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Everest and Himalaya daily wrap-up: Second fatality stuns climbers
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May 2, 2005 13: 18 EST
Another fatality has struck the Everest community. American climber Mike O’Brien fell to his death in a crevasse, as he and his brother Chris were on their way to Base Camp through the ice fall. This is the second fatality on Everest in three days, and the second fatal accident for Summit Climb this season.

Late March this year, the outfitter lost two climbers while acclimatizing on neighboring Pumori, when two climbers died while descending from the summit. The Pumori climbers slipped down from 100 meters and fell in a crevasse. Several expeditions are now voicing concerns over unsafe climbing practices – including climbers not clipping in on the safety lines in the Everest ice fall.

The snow has been falling on both north and south teams. For most teams, it’s time to hole-up and conserve energy.

Everest Weather

It doesn’t look like there will be much of a break in the snow over the next few days. Widespread precipitation will continue, with only brief periods of better weather. Winds at the peak are hovering around the 10-15 m/s (22-34 mph) range, but expect those to jump up to 20-30 m/s (45-67 mph) on Friday evening, when the jet stream moves in.

Everest traverse

“Five a.m., always hard to get started, made even harder as today we had to pass a body in the middle of the icefall,” Luis reports. “The scene humbled us all, and made more than a few of us wonder, what the hell we are doing up here anyway. It pains me to see some of the loosely joined teams, all looking for bargain basement prices, not taking care of each other as was evident here.”

“Sometimes the cheapest way is not the safest way, as quite a few of these so called ‘independent clients’, could use some coaching and old fashioned guiding. It was a good reminder to all of us to use the fixed lines always (a company rule anyway), as it seems the victim was descending unroped given the slide path in the snow.”

Everest Hornbein Couloir

The Czech team plans to work the lower part of the mountain over the next few days.

Everest South

Many teams reported on Mike O’Brien’s death, and voiced concern over certain climbing practices on Everest.

Adventure Consultants

Mike, from the AC team, shares his sympathy for Mike O’Brien’s (fallen climber) friends and family, as well as advice for other climbers:

“Half way up the Khumbu Icefall we encountered the body of an American Climber who had fallen while descending the previous afternoon. It was clear that this climber was not clipped into the fixed ropes at the time of his fall; thus, a slip which should have been quickly arrested resulted in a fatal fall over a 10m drop. I am constantly amazed at how many Sherpas and western climbers alike choose not to use the safety ropes. Crazy! Immediately after passing the body we encountered some climbers running down without being clipped in. What is up with that! The body was due to be recovered back to BC today. Our condolences and sympathies are extended to family and friends.”

Leipzigers w/o O2

The team had a scary moment yesterday, Olaf reports: “Jana got stuck in Camp 1 and we have no radio contact with her yet. But the camp is a good shelter and there is no reason for concern. Moreover, she is not alone there. Kami Shingi has spent the night there as well, and he is a very experienced Sherpa.”

The next day, Jana and Kami Shingi made it back to BC.

“Jana’s descent was not due to the bad weather. She had to inject herself with Dexamethasone in order to suppress a developing brain edema. An immediate descent was not possible due to the ugly weather. It was not until Sunday afternoon when a descent appeared possible for them. Due to Jana’s AMS, the descent was slow. Lakpa and I ascended towards them in order to assist and bring tea for them but Jana managed the way herself.”

Exploradus (extreme chef)

The team has made it up to Camp 3, where they describe trying to breathe like “sucking air through a cocktail straw.” On May 2nd, Jim Williams reported, “It has been pretty windy up there so the Sherpa crews have been limited in their ability to fix lines up to the South Col. They will try again tomorrow. When our climbers return tomorrow, they will wait and rest for possibly quite a long time until we are sure that the weather is perfect for their summit bid.”

Climbing for a Cure (Apa Sherpa’s 15th Everest summit)

“As for news on the mountain,” the climbing team reports, “while we were on our venture to Camp 3, a Sherpa was stricken with exhaustion and altitude related ailments and was quickly evacuated by a team of around 14 other Sherpas from high on the mountain all the way to Base Camp, a testament to their strength and commitment to those who dare to be on Everest.”

Everest North

The North Side teams were especially bogged down by snow and wind over the weekend. With their acclimatization processes mostly over, now they play the waiting game.

Indian Air Force

Wing Commander Rahul Monga reports: “The team is doing well. They reached Camp 1 some days back and are now down again at Advanced Base Camp, to rest and recuperate. They have stocked up Camp 1 by undertaking load ferries. Now they are waiting for the weather window, during which they will make the final push. One guy has come back as he had a mild attack of HAPE. He is fine, and is in Delhi.”

Martin Minarik

After having summited Cho Oyu last month, Martin checks in from Everest ABC. “I hope to climb it fast and get the hell out of here. There are one million other places which are more pleasant and less crowded. The summit days are not here yet, but I have close to two liters of brandy so I will just wait.”

Seven Summits – Alexander Abramov

On April 29th, Abramov reported from ABC:

“Today was a heavy day. All day an ice wind blew. Sherpas were on the Saddle and were going to make one more trip to 7700m, but they decided to return to Base Camp. Yesterday, Ivan Dusharin, Yuri Taidakov, Igor Pokhvalin, and Dyma Tsokur came. Today they have left upwards to spend the night on the Saddle. It’s been bad weather, but I have advised them to go upward because tomorrow’s weather will be even worse. Nikolay Cherny is now near АВС; we should exchange places with him tomorrow.”

“For the next three days bad weather is promised: strong wind, snow. So, probably, gradually everyone will go down to Base Camp.”

Everest North Face Cataract Project

Climber, linguist, and now film crew member, Dawa Sherpa, gives his first dispatch, fresh from the eye camp. Check it out in a separate ExWeb article, published on April 30th.


Inaki Ochoa and friends

Spanish climber Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, German Pete Guggemos, and Austrian Christian Stangl have launched a summit bid on Dhaulagiri today. Check out the separate ExWeb story, published earlier today.

Shisha Pangma


After receiving a call from Gerfried Goschl, Northland’s home team reported: “On May 1st, the whole group climbed up to Camp I, and on May 10 all members of the group except Helga Schubert continued up to Camp II in 7080m. Now they will "refuel" for tomorrow, and drink lots of liquids before they start the final climb to the summit tomorrow morning at 2:00 a.m.!”

Annapurna North

Mario Merelli

According to Mario, "We are still waiting. The Mountain is completely wrapped in clouds.” See separate ExWeb story published today for details on the expedition.

Adventure Consultants

Everest Traverse’s dispatches

Singapore Mountaineers w/o O2

Singapore NUS Centennial expedition´s reports

Alpine Ascents Cybercasts

Jim Williams’ Exploradus dispatches

Dirk Stephan and Keith Woodhouse’s reports

Jean Pavilliard and Monica Kalodzi’s dispatches

Nigel Clark’s dispatches

Duncan Chessell/DCXP

International Mountain Guides dispatches

Mountain Madness dispatches

Climbing for a Cure’s dispatches

Esplugues al Everest (Catalan)

Jagged Globe dispatches

7 Summits/Harry Kikstra’s dispatches

Ed Viesturs' dispatches

Shaunna Burke and Ben Webster’s dispatches

Czech Expedition - Hornbein Couloir (English on the right side of page)

Gavin Bate’s – Adventure Alternative

Norway for Everest’s dispatches

Iranian expedition’s news

Valencia expedition’s website (Spanish)

Canadian Kanatek expedition’s website

Gerfried Göschl's dispatches (German/English)

Martin Minarik’s dispatches

Sigrid Hammer’s website (Norwegian/English)

Everest Vitesse 2005 (Italian)

Ralf, Gerlinde and Hirotaka’s dispatches (German)

Inaki Ochoa to Shisha Pangma (Spanish)

Ivan Vallejo (Spanish)

Leipzig expedition´s news (German)

Silvio ‘Gnaro’ Mondinelli (Italian)

Mario Merelli (Italian)

Carlos Pauner’s website (Spanish)

Waldemar Niclevicz’s dispatches (Portuguese)

Mallorca Expedition’s news (multilingual)

O’Brien brothers/HDF expedition’s website

Japanese Team Honda’s website (Japanese)

Gabriel Filippi’s reports through Peak Freak

1. Image over Contact 3.0 of Monica crossing crevasse courtesy of Jean Pavillard and Monica Kalozdi.

2. Live image over Contact 3.0 of “the icefall shuffle” courtesy of the Everest Traverse team.

3. Image of an exhausted climber, Jana, courtesy of www.leipzig-online.de.

4. Image of snowed-in camp courtesy of www.leipzig-online.de.

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