The National Federation of the Blind-Allegra 2001 Everest Expedition, with blind climber Erik Weihenmayer as a member of the climbing team, reached base camp at 17,600 feet above sea level on April 6, 2001. During April and early May the team, their Sherpas, and the support crew remaining at base camp have been organizing equipment and preparing for the team's attempt to reach the summit. The team and the Sherpas have carried necessary gear to the camps further up the mountain, and the film crew have worked on their gear and have done what filming they could. Pictured above is a bit of the Khumbu icefall near base camp. It is filled with crevasses, seracs, and large and small blocks of ice that shift unpredictably. The team must climb and reclimb through this ice field, scaling ice faces and crossing crevasses on ladders, to reach the upper mountain. When everything is ready in early May, the team will rest for a few days at a lower altitude to gather strength for the final attempt. Then, perhaps with the full moon on May 7, the ascent of the upper reaches will begin. In large part the timing of the final stretch of the climb will depend on the weather. But the mountain and nature willing, the team will attempt to summit Mt. Everest during the second week of May. The mountain is 29,035 feet tall, and the region above 25,000 feet is known as the death zone
because one must use bottled oxygen in order to survive. Follow the expedition on <www.2001everest.com>. This site had a quarter million hits between March 1 and the middle of April. From the details of everyday life to climbing the tallest mountain in the world, the National Federation of the Blind is changing what it means to be blind. Mt. Everest in moonlight is pictured to the left.