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Everest South - Second avalanche - at the bottom of the Lhotse Wall
image story

May 9, 2005 13: 34 EST
The bottom of the Lhotse wall, above Camp 2 on Everest's South Side is another avalanche-prone spot. The Singaporean expedition got a taste of it Friday:

"Robert Goh narrowly escaped with his life this morning when an avalanche crashed down on him at 6,800m.

He and Edwin Siew were climbing from Camp 2 during their final acclimatization cycle before their summit bid. They were aiming to spend the night at Camp 3 before acclimatising up to Camp 4 on the South Col the next morning. But that was not to be.

At about 9am this morning (May 6), Robert reached the bottom of the Lhotse Face, which was covered by snow after four days of heavy snowfall. He had put on his crampons and was about to ascend the Face.

"I heard a rumble and when I looked up at the Face, I saw a curtain of snow and ice falling right on me," he said. "I immediately crouched down and tucked my head in. Luckily, I had my helmet on because I felt several knocks on the helmets, which were probably chunks of ice.

"In a minute or two, I was half buried up to my chest. I knew that if I did nothing, I'd be buried alive. So I jumped up and ran downhill with the flow of the avalanche, which was one of the ways of avoiding being buried.

"I ran for about 20m which was really tough because I was wearing crampons and we were at high altitude. I didn't dare look behind until the rumble died down. Only then did I stop running and took a peek behind. I saw a big pile of snow which filled up a huge crevasse, and the Sherpas running away from the avalanche."

Read the full dispatch on team's website (links section).

Fall 2004, Singaporean mountaineers Robert Goh and Lim Kim Boon summitted Cho Oyu without oxygen. Next they plan for an Everest no O2 attempt. To date, there has not been a Singaporean Everest summiter. The team set for this Spring will include Edwin Siew, who summited Everest with oxygen six years ago. Although a permanent resident of Singapore, Edwin was then a Malaysian citizen. He has since taken up Singapore citizenship and is returning for a no O2 attempt - Southeast Asia's first if successful.

The same expedition also contains a second team of 5 climbers from NUS (National University of Singapore). The team members are EE Khong Lean (expedition leader), Lindley Zerbe (a California native), Quah Wei Siong, Stefen Chow E-Fung and Teo Yen Kai.

Image: Moment after the avalanche, Robert (standing in front) and the sherpas dash downhill. The arrows show the direction of the avalanche, courtesy of the expedition.

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