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Annapurna North in camp 2 - Summit Push Sunday?
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Apr 22, 2005 19: 27 EST
“Camp 2. Good Weather. Wish me luck for the next two days. Greetings for all.”

That was the message sent to Mario’s wife’s mobile phone this morning. The team of five Italian friends was back on the mountain again, plus Abele Blanc and Christian Kuntner.

The full moon wil light the way

Now we know what the message was all about - the guys might attempt a summit push Sunday! Idel (Gnaro's fiancée) just sent over the news:

"Gnaro and his 4 friends left BC at 6 am this morning, destination C2. They fetched 50 meters more rope on their way up, needed to reach 7.000 meters. They made it to C2 in only 4 hours, in spite of deep snow, and plan to spend the night there.

They'll continue to 7100 tomorrow morning if today's good weather remains. Their intention is to spend the night there, and the following morning - Sunday - they will try their first summit bid.The full moon will help to light their way."

Windy weekend

"If today's good weather remains"... ExWeb double checked the European weather reports, and also got a special second opinion from American WNI (the regular WNI forecasts will not begin until May 1st).

It looks that on Saturday, the Annapurna summit will have winds of 10-17 m/s, increasing to 15-20 m/s on Sunday. 50 mph winds are not ideal - the guys will have to be lucky.

Silvio climbs with his regular climbing mate, Mario Merelli, and also Mario Panzeri, Daniele Bernasconi, and, in his first Himalayan experience; Silvio's friend Christian Gobbi.

Year after year, climbers return to Annapurna despite its reputation as a difficult, dangerous mountain (a reputation earned in large part due to the high risk of avalanche.) Annapurna (8,091 m) is statistically the most dangerous peak of all the eight thousanders. The overall summit fatality rate is 40% (although not all climbers summit, of course).

Annapurna was the very first 8,000m peak ever summited. In 1950, French climbers Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal used only a rough map as a guide, and picked their way up an untried route to the summit. Their descent turned into a hellish nightmare, leaving them near death, with their extremities completely deadened by frostbite. Herzog and Lachenal survived their ordeal, but too many others have lost their lives over the years.

On Christmas Day 1997, Anatoli Boukreev was killed in an avalanche, an event that shocked the mountaineering community. In total, only 135 climbers have summited Annapurna - last year Ralf Dujmovits, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Denis Urubko summited the mountain from the North side.

Mondinelli was born in Gardone (Italy) in 1958. Since beginning climbing at 18 years old, he has done major climbs all over the world, including nine 8000ers: Manaslu, Cho Oyu, Everest, GI, GII, Dhaulagiri, Makalu, Kangchenjunga and K2, plus Shisha Pangma’s central summit.

Live image of Annapurna camp 2, courtesy of Silvio Mondinelli.

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