Sepu's notoriously fickle weather forces the team back to Base Camp. Rather than abating, storms - the bane of every Himalayan expedition - confine the team to Base Camp where they fight tent-bound lassitude and cabin fever. Excess down time leads to tension - and introspection. The team takes advantage of the break to visit a local hermit who lives year-round at 16,000 feet.
Base Camp lethargy and anxious energy drive Mark and Carina to venture up to Camp 1 in bad weather after five days of reading, eating, and sleeping. Every passing day brings winter closer. Everyone is eager to get back on the mountain as time ticks away.
"Today the weather is good, and we're resting. People need the rest, but it feels like we're wasting a valuable opportunity to be establishing Camp 2. Oh well, most of us have gotten laundry done and gotten a bath in. We're in a race against time on Sepu. We can't wait until the last minute on this peak."
- Mark Newcomb, 23 September 2002 2002
"Day four at Base Camp. Ants are starting to crawl in my pants, too much sitting around doing nothing. Even I am sick of reading."
- Carina Ostberg, 26 September 2002
"I remember being able to travel from one event or climb to the next. In the early 80's I was taking clients around for months and months at a time and then I'd come home and take a trip. There was a year I spent four weeks in the United States. This idea of having a mortgage, car, making insurance payments, house payments - there's a value to it in my life because when I'm humping a load up here like yesterday, I take great solace and satisfaction in knowing that I have a base to go back to.
Knowing simple things like that allow me to extend myself in situations like this - and relationships serve the same purpose - you know if I was 21 years old and living in a van I wouldn't want one. But now I think relationships allow you to extend yourself in other directions."
- Carlos Buhler, 26 September 2002
"Awake this morning after a heavy night of sleep to a couple inches of heavy wet snow… again. My mood is plummeting. Others' is not high. We've all been nurturing the hope we can somehow get up Sepu early. But the weather just gets worse and worse, we'll be lucky to get up it even by October 18. We've got to hang in there and give it our best shot."
- Mark Newcomb, 26 September 2002