After deciding that I would leave today things happened very quickly. Zack got on the satellite phoned and started to arrange things with Iswari our rep back in Kathmandu, while Gyanu contacted the CTMA (Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Authority) to arrange a jeep and an escort to take me to the Tibetan border where I could cross back over into Nepal. The Tibetan border shuts at 6:00pm and doesn’t open for any reason, so time was of the essence. The last thing I wanted was to spend a night in Nylam, when I could be in hospital starting treatment and recovery.
While Zack and Gyanu were busy with that, I set about packing a bag. I still hadn’t given up hope on returning to base camp and rejoining the team on our summit push, so I chose to leave the majority of my equipment in my tent. Heather who had very kindly been looking after me the whole time I was Ill both at ABC and BC helped me pack my bag. Very soon Gyanu and Zack came over to say they had managed to arrange a jeep to leave in half an hour.
By now the majority of the team were up and in the mess tent having breakfast. Things had happen so quickly that I hadn’t had time to tell any of them I had to leave and say goodbye, so I went over to break the news to them. Telling them I was leaving and saying farewell really brought home the fact that I was going to hospital and that I might not be able to return and climb with them. Until then I had just assumed everything would be ok as soon as I returned to Kathmandu and got checked out, and I hadn’t really considered that my pain might be a symptom of something more serious which would prevent me from returning. However the team were very supportive and attempted to keep me positive, saying they were sure I’d be back to stand on the summit with them.
As I was saying bye to everyone, the jeep and my escort arrived to take me down to the border. I was very anxious to make the border crossing before it shut so I quickly finished saying goodbye and got in the jeep. As we were driving down the track I remember looking back at Everest and hoping that I would be back very soon, as I knew that it would be unlikely I would return for a third year in a row, if my pain was serious enough to keep me from climbing this year.