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Everest Traverse: Piers aborts traverse, switches to the North Side
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May 25, 2005 11: 12 EST
“What can I say.....its amazing sometimes how we forget being up here isn’t always about when, it is very much sometimes about if,” reported an upset Luis Benitez earlier today from BC.

”Piers has left to travel to the North side. He feels that his chances of simply reaching the summit, are increased a bit being over there, as there is no closing icefall issue, so he chose to go, and abandon his traverse attempt, as he just wants a decent shot at the top. I wish him the best and hope his strength and the weather bring him a bit of luck.”

Luis still considering trying

“About me…given that now my priority has shifted from Piers to the larger group, the traverse attempt hangs by a thin line. As a guide, my personal ambition needs to take a backseat to group goals. Hard to swallow as the traverse is what brought me here this year, but given that we are in if mode, if we get a summit shot, if the traverse attempt is possible, if the weather opens up a bit....etc.”

“So often in mountaineering, you have to be wise enough to walk away. Here, with so much money, time, and ego on the line, people are reluctant to do so. This is where you hope that common sense will prevail.

I’ll be dammed if I don’t give it my best shot

“I have been lucky enough to reach the top 4 years in a row. This mountain has taught me humility, patience, and how to approach things with an open heart. If I can’t get there this year, it will only reinforce those lessons for me. But I will be damned if I am not gonna safely go and give it my best shot.”

”So everyone back home keep your fingers crossed. Unless there is more traverse news to report, I will be reporting for the Adventure Consultants site as well. Right now we are deliberating going up tomorrow.”

Piers has been considering making the decision to move to the North Side since last weekend.

Luis is guiding for Adventure Consultants on Everest’s south side. His goal is an Everest south-to-north traverse, and he also pioneer's the new Contact 3.0 GEO positioning and altitude tracking technology on the climb.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1972; his mother Italian/American; his father, an immigrant from Ecuador, Luis has been a busy guide. He has summitted Everest 4 times, Aconcagua 10 times, and stood on other "Seven Summit" peaks 14 times. Since Everest last May, he's been to Elbrus (5642m) in the old USSR, Ama Dablam, Antarctica (Mt Vinson with Annabelle Bond), and Aconcagua. On each of his expeditions, Luis has been dispatching pics and reports over Contact 3.0. Currently single, Luis lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Image of expedition's altitude levels, live over Contact 3.0 GEO on May, 22nd, courtesy of Luis Benitez, AC Traverse team.

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