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Everest North - DCXP: Julian summits, climber in trouble!
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May 31, 2005 11: 44 EST
Back in ABC, Duncan Chessell has just sent back his summit push report. A Contact 3.0 GEO user, he has also provided the first summit picture of the season! Duncan was forced to turn back but his climbing partner, Julian Thompson, proceeded to the summit along with the team’s two Sherpas.

Duncan has reports on a missing climber, who was searched for at the time of publishing (9 am EST). A second climber - Ian, from Karrimor/KE team - was helped down by his team-mates.

A second group with Duncan’s DCXP team, led by Jamie McGuinness, is currently on their way up. This is Duncan's report:

“On the 27th May we left ABC bound for the summit and initially spent the nights of the 27 & 28 May at the North Col, 7050m our Camp One. The idea was we would have an entire day to rest, hydrate and get all our down warm weather clothing totally sorted out.”

Summit push straight from Camp 2

“On the 29th May we left the comfort and relative safety of the North Col camp and made a 6hr push to our final camp at 7850m our camp two. From here we would attempt to summit Everest and return to as low on the mountain as possible. The weather forecasts had all been swearing that there was no monsoonal influence until at least the 6th of June, but what we witnessed over the previous two nights was afternoon monsoonal build up, which on the 27th culminated in an enormous thunderstorm, lighting that lite up the sky."

"The good thing was that the monsoonal influence, if indeed that’s what is was, means that you often have very clear still late nights and early mornings, the winds and clouds will often arrive to wreak havoc from 11am onwards. The predicated wind direction was also from the SW which meant people on the summit ridge would be partly protected until the summit itself. The worrying thing was the winds were predicted to be 30-55 knots, which is a very scary wind chill factor.”

Julian progressing faster

“As the day drew to and end the winds subsided and we readied our selves for the big push, 7900m – summit 8850m – return to ABC 6400m. After many hours of brewing and getting well hydrated we left the camp at 9:30pm Nepali time. I was not feeling 100% but Julian was going great guns. I waved him off and he marched into the top camp at 8200m were our Sherpas were staying and our summit oxygen supply was waiting. Julian made short work of the section 7850m – 8200m in about three and half hours, I took an extra hour – which for me was not so good.

Problems with Oxygen systems

Julian stopped for a hot drink and some water, he also switched from the “Summit Oxygen” system to a generally more reliable Poisk system. His Summit Oxygen system was just not delivering enough juice. When he compared the two systems using a pulse oximeter he found that he had to use the Summit Oxygen at double the Poisk flow rate to maintain an even Oxygen saturation level in his blood.”

“It was at this camp that I had more serious issues with my oxygen system. The Poisk system I was using had worked really well at similar altitudes and temperatures. This time however the oxygen line joining the oxygen tank and mask, filled with water and froze. I was not sure if the oxygen itself contained the water or the condensation from within the mask caused the problem. The effect was just out of camp, I could not breathe and I had to take the system apart to re-warm the hoses to allow the oxygen to once again flow.”

”I could hardy move”

“By the time I had done this I:
A/ had cold fingers and toes,
B/ had wasted 1.5 hours,
C/ realized that my slight chest infection had blown out and I was wheezing like I had asthma (which I have never had) and without oxygen I could hardly move .

“All these factors combined, it meant I should go down. I was mindful that often in these situations people don’t listen to their bodies and push too hard, resulting in death. It was a hard decision after so much time and effort, but I am sure it was the right decision for me and in retrospect back at ABC now I know I would have been in serious trouble if I had elected to continue the ascent.”

Summit at 6.40am in great weather!

”Julian and the two Sherpas just cruised up and summited at 6:40am Nepali time, only 5:10hrs from 8200m camp to summit, they then returned so quickly they only used just under one of their two oxygen bottles!!!”

“Julian’s summit panorama video and stills shots are amazing and show just how good their weather was – little to no wind – zero clouds – a fairytale come true.”

Climber in trouble

“Sadly this was not the case for one of the climbers who summited about 10am. He ran out of oxygen between the 1st and 2nd Step. His Sherpa tried to assist him, but when he broke a crampon everything slowed down even more and he was unable to move. His Sherpa then returned to high camp, arriving very late (7-8pm??). So at this stage the team is trying to work out how to get back up to the summit ridge to find their missing team mate. Let’s hope it works out for them.”

Lazarus’ resurrection

“Lazarus: The other drama of the day was Ian (a.k.a. Lazarus) from the Karrimor/KE team who summited 07:10am with Stuart Holmes and Tim. Ian collapsed between the first and second Step and had to revived with a syringe full of Dexamethozone and a high flow rate of oxygen. The remarkable end to this story is he made it back to ABC by 7pm!! Well done to the Karrimor team for pulling it together and saving your team mate, a successful summit and good bunch of people.”

Jamie and the second group at 7700

As for our summit team of Solu Khumbu Sherpas: Da-Gelje (Dawa) Sherpa, 38 and Da-Wongchu Sherpa, 26; both first ascent from the North side for them but Dawa had already summited from the Nepal side, they were both very pleased to have summited on such a good day. They descended with Julian back to 7700m and met the second wave led by Jamie McGuinness. Wongchu stayed with them to assist the second push while Duncan Chessell, Julian Thompson and Dawa descended to ABC late afternoon for a overdue rest.”

“We are now happily set up in ABC watching Jamie’s second wave on their summit push. Stay tuned for our summit video panorama, to be released soon.”

Live summit picture over Contact 3.0 of Julian and Dawa on the summit (May 30th, 6:40 am), courtesy of Duncan Chessell/DCXP.
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