Thursday, May 08, 2008

A further snippet from the Everest diary - this one was 3 days ago. I gather they finally made the summit today so I expect the BBC's hardy staff will be making swift arrangements to go somewhere a bit warmer.

Everest Olympic torch diary
After the Olympic torch's tour around the world, and ahead of its arrival in Beijing for the Games in August, the BBC's Jonah Fisher joins it for the high point of its trip - up Mount Everest.

In the seventh of his diary instalments, he hears news via a roundabout route, on the final ascent.

We're just a short distance from Mount Everest but the latest news on the ascent came from 5,000km (3,000 miles) away in Beijing.
China's state broadcaster CCTV sent an email to the BBC bureau informing them that from 0600 local time on Thursday (2200 GMT Wednesday) it would be broadcasting a six-hour special called Sacred Flame to Scale Mt Qomolangma (Everest).

Wednesday's briefing at Everest media centre had, of course, not thought to touch on such a trivial matter.

We were instead forced to listen to a man from an electricity company tell us how the media centre gets its power (solar and generators), followed by a telecoms man tell us about the internet service we use (too expensive, a local journalist complained).

There was then some information about the climbers' route, but nothing about when the climb would take place.

It was about 10 hours after the email first arrived at the BBC that a late-night press conference was called at the media centre. By that time the yak manure stoves had been burning for a while and we were addressed through a powerful-smelling haze.

Mr Shao Shiwei, the spokesman from the Beijing Organising Committee, announced with great gusto that the attempt on the summit would start early the next day. There were no gasps of surprise.

The families of most of the journalists had already seen adverts for the special programme on CCTV and had called to let them know.

Twelve climbers will make up the final group. If all goes according to plan, they will carry the specially designed lanterns to the summit before lighting a torch.

It is that image of the Olympic torch on top of the world which the Chinese are hoping people will remember.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/05/07 17:44:53 GMT


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