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Everest and Himalaya daily wrap-up: High altitude O2 failures
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May 25, 2005 11: 07 EST
The main news is the Summit Oxygen system; it's prevalence on Everest is somewhat surprising considering the systems poor performance in the past 2 years.

Check the latest report from climbers this morning, below - apparently the failure rate is 80%.

A second scandal involves the Iridium sat phones. A bug causes the error message "Invalid battery" to flash, and then the phone dies. All new models of the phone are being recalled. Check separate story.

The South Side Everest expeditions are starting to gather momentum as more teams begin pushing to Camp 2, hoping for a late May summit date.

The North Side has gained another climber. Piers (previously part of the traverse team) has switched over to the North Side, where he feels there is a better chance of reaching the summit. Though the weather is bad now, the North Side teams also have their sights set on another wave of summits at the end of May/beginning of June. There’s been no further news on the alarming rumors that a second climber passed away on the North Side.

On the lighter side of Everest, it’s been confirmed: The mystery chopper landed on the summit of Everest! EUROCOPTER X-test pilot Didier Delsalle landed at 8850 m on May 14th. That’s the first helicopter to land on the summit of Everest, and it breaks the world record for high altitude chopper landing and take off. See yesterday’s story for details.

Everest Weather

Conditions are still very windy and cold on Everest. The jet has brought 25-30 m/s (56-67 mph) winds to the summit. On a positive note, the snow should be limited to occasional, isolated showers. The monsoon continues to rumble around the Arabian Sea, but should not affect the Everest area this week.

Everest Oxygen

Here's the latest report from climbers, this morning: "It seems as though there is about a 80% failure rate on Summit Oxygen, there is widespread talk of all the people getting together to sue."
"There is now a mad scramble for those remaining to buy out any and all Poisk systems on the hill, try to get it up in time and get the summit stuff down. What a pain for them all. We have now replaced all the summit oxygen with Poisk, at considerable additional expense..."

"People have come up with all sorts of fixes, dripping water over the leaks – o-rings and various other attempts it then freezes and holds the leaks once the pressure has bled off to 50%...oh what a joy! More problems the colder the units seem to be..."

Everest Traverse

Piers has given up on the traverse, and has headed over to the North Side in hopes of making a summit attempt there. Luis reports, “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.” Luis remains committed to the traverse attempt, if conditions are safe enough. See separate story for full details.

Everest North

7 Summits – Moving on

“Having gone through the shock connected with the death of Marko Lihteneker, the 7 Summits Club continues their ascent. Now in АВС there are 15 Members of the expedition and 13 Sherpas. They are preparing to start the climb as soon as it seems reasonable. The weather at the present moment is quite bad. After the 29th we expect a decrease in wind. During a general meeting, the decision was made to start on May 27-28. We hope on May, 30-31 to reach the top. The majority of expeditions which are now in АВС have similar plans.”

The team reports that most of the climbers have tickets for Kathmandu on June 4-6, so they’ll be cutting it close.

DCXP – Two possible windows

“There are two windows of opportunity appearing on the radar. The first on May 30th is predicted to have 20 Knots of wind and -23? C, which is in the upper level for safety, but is firming up as a reality. The second window is more like June 1-3, still some way off, so not 100% yet, but lower winds are predicted in the range of 5-15 knots (much more friendly to the fingers and toes).

Jarle Tra w/o O2 – June is too late

Jarle has not been feeling well and has spent time at lower elevation to recover. A few days ago, he came back up to ABC. He might go higher Friday; "I want the best conditions possible; I will only get one chance, as my visa and climbing permit are running out". Jarle says that good weather is expected early June - but that will be too late for him. He still hopes for a break in weather in late May.

Jagged Globe North – Fiennes and Sibusiso

“Our team is still in ABC awaiting the forecasted trend for lower winds, which may provide a window from 29/30/31 May.”

Everest South

Mallorca – Goodbye to Everest

In a press release today, the Mallorcan team reports that they have decided to put to rest their dream of an Everest summit this year. They cite poor weather conditions as the reason. They are sorry to abort the expedition, but the team is already planning their future return to Everest.

Jim Williams – Beginning push tomorrow

“We are finally beginning to get weather reports that look favorable for summit attempts. Most of the teams will be heading to Camp 2 in the next day or two if they are not already there. We plan to begin our push on the 26th May and possibly summit between the 29th and 31 May 2005. We are hoping that this weather window is a good one and we can ALL get to the summit. One very prominent Sherpa (Appa Sherpa) said the other day that maybe it was time for Everest to take a rest from the south side.”

Singapore Mountaineers w/o O2 – Summit bid starts

“After weeks of waiting at Base Camp, Robert and Edwin will be leaving tomorrow morning for Camp 2 to begin their summit bid. Although the weather is less than ideal, time is running out and the guys decided to take advantage of the predicted slightly lower winds at the end of the month. They aim to summit on Sunday, May 29.” One of the climbers has decided to continue on with oxygen. The Singapore NUS team is also moving up to Camp 2, hoping for a late May summit date."

Adventure Consultants | Everest Traverse’s dispatches | Singapore Mountaineers w/o O2 | Jim Williams’ Exploradus dispatches | Jagged Globe dispatches | 7 Summits/Harry Kikstra’s dispatches | Mallorca Expedition’s news (multilingual) | DCXP | Jarle Tra

1. Live image over Contact 3.0 of the view from Camp 2 courtesy of Jim Williams and Team Exploradus.

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

3. Live image over Contact 3.0 of Paul on walkie courtesy of Adventure Consultants.

4. Image of the front of the mystery chopper courtesy of ExplorersWeb in Nepal.

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