It was a strange feeling to wake up at 6400 meters knowing that exactly 49 years earlier I was brought into this world on a small farm in Holland located exactly 12 meters below sea level.
At 6400 meters on Mount Everest advanced base camp you just don’t jump out of bed and face the new day. It’s more of a gasp and stagger, so on this morning I stagger over to the mess tent for the first of many coffee’s and am surprised by my team wearing beards and hats and shouting a hearty congratulations! All very surreal considering where we are! The mess tent had been prepared the night before, balloons, streamers and happy birthday decorations that had very thoughtfully been sent over by good friend and climbing partner @Jo Bradshaw hanging everywhere.
Not being used to this kind of wakeup call I am slightly stunned. But more is yet to come. A huge bag of presents is pushed my way. I pity the yak who carried it up here but am overwhelmed by the things that are given to me, bags and bags of sweets and Dutch liquorice, a shirt and a T-shirt signed by the team BUT the most astonishing of all a bottle of oxygen given to me by my great friend and climbing partner Stefano Borsi. What a cool present all decorated in flowers !
The day continued in the same vein! Presents cheer and more goodies! Sure, we tried to reach the north col and were stopped by uncertain snow conditions and the rope being fixed to only 6850 meters but thanks to the team of teams this day will be ingrained in my memory as one of the most enjoyable days I have yet spent on a mountain!
Team you are the greatest and fingers crossed I can repay your thoughtfulness and friendship by helping you reach the highest place on planet earth!