billi bierling female mountaineer and journalist from Germany

Billi is half way

I can’t tell you how strange / tense it is sitting at basecamp living this summit bid through tiny bits of radio communication.

Base camp is pretty deserted as most of the climbers are on the mountain.

Billi set off with the ‘strong’ group of climbers this morning, well last night, at 11:30pm. The weather was reportedly cold, clear and slightly windy.

Climbers from this group summitted one by one this morning with the first arriving at 6:05am. The was little news of Billi as she was the slower of the fast group (and they must be fast). Billi reached the South Summit at somewhere between 8 and 8.15 where oxygen cyclinders are exchanged and climbers get an extra boost.

Still no Billi on the radio.

At around 9.25 Billi had made the Hillary step and had to pause a while because of ‘traffic’. At 9.36, while I was looking through books for a picture of Everest to know where the South Summit and H step were, there was news that Billi had made the summit.

Still no Billi on the radio.

At 9.43 I sent a brief and general love and congratulations to her from all at basecamp and all of you readers, knowing that if she was too tired to talk, she could hear. At 9.44 Russel Brice came ont he radio saying that “You might want to wait ’til she gets there, she’s still got 10 or 20 ft to go.” Picture that in your mind!

And then, around 9.45, Billi summitted.

“Thank you so much for your help. I never thought I’d be here. It was bloody hard work.”

If you can imagine the English queen giving a short speech on the radio, that’s how it sounded.

So, the top is only half way of course. But the weather is stable, the sherpas and guides have been incredibly strong this morning, Russel’s management is very strong too (he can see what people are doing via the 4 discovery head-cams, one of which is pointed on Billi from her climbing sherpa partner’s helmet). So half way (2 hours ago now), in expert hands and things are looking good. All being well she will return to camp 4 today.

I’ll return now to basecamp and follow progress and bring back another update sometime this evening or afternoon. In about 5 or 6 hours at least.

In the meantime, you may want to view these sites as they (maybe) updated by satillite phone from basecamp. Both are Billi’s teammates.
http://alpenglowexpeditions.com/blog/
http://www.vmeverest09.com/

Til later..

Rich

26 Responses

  1. Simone said on May 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Hey Billi,
    ich habe es immer mitverfolgt. Du hast es geschafft!!! Du warst auf dem höchsten Berg der Welt! Herzlichen Glückwunsch von Simone 🙂

    Reply
  2. Trynke Voolstra said on May 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Dear Billy,

    Your dentist was right……you are a realy strong woman!! Congratulations!!

    Reply
  3. Mahesh said on May 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Billi When you told me you are at Everest expedition I saw sparkle and some kind of hunger in your eyes. Your determination and hard work make you conqueror. congratulation by heart. HIP HIP HURRY

    Reply
  4. rosanna didi said on May 23, 2009 at 1:21 am

    absolutely happy for you, billi!!!!
    i miss you so much!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Kate said on May 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Awesome! I got a tear in my eye and am drinking a glass of red in your honour! I am so impressed and awed by your achievements. You rock!

    Reply
  6. Tim said on May 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Billi! Amazing news…well done. Get down safely, have a great celebration and find time to rest. Sorry, I know the latter is a ridiculous idea! Wish I could be there to open the champagne with you. Huge hug, Tim

    Reply
  7. caroline said on May 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS !! now that its done, celebration time is to come. All my prayers are still following you for a safe journey back to us. Lots of love and many hugs.

    Reply
  8. Chris Censullo said on May 21, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Congradulations!

    Reply
  9. chrissie wellington said on May 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Billi. i am full of admiration for all you have achieved…..the fellow didi chrissie

    Reply
  10. wanda said on May 21, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    FANTASTIC Billi! Lots of hard work and preparation paid off. When you get back home you can put your feet up for a while eh!
    hugs wanda didi

    Reply
  11. TINA said on May 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Einfach spitze……tolle Leistung…..jetzt komm heil wieder runter und genieße Deinen Erfolg!!!!

    Reply
  12. Mark Sharrock said on May 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Congratulations – what a wonderful achievement. What an inspiration.

    Reply
  13. Steffi said on May 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Es wird ewig dauern, bis Du wirklich realisiert hast, was Du da geschafft hast! Herzlichen Glückwunsch Billi! Super! YAY, now be safe coming down!

    Reply
  14. Bine und Leah said on May 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    GRATULATION !!! Du verrücktes Huhn hast es geschafft. Wir wussten es. Wir sind glücklich, wenn Du wieder gut runter kommst und zu Hause bist. Der Flug ist gebucht. BIG HUG
    Bine und Leah

    Reply
  15. Steve Powell said on May 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Congratulations Billi I’m really pleased for you.

    Reply
  16. judy said on May 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    for gods sake woman you made it!the compound is so proud of you. We will be celebrating hard tonight. come back soon so you can join in! make sure you undulate your hair for the press attention. ha ha

    Reply
  17. mama said on May 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Bärbele wir sind ja alle sooo happy, dass du irres weib es geschafft hast, wir haben gebetet und daumen gedrückt, uns aufgeregt und jetzt hast du es geschafft!habe schon alle Leute benachrichtigt morgen ist was in der Gapa-Zeitung. Wir umarmen dich und freuen un s wenn du wieder bei uns bist. aber vor allen dingen erhole dich erst mal!!!! und nicht schon wieder rennen!!! ganz dicke Bussis von Mama und Tante christiane und edi

    Reply
  18. Nonna said on May 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Amazing stuff!!!!! Well done Billi, I knew you would make it!! And thanks to Judy for calling me all the way to Europe for the update. LOTS OF LOVE, see you real soon, don’t leave before I get there!! Big hug from Nonna & Mickey!

    Reply
  19. Jamie said on May 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Congratulations! We are all looking forward to the party in Kathmandu!

    Reply
  20. sam said on May 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I am so proud of you, my superwoman soul mate. Was looking at Everest from the plane to KTM this morning and it was the only mountain top to be seen above the clouds, beautiful against the blue sky, so i sent you my prayers for energy and strength. You were in my mind the whole time, my dear, i am so happy to hear you are well and you made it. Now come back down safely and we will have a 8848 m big celebration!!!!! Thank you Rich and Alex for the update and enjoy the upcoming party!

    Bigggggg hug for you, my dearest!

    Me

    Reply
  21. claudia said on May 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Mensch Billi, super, wir sind sooo gluecklich fuer Dich. Wir mussten gleich weinen… Claudi zumindest mit ihren Schwangerschaftshormonen. Safe trip down! Bis ganz bald, Kuss und Umarmung, Claudi und Clive

    Reply
  22. Ed Douglas said on May 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Fantastic. Good effort Billi. Safe trip home.

    Reply
  23. reiner Taglinger said on May 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Billi, wir gratulieren Dir zum Gipfel. Super gut!!! Reiner und Astrid

    Reply
  24. Baba said on May 21, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Yupeee, and now down as quick as possible to celebrate! Rich and Al, thanks for the updates and give Billi a BIG hug when she reaches BC, x baba

    Reply
  25. karin k said on May 21, 2009 at 11:59 am

    So happy to hear that Billi safely has reached the summit and hoping she will be kushy in her tent soon. Looking forward to hearing more soon.

    Reply
  26. Dave Bottoms said on May 21, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Stunning.. Never doubted you for a moment … So happy for you Dave & Sue

    Reply

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