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Annapurna - Its over: High winds end summit bid
09:17 a.m. EDT Oct 23, 2003
The Annapurna 2003 expedition is finished, “There’s nothing else to do, very strong winds at high altitude… the renunciation is painful but imperative, the cold aggravated by the strong wind has exponentially increased the risk of serious frostbite.”

Yesterday, Max, Marco and Christian made it to Camp 3, as Sherpas set out to fix ropes above the “iron.” The Sherpa team battled violent gusts for several hours then radioed down that it was impossible to climb further in the intense wind conditions. They left the load of rope at the top of the section, then returned down the mountain.

Last night, the summit team endured an agonizing stay at Camp 3 amid gale force winds that ripped up their tents and nearly blew them off of their perch on the edge of a crevasse. The unceasing winds and freezing temperatures prevented the climbers from leaving the tent before sunrise and showed no signs of letting up. The team decided to return to Base Camp where they uncorked the champagne to celebrate a victory of challenge and friendship.

“This evening, once again reunited in the big tents of base camp, we’ll still open the bottle of champagne that Alex’s parents brought up to us. It was supposed to celebrate the climb to the peak, but as this is now precluded, we’ll celebrate what has brought our group close together in an extraordinary way, and this adventure that we have shared.”

Italian climbers Abele Blanc and Christian Kuntner are out to scale the world's fourteen 8000m peaks. To date, Abele has succeeded in climbing 13, and Christian, 12. Annapurna will complete the quest for Abele.

Image courtesy of blancabele.com.

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