death sentence (often with a life expectancy less than 10 years) to a still unfortunate but manageable disease.

In the developed world, an HIV/AIDS patient requiring ARVs would incur a cost of about $10,000 - $12,000 for a year’s supply of medicine. While clearly a very high price to pay for treatment, many HIV/AIDS patients in the developed world have reasonable access to some form of health care insurance or other forms of financial support that make treatment a more manageable financial hardship. However, in Africa where the average income is less than $2 per day (and often below $1 per day), the high cost of ARVs meant these life-saving medicines were out of reach for most Africans in need.

Sometime around 2003, a broad-based, non-partisan coalition of activists lead by then President Bill Clinton fundamentally changed the economics of ARVs for Africa in a manner which today remains one of the most significant and positive changes in the history of the battle to end HIV/AIDS suffering in Africa. Working together, these concerned and passionate activists persuaded four manufacturers of ARVs to make these medicines available to developing countries (including Africa) for about $140 per year per patient – a far cry from the $10,000+ previously charged for these medicines. Why? Well, the premise was all about volume. There was no question about the need for these drugs in Africa (for patients numbering in the millions), but at $10,000+ per year per patient, no drugs were being purchased. At $140 per year per patient (and with growing support from financial sources such as the Global Fund), the case was made that millions more would be able to afford these life-saving drugs. Remember, over 22.5 million people in Africa are living with HIV and at least 15 to 20% of them are in desperate need of these ARVs. So, in the end, the business case was made and today millions more Africans have more affordable access to ARVs than ever before.

So what does all of this have to do with EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) and (PRODUCT) RED? For all of the progress made during the last 20 years, the need remains as significant today as ever. The numbers remain staggering:

As (PRODUCT) RED’s website states,

“(RED) is not a charity. It is simply a business model. You buy (RED) stuff. We get the money, buy the pills and distribute them. They take the pills, stay alive and take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities. If they don’t get the pills, they die. We don’t want them to die. We want to give them the pills. And we can. And you can. And it’s easy.”

So please, as (RED)’s manifesto encourages…go buy (RED) stuff and help make a difference. EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) was inspired to make an attempt to reach to the summit of Mount Everest to raise awareness of (PRODUCT) RED and to inspire others to do what they can to help end HIV/AIDS suffering in Africa. We are doing our small part to help. What will YOU be inspired to do?

-David Morton and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

We are very excited to be creating and sending this dispatch from Everest Base Camp!

Over the past 11 days, we have been slowly trekking from Lukla at 9000 feet to Everest Base Camp at about 17,600 feet to acclimatize our bodies to these higher altitudes. Having now reached base camp at the foot of the infamous Khumbu Ice Fall, we now officially transition our endeavor from a culture-rich trek to full-on mountain climbing expedition!

We’ve been offline for a few days, so let’s bring you up to date. On April 10th, we arrived in Lobuche at about 16,000 feet to spend two days at this altitude prior to our final push to base camp at 17,600 feet. The day before yesterday, we hiked up about 500 feet to the Italian Research Pyramid, a facility where Nepali and Italian researchers monitor regional weather stations and conduct a series of geological studies. Along the way, we encountered some amazing rock walls and boulders which lured David and Melissa (both accomplished rock climbers) to attempt some high altitude bouldering despite the cold and not having proper footwear. I now refer to them as Spiderman and Spiderwoman respectively! We returned back to the tea house in Lobuche and spent the afternoon taking showers (sort of), reading books and playing cards.

Yesterday we awoke to cold temperatures and a light snow cover – typical for this time of year at this altitude. Thankfully the sun was emerging over the ridge to warm our outlook as we excitedly anticipated our final trek segment to Everest Base Camp. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes, we began our walk up the valley toward Gorak Shep, the last point of civilization prior to base camp. We stopped for warm drinks and soup and then pushed on higher along the rocky ridge toward our final destination at base camp. As we got closer, we began to see the many colored dots at the edge of the Khumbu Ice Fall which we knew to be tents from the expedition teams already setup at base camp.

Upon arrival at base camp, we found a city of tents that had been put up for us by our sherpas, including three large tents for cooking and dining. Since we will spend a fair amount of time here in the next few weeks, everyone has their own personal base camp tent. We spent the afternoon moving into our tents and getting comfortable. During a very cold night, we heard many rock slides and avalanches in the mountain ranges that surround us, reminding us that we are precariously situated on an ever moving glacier. We awoke this morning to the sun hitting our tents at about eight o’clock and then head into the dining tent for breakfast. The mornings are quite chilly, but it gets warm enough for long sleeve shirts only as soon as the sun hits. After breakfast we went on a tour of base camp, walking through about twenty five other camps, similar to ours.

We spent the rest of the afternoon beginning to setup our communication tent focusing today on the setup of our Brunton solar panels and related gear. Over the next couple of days, we will complete the setup of our Dell and Windows Communication Center.

Now that we are comfortably moved into base camp, we will spend the next few days resting, acclimatizing and practicing the skills that we will need up high (ladder crossings, tying knots and travelling on ropes). We will describe these skills sessions in more detail in future dispatches. Prior to any climbing above base camp, we will participate in an important final blessing ceremony lead by our Sherpa called a Puja in which all of our Sherpa, client climbers and equipment will be blessed in preparation for a safe and enjoyable experience on Everest.

-Jeff Dossett and Melissa Arnot

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

Tashi Delek from the relatively thin air of Lobuche. As I write I’m sitting in the warmth of a tea house though we’ve now passed the threshold where wearing flip-flops around into the late afternoon won’t cut it. The early afternoon chill is quick and penetrating now that we are over 16,000 feet. It’s at these elevations over 15,000 feet where the high altitude starts to feel real.

Despite the fact that the air is still comprised of approximately 21% oxygen there is actually less oxygen available. There is less pressure here. This is what people refer to when they say “thin air”. Essentially there are less molecules buzzing around. That means less pressure, or “thinner air”, and because there are less total molecules it means there is less total oxygen even though it still comprises 21%. Interesting, huh?

It’s here that we start to be vigilant watching the way our body adapts to these new heights. Each of our bodies can adapt to this ever decreasing pressure and available oxygen as long as it is given the time to adjust. That is why we’ve designed a conservative schedule for arriving at base camp. By the time we arrive on April 12th we will have spent 11 days above 9,000 feet and will have spent two nights at the 14,000 ft. level and two nights at the 16,000 ft. level. Once we arrive at the 17,500 ft. base camp we will then spend another few nights before venturing higher. All of this is to give our bodies a chance to develop the responses needed to adjust. These responses include physiological adjustments like increased respirations and increased pulse rates in order to deliver larger amounts of oxygen to our deprived bodies. Eventually, as we become truly acclimatized to the altitude of base camp, these physiological responses will return to normal levels.

After a 45 minute walk up valley from Pheriche this morning we took the turn which brought us to the foot of the Khumbu Glacier’s terminal moraine. The rest of the day’s journey to Lobuche was walking the well trodden trail up the snout of the terminal moraine and then up the side of the glacier proper. As a glacier grows it “plows” into the earth and ends up leaving a large deposition of soil and rock in front and to the sides. It is similar to a snow plow that pushes snow forward and to the sides as it proceeds. That pile in front is called the terminal moraine and the deposits to the sides are called lateral moraines. So, in essence, the settlement of Lobuche sits on one of the terminal moraines of the Khumbu Glacier.

Today we also passed the site which commemorates the lives of some of the Sherpa and Westerners who have died on Chomolongma, or Mt. Everest. The name for the area is Chukbulhara and it is filled with chulungs and prayer flags. Chulungs are the square stone memorials which often have stones carved with the names of those who have passed. It is actually a pleasant, quiet and peaceful place.

The three of us are looking forward to a short acclimatization hike tomorrow but mostly looking forward to a relaxing afternoon without having to move from Lobuche.

EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) is motivated not only by the prospect of reaching the summit of Mount Everest, but also by the emergency in Africa resulting from HIV/AIDS. In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is quickly erasing decades of progress made in extending life expectancy. Average life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa has declined to 47 years. In the absence of AIDS, it is estimated that the life expectancy would have risen to 62 years. We can make a difference by purchasing (RED) branded products and services. The more (RED) products that we purchase, the more money will be generated to purchase life-saving anti-retroviral medicines for the millions living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. These brave and proud people need our help and they need it now!

-David Morton and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

Hello from Pheriche, at about 14,200 feet. We left Phortse two days ago, and also left behind the trees, as we are now above tree line. The only things growing at this altitude are highland grasses and juniper shrubs. We got an early start and travelled from Phortse to Pangboche where we received our most important blessing of all from a great teacher or the Khumbu, Lama Geshe. He performed a blessing that lasted for about an hour, wishing success, happiness and safe travels for all expedition members. Each climber received a special blessed thread, tied around their neck as a symbol of the blessing to keep them safe throughout the expedition. Each climber also received an envelope of blessed rice to be thrown out whenever danger is near.

After the ceremony was finished Lama Geshe did a very special blessing to the two quilted summit banners made for us by the Hillcrest AIDS Centre in South Africa, and wished that all the people in the world would be healthy and free from sickness.

Lame Geshe provided each of us with a special prayer which seemed very appropriate to the overall motivation of EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED):

Give up all intention to harm others from your heart

And do your best to benefit them all

If each and everyone feels the universal responsibility to do so,

We will all enjoy the feast of peace!

After our blessing, we continued through the highlands to Pheriche, passing resting Yaks and porters as we travelled. After a wonderful dinner and evening of rest, we awoke this morning to some of the most beautiful views of the Himalayas. We are literally cradled by all of the mountains, making us feel very small as our necks are constantly turned up to the peaks surrounding us. Today was a rest day, with a little acclimatization hike to a nearby town named Chukung, where we enjoyed an array of fried foods and cold Cokes.

We headed back to our tea house in Pheriche and enjoyed and afternoon discussion on altitude illness and other hazards of the Khumbu Valley by the Himalayan Rescue Association, which staffs a volunteer hospital here, and at Everest Base Camp. Considering all of the traveling around we have been doing, we are getting very excited to be getting closer to Everest Base Camp. Early tomorrow morning, we will depart for Lobuche at about 16,000 feet. To continue our gradual acclimatization, we will stay in Lobuche for two nights. Following our stay in Lobuche, we will make the final trek to Everest Base Camp at 17,600 feet and prepare for the climbing to start. We anticipate reaching base camp on or about April 12th.


-Melissa Arnot, David Morton and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

What a spectacular morning! At about 5 a.m. I began tossing and turning. By 5:30 a.m. I was out the door with my camera strolling through the village of Khumjung. Days start early here in the Khumbu valley. Porters with loads of straw were en route to hungry yaks and elderly Sherpani were walking with prayer wheels in hand. The stunning peak of Ama Dablam’s summit is at its proudest when viewed from Khumjung. Nearly the entire 11,000’ of relief from summit to river is visible from the window of last night’s teahouse.

As opposed to yesterday morning there were no clouds, only sun and the remnants of the last 24 hours of snow. Despite the white still blanketing the ground we were in t-shirts by 10 a.m. The Khumbu glistens in conditions like today. You need to pinch yourself to realize you’re not in a dream. 20,000 foot plus peaks rise in every cardinal direction and each local greets you with a Nepali ‘Namaste’ or a Tibetan ‘Tashi Delek’. There are so many high mountains that surround this valley that many of the lesser known get lost among the 8000 meter giants. Kangtega, Thamserku, Kwangde Ri, Lhotse, Shartse, Ama Dablam, and the Mingbo peaks were all out in spectacular fashion today.

The physical power and beauty of this valley are unparalleled but it’s not a perfect Shangri-La, though it does feel that way at times. Despite the relative wealth that has been created by mountain tourism most Nepalis in the area live day to day. A job on a three week trek, or even better an eight week expedition, is a great source of income for most locals. Infant mortality and easily avoidable deaths to dysentery are still common. Sir Edmund Hillary is a godfather here because of the great work he’s done in the field of health care and other areas of need through his Himalayan Trust. Each day during the trek we come upon another project that probably wouldn’t have come to pass without Sir Ed’s efforts.

As I write today I’m sitting in another comfortable tea house dining room with the sun shining in from the west. Soon it will pass behind Khumbila, the sacred peak of the three distinct valley systems: Thame valley, Gokyo valley and the Upper Khumbu valley. The massif of Khumbila sits at the head of these three and is thought to be the protector. The eastern flank that proudly sits in view just out the window has long been a tempting objective for climbers though it’s sacred status means it still has not seen human steps.

Tonight we are in the village of Phortse which sits just shy of 13,000’. We’ve diverted from the most straightforward route to Everest base camp by coming to Phortse. Because it lies off the beaten path it doesn’t get a lot of tourist dollars from food and lodging. In turn it has produced many of the best climbing Sherpa in the Himalaya because they have had to capitalize on the tourism in a different way. It’s a beautiful sleepy village and we’re thoroughly enjoying the afternoon here.

Tomorrow we will visit Lama Geshe of Pangboche who has performed a blessing ceremony for each of my Everest expeditions as well as blessings for many of my other expeditions in the area. It is always a special day for the expedition. I’m looking forward to another bit of time with a gracious man tomorrow.

At each stop along the way to Everest Base Camp, we endeavor to take a photo of EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) with one of our expedition banners. In addition to banners depicting our official sponsors (Dell and Microsoft Windows) and other supporting partners, we are especially proud to be carrying two very special banners made in Africa to celebrate our expedition and to inspire us to stay focused on our goal – to help people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Under the exceptional leadership and commitment of Patrick Robinson, executive vice president and lead clothing designer from the GAP, the wonderful volunteer staff at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa created two special flags for our expedition.

The first flag was designed and created by the Hillcrest AIDS Centre’s quilting group under the guidance of its quilting volunteer teacher, Colleen Roberts. The flag represents Africa and the GAP (RED) relationship with Africa, as well as an artistic view of the Everest profile and the silhouette of the climbers. The flag was crafted by Gladys Mzimela and Thobile Ndlovu who are bead workers and quilters at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre.

The second flag was designed and crafted by Paula Thompson, Nto Cebukhulu, Zonke Pungula, Nelly Zikale, Eugenia Chamane, Gladys Mzimela and Thobile Ndlovu. It represents the physical map and the history of the first equipment and pioneers who climbed Mount Everest in 1953. It also represents the plight of those living with HIV and AIDS and the positive difference that GAP (RED) has made in this community in South Africa. The Hillcrest AIDS Centre has had first-hand experience with how GAP (RED) made a positive and lasting contribution to the lives of the craft workers when GAP ordered AIDS ribbons that resulted in over 800 South African crafters earning a salary for three months for this initial order alone!

This second flag also incorporates a “Little Traveller”, a beaded doll made at the centre and sold under the trading name Woza Moya, Merchants of Marvels. Individuals around the globe are encouraged to purchase and bring these Little Travellers along on their travels and to submit photos depicting the Little Travellers in new and interesting places and situations. We will proudly carry these very special flags and several Little Travellers with us on our travels to Everest Base Camp and hopefully (if our health and weather permits), to the summit of Mount Everest!

To learn more about the Hillcrest AIDS Centre in South Africa, go to http://www.hillaids.org.za. To learn more about Little Travellers, please visit http://www.littletraveller.org.za.

Special thanks to Paula Thompson, Craft Co-ordinator, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust) and to Patrick Robinson and his support for GAP (RED).

-David Morton and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

This morning we awoke to the dull light of fresh snow, still falling. The small village of Thame was coated under a white blanket of snow, a very rare occurrence for this time of year. After breakfast we travelled a short distance to the family home of Lakpa Rita Sherpa, our head Sherpa or “Sirdar” as this important role is called in the Sherpa culture. Lakpa is a highly respected Sirdar and guide with an amazing 10 successful summits of Mount Everest. In recognition of his superb climbing and leadership skills, Lakpa is one of very few Sherpa to be employed as a full-time guide with a leading “western” guiding firm. We were welcomed into Lakpa’s family home by his parents and were kindly offered multiple cups of dudh chai, the traditional Sherpa tea made from black tea, sugar and milk. We received another expedition blessing and then began the snowy and foggy walk from Thame to Khumjung, which sits at about 12475 feet (3790 meters).

Along the way we stopped for lunch, and as plates of smoked salmon were served to us, the question came of how the food gets here. It is actually a very amazing process to insure that western climbers enjoy a diet that is filled with food similar to what they would eat back home, and that it is prepared in the safest way possible. In the weeks leading up to the expedition, Dave, Melissa and Lakpa shopped at almost every grocery store in Seattle to gather 1700 pounds of food ranging from the salmon we enjoyed today to tortillas, cheese, hot chocolate and Snickers bars (although they seem to have quite a lot of Snickers bars in the villages that we have visited in the Khumbu Valley).

Once the food was purchased, we spent a number of days packing the food into boxes, each weighing 70 pounds. On our flights from Seattle to Kathmandu, we were accompanied by 22 70lb boxes of locally sourced food. We are very fortunate to have a special cook staff of Sherpa and Sherpani (female Sherpa), headed up by our main cook Gopal – affectionately known as the “Best Cook in the Khumbu”. This cooking staff follows the expedition team to each tea house, and eventually to Everest Base Camp, to ensure our food is prepared safely and that our nutrition needs are well met in preparation for the physical challenges that we will face on Everest during our two month expedition.

We have been eating a wide variety of foods ranging from bacon and eggs, chicken and vegetables dumplings (which the Sherpa call momos) to Nepalese dal bhat, which is rice and lentils, often served with yak meat and curry vegetables. All in all, we are being very well fed and taken care of and we thank Gopal and his team who are important contributors to our overall expedition success.

As we write this dispatch, our teammate Dave is in Namche at his bi-annual dentist appointment, getting his teeth cleaned by a dentist that he claims is the very best!

This will be our last night near Namche before we continue on our way to Base Camp tomorrow, stopping in the town of Phortse, where many of our Sherpa come from.

The goal of EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) is to build awareness of (RED) and to inspire individuals to join the growing community of (RED) supporters at http://www.joinred.com and help change the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Since its launch in March 2006, (RED) has contributed over $100 million to the Global Fund. (RED) money is already at work in Africa in Swaziland, Rwanda, Ghana and most recently, Lesotho.

For example, in Swaziland during the past 12 months, (RED) money has:

As more people purchase (RED) branded products, more money will be generated for the Global Fund and the impact of RED’s innovative business model will reach more people living with HIV/AIDS in more countries in Africa. As consumers in the developed world, our individual purchase decisions can make a difference. Please “upgrade” your purchases to (RED) branded products (at no extra cost to you, the consumer) and together we can literally change the outcome of history for the better – one person at a time.

To learn more about (RED) money in action, go to http://www.joinred.com.

-Melissa Arnot and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

We awoke this morning to low clouds sitting in the valley that Namche Bazaar creates, but that didn’t stop the trading bazaar from happening, or keep us in one spot for long. After breakfast we received a ceremonial blessing from the owners of the Panorama lodge (Lhakpa Doma, Sherap Jangbu and Raju) where we have been staying for the past two nights. We received a Kata scarf to bless each climber and wish them success and safety.

We then set out on our way to explore the variety of offerings at the bazaar before heading to Thame. The trading bazaar is commerce at its most genuine, with vendors travelling hours to set up a market spot, only for one day, and then travel hours home. Our senses were tickled (if not completely overwhelmed) by the potpourri of choices as we passed one of the many vendors displays offering us spices, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, beer and of course, plastic Hawaiian flowers. After a quick stop for tea in a very small and traditional tea house we headed on our way.

The trail today offered scenery as diverse as the selection of goods at the bazaar. We travelled through a pine forest with melting snow dripping on our heads and into the small village of Thamo, where we again stopped for some tea, and then headed over Bhote Koshi river and into our destination of Thame. As we arrived, we were greeted by many young sherpa children including Lhakpa Tenzing, who gave us the warmest of welcomes (and continues to do so as we send this dispatch). Just in time for us to set up the communications systems, the snow began to fall, lending us the opportunity to make creative use of the umbrellas! The afternoon wrapped up as we received another blessing at the monastery (called a Gompa), along with a Puja ceremony performed by the monks at the monastery, to wish more safety and success to the climbers. A warm tea house and a full plate of chicken and vegetables for dinner and we are ready to rest for our travels to Khunde and Khumjung tomorrow.

Each day, we remind ourselves as to why we are here – to help make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Of the 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, Africa (which has just over 10% of the world’s population) is home to 68% (22.5 million). Women make up a disproportionate percentage (61%) of all adults living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa and, as a result, women and children are the greatest impacted by this disease. Therefore, every time that our collective efforts can enable an adult with HIV/AIDS to begin anti-retroviral treatment, the survival and well-being of children becomes much less precarious. Today, an estimated 11.4 million children in Africa have been orphaned as a direct result of HIV/AIDS and the number is growing unacceptably every day.

It costs just 40 cents a day to fund the two pills a day needed to keep someone with HIV in Africa alive and productive. Yet more than 70% of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa live on less than two dollars a day and therefore cannot afford this life-saving medicine. HIV/AIDS is a preventable, treatable disease in Africa if the means exist to buy, distribute and administer the medicine that is needed. (RED) engages business and consumer power to do just that; provide people with the chance to stay alive, take care of their families and contribute to their communities. Please “upgrade” your purchases (that you were going to make anyway) to (RED) branded products – to help fund the purchase of the two pills a day that enable people to live well with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Learn more about the many (RED) products available at http://www.joinred.com. On behalf of EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED), thank you for your consideration and support!

-Melissa Arnot and Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

The sights and sounds of Kathmandu can be overwhelming. Winding through the old narrow streets with rickshaws on your right and cows on your left. Around one corner you find a sadhu, or Hindu holy man, wanting to bless your forehead with flower petals and around the next an elderly Tibetan sits spinning a prayer wheel and counting his malla beads. Mix in young Nepalis trying to make a buck by hawking everything from bootlegged DVDs to Christina Aguilera t-shirts and you get a sense of the old and new that makes up the fascinating world of this charmed city.

Upon arriving we still had a list of final tasks. Namely, we still did not have a permit. Not exactly a small detail. Nepal requires official permission to climb Mt. Everest through the Ministry of Tourism a charges a hefty sum for it. The Chinese desire to clear Mt. Everest of any climbers during their attempt to bring the Olympic Torch to the summit had created a confusing situation as to if permits would be issued and if there would be revisions to the normal permissions. I spent the two weeks before leaving the States in online chats with Sherpa and Nepali friends trying to sort through the rumors and innuendo. After a few trips to the Ministry and a couple days of fretting we received the permission and now have an official permit in hand. The main crux of the duties in Kathmandu was finished.

We headed back out into the crowded streets to buy the last of our supplies. Electricity still hasn’t made it to Base Camp but the sun sure has. We use that vast source of power to run our camera batteries, laptops, and satellite modems. Because of the poor infrastructure development in Nepal they have had to be creative with solar power and because of that have great supplies. We purchased all of the lights, batteries, fuses, and wire that we would need in conjunction with the quality solar panels we brought from home. We made a run to the supermarket as well to get a few luxury items and a few bottles of wine. The Sherpa team had been working on our supplies for weeks and a MI-17 helicopter had already delivered most of those to the Khumbu Valley before we even arrived in Kathmandu.

So on Tuesday we were able to get out and enjoy the chaos of Kathmandu. We made a visit to Pashupatinath, the main Hindu temple of the city. It sits on the side of the Bagmati River which eventually flows into the Ganges as it winds south. Therefore cremations are done here in order to release the ashes into the holy water of the Bagmati. Pashupatinath is filled with the organic odors that permeate much of Kathmandu though here it seems more intense because of the environment. Holy men wander in and out of small shrines to Lord Shiva while monkeys banter back and forth on the roofs. All the while the tenders of the fires monitor the ghats which are the platforms for the cremations. It’s pretty much sensory overload as is much of the experience here.

The next stop was quite a contrast when we went to visit a few children that are part of the Sherpa Education Fund. It was all smiles and laughter in a quiet courtyard. Each of these kids has some unique home situation which inspired the Fund to provide for their education. Some have lost fathers working as climbers in the Himalaya and some have disabled parents unable to make a decent living. Their glowing toothy smiles were a great addition to the afternoon before heading home for the last evening before flying out to the Khumbu Valley.

-David Morton

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.

Every day more than 4400 people die in Sub-Saharan Africa needlessly from HIV/AIDS-related illnesses. AIDS remains the primary cause of death in Africa. By any measure, this is a crisis. It is unacceptable not only in terms of the magnitude of suffering and death, but also because we have everything we need and we know exactly what we need to do to help these people live well with HIV/AIDS. All we need is the will to act.

My name is Jeff Dossett and along with my good friends Melissa Arnot and David Morton, we are EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED). We are a team of experienced mountaineers that will make an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest during a nine week expedition that began on March 27th. Our goal is to build awareness of an innovative organization known as (RED) and to inspire individuals to join the growing community of (RED) supporters at http://www.joinred.com and help change the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. All it takes is two pills per day costing about $160 per year, and we can enable a person living with HIV/AIDS to live a long, productive life as a respected individual and valuable contributor to the community in which he or she lives.

In 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver launched (RED), an organization designed to engage the private sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa. (RED) is raising awareness and money for the Global Fund through the marketing and sale of (RED) branded products by (RED) partners such as Dell and Microsoft, Converse, American Express, Hallmark, Gap, Motorola, Apple, Armani, etc. A portion of the gross profits from each (RED) product sold goes directly to the Global Fund to invest in HIV/AIDS programs in Africa – primarily focused on the purchase of anti-retroviral medicine (ARVs) which enables people with HIV/AIDS to live long, productive and meaningful lives.

EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) represents what we, as three individuals were inspired to do to help make a difference. We believe that our goal to reach the summit of Mount Everest is a fitting analogy to the scope and complexity of the fight against AIDS in Africa. Success in both of these endeavors will take passion, dedication and perseverance against many obstacles. It will require unwavering hope and optimism in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. However, just as the highest mountain on earth is climbed one step at a time, we believe that the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa will be won through the combined efforts of millions of individuals inspired to take action.

On behalf of our EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED), I hope that you will follow along with our daily expedition dispatches as we pursue our goal of reaching the summit of Mount Everest. Most importantly, I hope that we will inspire you to take action in a manner that reflects your own personal passions to help the brave and proud people in Africa living with HIV/AIDS. To learn more about (RED), its business model and its leading global partners, please learn more at http://www.joinred.com.

We are very grateful to our official sponsors, Dell and Microsoft Windows, MSN and MSNBC.com, as well as a number of supporting partners including Converse, Motorola, Gap, SanDisk, Brunton, Infive Media, Remote Medical International and adventX.com.

-Jeff Dossett

Today’s EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) expedition dispatch is brought to you by Dell and Windows, proud partners of (PRODUCT) RED™.