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Annapurna South: A hungry crew in Camp 1 and evacuation from BC
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Apr 21, 2005 16: 52 EST
This just in:

21st of April – dispatch 1

"Hi, this is mBank Lotto Annapurna South Face Expedition reporting from Camp I. Yesterday we reached the place where the Sherpas had put the tent and we placed a second one there.

Unfortunately it the Sherpas brought only the tent here - the food they deposited in an entirely different place, below camp, so we are a little hungry!

They will bring the supplies up today though. The weather is beautiful, we can see the route which we hope to climb up, so we are very excited...

We have a little trouble with our cook’s assistant. He became ill and it’s possible that he will have to be evacuated from BC by helicopter. I am a little anxious about him...Good bye... till the next call...Piotr Pustelnik"

21st of April – dispatch 2

"Good morning, this is Piotr Pustelnik once again. I have a latest news: A helicopter landed in BC and took our cook's assistant to the hospital. He will be fine and everything will be OK.

Our Sherpas are very close to us now, they will bring the food and some of our equipment. From Camp I - Piotr Pustelnik – mBank Lotto Annapurna South Face Expedition."

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 the climb to Camp 1, courtesy of the expedition members.

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