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Everest South update: South Summit before sun rise?
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Jun 1, 2005 15: 36 EST
This just in from Exploradus:

Summit dispatch #3
02 June 2005 - 0:20 am

"The team just checked in from just below the balcony. They are making very good time - in fact if they keep up this pace they may reach the South Summit before sun rise. It will be cold on the summit in the dark. At the moment it is like controlling a team of wild horses - they are all head strong and headed for the summit!!! More later.

And from Alpine Ascents:

"June 2 Summit 12:30am

Hello in cyberland. Well, itís the middle of the night here and no news is good news. When the team called in at 11:55 they were starting up the Triangular Face at about 26,500 feet. Since then we havenít heard from them, but this is absolutely normal. If they are talking on the radio they arenít climbing. Also they risk frostbite every time they take their mittens off to talk. The last we heard the conditions were still good, although with a little bit of a breeze. It usually takes about seven hours to get to the Balcony from the South Col. So as far as we know all is well on the mountain until we hear otherwise.

Here at base camp Kumar, Gopal, Gylzen, and myself are huddled around a failing propane heater and getting more heat from a kerosene lantern sitting on the floor. It almost feels like sitting around a campfire. At Camp 2 Willi is in his sleeping bag next to the radio.

Weíll let you know when we hear any thing else."

South Col to South Summit: Finally, the hour is come. At about 11 PM we put on the final gear and step out in the night. There, in the distance, we can see a worm of light slowly moving up a dark wall. Itīs climbers head torches flickering in the dark. Itís completely silent. Nobody talks. If you do, you whisper. It is absolutely terrifying and you climb and climb, awaiting fthe first ray of dawn. Itís desperately cold. It's steep and at parts very icy. The ice axe and the crampons cut skin deep into the ice. You need to pee. Forget it. Someone turns around. "Canīt go on, good luck".

A cold, white moon rises from below, but you hardly glance at it or even the bright twinkle of Universe above. The adrenaline keeps your body moving. And then, suddenly, after hours and hours of despair, you notice a thin blue beam of light at the horizon. Sunrise! If you are lucky, now is the time for the fabled mountain ghost. The mountain projects itself onto the morning fog. The shadow towers in front of you like a giant mirage. Beneath lies the world in all its glory, glowing in the rising sun. You feel the warmth and all hope returning.

You kick your feet to beat the oncoming frostbite. You are at the Balcony, having a short rest, changing to a new oxygen bottle. A ridge lay ahead, and just above you, not far at all, is the South Summit.

(Text adapted from "the route" in the Everest survival kit on this website).

Dig image "Climber and headlamp before dawn, Himalaya" copyright Nomads'Land.

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