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Abramov's climbers hop a chopper to greet Everest
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Apr 7, 2005 15: 36 EST
Abramov's team always knows how to stand out from the crowd. Last we heard from the gang they had two problems:

1. Unable to get a ride in the Maoists strike, Marko and Mlinar had to walk all night to get back to Kathmandu, their leisure trek in Laktang turning into a 140 km nightmare march!

2. The world's first expedition mahogany toilet was stuck in Kathmandu with the rest of the expedition gear.

To clear their thoughts from the latest events and get a head start on the mountain, Abramovs climbers decided to pay Everest an early visit yesterday - by a chopper. Here's the teams latest, just in from Alex in Kathmandu:

Driver afraid to have hands cut off

"The Russian expedition members visited Tiengboche by helicopter to acclimatize and say "Hello" to Everest yesterday. Because of the transport strike our team couldn't leave Kathmandu. The drivers are afraid to go: Last year a driver who went anyway got his both hands cut off.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Our expedition consists of 41 people (members and Sherpas). 15 tons of expedition loads. We need 2 big buses and 4-5 trucks. The day after tomorrow the members will be taking off to Kodari on a MI-8 MTV helicopter (for acclimatization).

They will be waiting for the trucks and Sherpas in Xigar (4200m). The trucks will go separately. I hope it will finish soon, but there are rumors the strike will last till April 12."

Alexander Abramov has made quite a name for himself here at ExplorersWeb. He was the one to drive a Land Rover to the top of Elbrus and crashed it coming down, he was the one who slaughtered his own BC food on Everest two years back, and finally the expedition leader of our team mate's climb to the summit of Mount Everest this past spring.

He fires and rehires Sherpas in a blink of an eye, he builds masterful toilet tents, and reads weather by them too. This year, Alex joined hands with Harry Kikstra of 7summits.com, forming the 7summits-club. Harry and extra guide Nickolai Cherni are leading Lynne Stark, Hanna Noel Richmond, Nate Schneider, and Lorenzo Gariano. Nikolay Cherni has 6, 8000ers and was a co-leader of the Russian Central North wall expedition last year. Lynne Stark will attempt to be the first woman from Northern Ireland to climb Everest. Alexander Abramov guides the rest with extra guide Ivan Dus. The entire expedition offers a full service outfit with 11 climbing Sherpas (all Everest summiters), and an expedition Doc. There are 18 expedition members in total.

Image of climbers in chopper, courtesy of the team.

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