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Annapurna South - "Two days ago we almost made a terrible mistake"
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Apr 26, 2005 10: 28 EST
This morning, Piotr's home team sent over the latest from Annapurna South. Much like the climbers on the north side, bad weather has sent the south side mountaineers back to BC. In the fog that clouded the mountain, the guys almost came down a vertical serac...

Back to BC

"Good Morning this is mBank Lotto Annapurna Expedition. I couldn't sleep long, so I got up earlier. There is a beautiful sun in BC, but yesterday we descended to BC in terrible weather. We decided to come back down from camp 1 - a good decision as the weather will be bad in the next few days.

The weather right now is not too bad, but it's too foggy to work the face. It's easy to lose your way, you don't know which way to go; left, right or some other side. Two days back we almost made a terrible mistake: We almost chose the wrong couloir. Had we gone down that route it would have ended in some vertical seracs. Today we have a rest day, we are going to make plans for the next days. We will head back up after the next two days. From Annapurna BC - Piotr Pustelnik"

Piotr now has 12 of the 14, 8000ers completed. Only Anna and Broad Peak remain on his quest to summit the world's tallest mountains. He has climbed Gasherbrum II twice (1990 and 1997), Nanga Parbat in 1992, Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma Main in 1993, Dhaulagiri in 1994, Everest in 1995, K2 from the North in 1996, Gasherbrum I in 1997, Lhotse in 2000, Kangchenjunga in 2001, Makalu in 2002 and Manaslu in 2003.

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.

Image of a climber approaching ABC, courtesy of the expedition members.



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