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Annapurna South: Back to work after the storm
image story

Apr 11, 2005 12: 21 EST
The storm which hit Annapurna during the weekend is receding and the south side team is getting ready to go back to work. This is Piotr Pustelnik’s latest report:

“Good morning, this is mBank Lotto Annapurna South Face Expedition. Welcome from the Base Camp. The weather has improved since yesterday. We have made a general cleaning in the BC today and we have prepared ourselves to go up again tomorrow."

Finding the way through the glacier

"One of our Sherpa teams will find a new way through the glacier – the old trail is lost due to the glacier’s movement. At the same time, the second team will get ready to go to ABC. Our plan is to set Camp I, and immediately afterwards we will start fixing ropes on the route to Camp 2. Everybody feels good.”

Piotr now has 12 of the 14, 8000ers completed. Only Anna and Broad Peak remains. 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, and Makalu in 2002.

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 tragically 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 climbers on the glacier above Annapurna ABC last year, courtesy of Piotr.
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