National Geographic : 1979 May
Sounding cymbals of success by beating empty kerosene cans, porters greet the ex pedition at Base Camp. Wickwire in a blue parka at the far right is steadied on his feet. Despite frostbitten toes and a damaged lung, he will have to walk out 40 miles to meet an evacuation helicopter. The expedition attained two objectives. First, the successful ascent. Second, and more important to leader Whittaker: They all came down alive. And at last the morning came, a first faint gathering of light, then full sun on the peak above me. My ordeal nearly over, I slid out of the bag and got unsteadily to my feet. At that moment, I believe, I approached the point of greatest danger. I became confused and disoriented, aware that I had to get down the mountain, yet unable to make the necessary moves. Part of my mind said, "Look, there's ice down there between you and the camp; get your crampons on." Another part said, "It doesn't matter, let's just sit here."