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Everest and Himalaya daily wrap-up: "Reminded of our own mortality"
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May 5, 2005 15: 20 EST
In the latest avalanche news, the BC clinic reports a total of 6 wounded climbers. Their injuries range from mild bruising, to broken limbs, to a possible spinal injury. Some patients are waiting for a helicopter evacuation to Kathmandu, but poor weather conditions have grounded chopper flights.

Willi Prittie, senior guide for Alpine Ascents, put the avalanche into a poetic perspective: “After such an incident as yesterday, is when life feels the most precious, the most ‘alive’ if you will, and so it is. The scenery is never better, the air is never fresher, the mountains never clearer, our friends and family never dearer, and the beer never more refreshing than when we are reminded by a close call of our own mortality.”

Across the Pacific

Just a heads-up that Denali season is underway. Annabelle Bond is with Adventure Consultants guide Mark Sedon, just shy of Camp 2. It’s Annabelle’s last peak in her quest for the seven summits.

Everest Weather – High winds in the forecast

There’s still abundant clouds and moisture swirling around the Everest region, causing continual showers below 7500m (24,606 ft). The main story, though, is the arrival of the jet stream and high winds this weekend. For now, winds are under 10 m/s (22 mph), but they will jump to hurricane force by early next week. At the summit level, winds will be 15-25 m/s (34-56 mph) starting Saturday, increasing up to 35-40 m/s (78-89 mph) by the beginning of next week.

Everest Traverse – Decision time in Camp 2

Luis Benitez was glad to hear that the climbers injured in the avalanche were stable, but now his attention shifts to his own team’s dilemma. He reports that snow has been falling non-stop at Camp 2. According to Luis, “We are now debating whether to stay up here (Camp 2) or to go down, as we need to wait to let the new snow consolidate, and there are also reports of high winds on the way. This is Everest: She demands patience, respect, and most of all, a little love.”

Everest South – After the avalanche

Alpine Ascents – On the scene

“I personally cannot explain why any of the six climbers at Camp I survived the avalanche. An area the size of a small town was impacted on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier just under 20,000 feet.” It was the rescue effort that impressed team member Wiili Prittie the most: “It was a heart-warming experience to work with the ad-libbed international team of climbers, guides and Sherpas who made this rescue happen, and happen so quickly. This is the climbing community coming together at its best.”

Singapore NUS – fixed rope agreement

Lulin Reutens reports, “Not only do we need a good-weather window, the fixed ropes up to the summit need to be established. An agreement has been struck among some key expeditions' agents -- including ours, International Mountain Guides -- to pool Sherpa power and ropes to do this. The process is expected to take several days, depending on the weather.”

Leipzigers w/o O2 – Olaf questions C1 site

“When I saw the destroyed camp yesterday,” team member Olaf reports, “I expected 20-30 people there. But there were only eight and most of them had only lighter injuries. The avalanche from the west shoulder of Mt. Everest caused no serious injuries, but the traditional site for Camp 1 has to re-evaluated for future expeditions.”

Mallorca expedition – Our hero Willie

"Our team mate Tolo Quetglas lost some essential gear in the Avalanche that struck C1 yesterday. Luckily, Willie Benegas has helped him and taken care of purchasing a new pair of boots that will be brought all the way from KTM in a few days. That way Tolo will be able to attempt the summit. The rest of the team is currently between C2 and C3, in their last acclimatization trip before the definitive summit bid.”

Adventure Consultants – Surveying the damage

Mike for the AC team reported: “Three of the six Adventure Consultants tents at C1 were destroyed and three were partially damaged. This is the first time that an avalanche of these proportions has been recorded at C1.”

Valencia expedition – Awakened by choppers

"Today we woke up to the sound of helicopters. We couldn't see them; they could have been flying higher up. We thought they would land and pick the injured by the avalanche, but after a while they were gone. It has been snowing all day long. We will remain in BC until the weather improves."

Carlos Pauner w/o O2

“It’s been snowing slightly during the last few days,” Carlos reports, “but we had almost no wind, which is most unusual in the Himalaya. We expect the snow to stop for a while, so we swill try to get to C2, sleep there and the next day proceed to C3. As I am planning a no O2 ascent, I will try to set off that night and reach 8000m. That way I will acclimatize enough and, the next time, I'll be ready to climb all the way to the summit.”

Everest North

Jean Pavillard and Monica – Back from Camp 2, into the snowstorm

“Back at Base Camp, tired but happy,” the team reports. “After reaching camp 2, we came down to ABC and BC where we were met with heavy snowfall.”

Catalans – sticking it out in ABC

The Catalans have been to camp 2 and left there a depot with supplies and gear enough to set a tent in Camp 3. Afterwards they've gone back to ABC.

"Now we are resting for a few days before our definitive summit bid. Many teams are going down to Chinese Base Camp, but we feel ok, so we are staying here, in ABC. "

7 Summits Club – Vertical limit party

What do you do to break the tension on Everest? Get drunk! The 7 Summits team hosted a get-to-know-you party, complete with red wine, vodka, and sauerkraut. See separate Exweb article for the details.

Norther Irish – Lynn and Noel aim for 7500m

On the 4th, Lynn and Noel planned to climb to the North Col (7060 m), their highest position yet. Today they were hoping to reach 7500m.

Annapurna North - Italians tired of waiting

The team, led by Silvio Mondinelli, has been waiting patiently for the weather to improve, but they could wait no longer. They fought through a blizzard up to Camp 2 yesterday. See separate Exweb article for details.

Everest Traverse’s dispatches | Alpine Ascents Cybercasts | Leipzig expedition´s news | Singapore NUS Centennial expedition´s reports | Esplugues al Everest (Catalan) | Gavin Bate’s – Adventure Alternative | Valencia expedition’s website (Spanish) | Carlos Pauner’s website (Spanish) | Mallorca Expedition’s news (multilingual) | Silvio ‘Gnaro’ Mondinelli (Italian)

1. Live image over Contact 3.0 of transporting injured Sherpa, courtesy of Alpine Ascents.

2. Image of flags and sun halo courtesy of www.expeadiccion.com (Univ. of Valencia).

3. Live image over Contact 3.0 of C1 destroyed, courtesy of Alpine Ascents.

4. Live image over Contact 3.0 of Luis forcing a smile, courtesy of Everest Traverse team and Adventure Consultants.

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