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Annapurna North - SUMMIT PUSH only one hour away!
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May 9, 2005 16: 01 EST
Annapurna North is gearing up for a wild push tonight. The Italians and Viesturs' team are all huddled up at C3 (7,100 meters) in high winds. Satellite maps show that a jet wind is sitting right above the mountain, but the winds should begin to decrease Wednesday.

A Tuesday push might be a bit early, but forecasts can be a day off - with some luck, the climbers could have a chance, or be in position for a Wednesday/Thursday push when the wind speeds should fall further.

The good news is that the mountain should be fairly dry at high altitude, the cloud line is currently somewhere around the 7000 meter mark.

All climbers are well acclimatized by now

There is no news on Ed's dispatch site except for a voice dispatch from May 6 when the team was still waiting in a cloudy BC for a change in weather.

The Italian climbers reported that all 7 climbers, including the Americans, are now in high camp, hoping for a push tonight. All climbers are well acclimatized by now, Viesturs' gang from the recent Cho Oyu climb and the Italians from fixing rope and camps on Anna.

3 a.m. local time is 5.20 p.m. EST - the push is only 1 hour away!

A special moment for Ed

This is a special moment for Ed: When he scales the 26,545 foot mountain, Ed will become the first American to join the small number of climbers who have stood atop the summits of all 14 8,000 meter peaks in the world, and he has climbed them without oxygen.

In a recent interview with ExplorersWeb, Ed said, "I have mixed feelings. Primarily I am very excited to be going to Annapurna for the final 8000 meter peak. It has taken me 16 years to get to this point and it will be so rewarding to finish. At the same time, this has also been a huge part of my life for these last 16 years and when it's done, there will be something missing."

"But, I can't yet assume that it will be done this spring. Annapurna is a tricky peak to climb and we need to be very careful. I will approach this climb as I have all of my other climbs-very thoughtfully and carefully. It has to be safe and feel right. I feel no extra pressure on this last climb to succeed and I will not change how I have been doing things for the sake of getting to the top of Annapurna. If it looks good when we get there, we will make our attempt. If it looks bad or feels wrong, we'll head home. I am doing this for myself and for no one else."

Ed Viesturs 45, lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington with Wife Paula, son Gilbert (7), and daughters Ella (4), and Anabel (5 months). He has summited 13 of the 14 8000ers, all without oxygen. He has six ascents of Everest, 3 times without supplementary oxygen, and Cho Oyu twice.

Last year, Ed summited Everest for the sixth time together with Veikka Gustafsson, David Breashears, Robert Schauer, Jimmy Chin, Amy Bullard and seven climbing Sherpas. Ed was co-expedition leader (with David Breashears) of an Everest film project for Working Title Films and Universal Pictures.

This year, Ed and Veikka share the route and climbing permit on Annapurna with Iñaki Ochoa, Nives Meroi, Romano Benet, Luca Vuerich, and German Peter Guggemos who will attempt Annapurna’s North Side after Dhaulagiri.

Ed and Veikka drove back from Cho Oyu (Tibet) to Kathmandu, and then got a helicopter there to fly out to Annapurna BC in Nepal. The climbers did the Annapurna trek in 2000 - this year they needed to maintain their Cho Oyu acclimatization and for that reason, they flew to Anna BC, instead of walking there.

Image 1 courtesy of edviesturs.com. Image 2 of Jetwind by AdwentureWeather.com

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