Everest North: SUMMIT PUSH is on!|
May 16, 2005 10: 19 EST
The Catalan (Spanish) team “Esplugues al Everest” launched a summit bid last weekend. While most teams decided to rest at lower altitudes before their summit pushes, the Catalans chose to remain in ABC. As a result, they jumped on a chance to climb higher as soon as the wind seemed to drop. However, the true weather window has yet to open.
Despite the winds being stronger than expected, Xavi Arias, Merce Vidal and Agusti Torrents moved up to CI on Saturday, May 14th. Oriol and Albert will wait for them in ABC.
Wind made things harder but not impossible
The climbers reached the North Col in less than 5 hours, with plenty of time to rest and force themselves to eat something solid. The wind slowed their progress, but otherwise the climb went smoothly.
The night was very cold (-25ºC) but the climbers managed to grab some much-needed rest. Yesterday, they resumed the climb, pushing up to C2 under sunny skies. Except for some strong gusts, the wind was calmer than the previous day, and the team reached C2 (7600m) around 3 pm, local time.
The team pitched their tents in C2 with the help of the Sherpas, and managed to get inside right when the wind picked up.
The team was hoping to make it up to Camp 3 today, in order to take a shot at the summit early tomorrow. Meanwhile, they crossed their fingers for the wind to drop during the night, so they could get some rest.
Esplugues al Everest Catalan team is climbing through the classic North side route, after acclimatizing on island Peak. They will be using O2 “if necessary”
Team members have previous experience in the Alps, Andes, Canada, and African mountains, as well as other 8000ers in the Himalayas. Team leader Xavier Arias has previously summited Shisha Pangma (2002) and Dhaulagiri (2004) and has attempted Annapurna (2000) and Cho Oyu (1998). Merce Vidal has attempted Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma. Albert Carbonell has climbed Cho Oyu.
Oriol Franco will join the team for his first Himalayan experience and will be in charge of Base Camp management, communication, and will collect images throughout the expedition.
A last minute member, Agusti Torrents, has also joined the team, representing his home town of Sant Boi (near Barcelona). Together, Agustí and Xavier attempted Dhaulagiri last year as members of an Argentinean team.
The expedition wants to pay tribute to the Catalan climbers who ascended the same route 20 years ago. Back then, Oscar Cadiach, Carles Vallés, and Toni Sors accomplished the second Spanish and first Catalan climb on Everest… in full monsoon season! They summited on August 28, 1985.
Image of the summit team members as they departed from ABC, courtesy of the expedition team / Esplugues al Everest.