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Everest high camps updates - climbers stuck in bad conditions
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Jun 1, 2005 00: 24 EST
ExWeb just received 3 updates from the mountain. The news are not great:

Alpine Ascents - Everest South Col, 8000 m

June 1 Update from the South Col
From the Alpine Ascents Office:

"Dave just called in from High Camp at the South Col. The team arrived last night (evening of 5/31) into cold and windy conditions. They had a night of rest and are in position to go for the summit if the winds calm. Their plan is to attempt to leave camp on the evening of June 1st/Morning of June 2nd if the weather cooperates."

"All Team members, (Dannielle, Esther, Tony, Lakpa, Jose Luis and Dave) are doing well and send their love to all that are watching. Dave mentioned that he may try to send a cybercast in the evening, For safety purposes, The team has been limiting their exposure to the elements and keeping their digits warm.

Everybody at Alpine Ascents wishes the team all the best and hopes for calm weather and a safe journey."

7 summits club - Everest north side, camp 3, 8300 m

From the home team:

"At last some news from our team. Not the news from the summit we were hoping for (yet). It also looks like the summit option is gone for another two expedition members. Harry: 'We are still in camp 3. There was too much storm last night to go up. Alex and Nate will go down today. Lorenzo, John, Dmitri and I will stay at 8300m and try again tonight.'

"Weather is looking better for a June 2 summit. But another day at 8300m will not be easy. Harry's sherpa is sick at the moment, so that could be a problem."

Singapore expedition no O2 attempt, Everest South Col, 8000 meters

From the teams base camp:

"Hi there, sadly, last night at 8pm, when the guys were preparing to make their summit bid, the winds were whipping at 60 - 70knots. They decided to cancel their summit bid and wait a day at Camp 4."

"This morning, Robert was feeling weak from having spent 2 nights at Camp 2 and two nights at South Col. He decided to abanadon his summit bid and descend. Fortunately, Edwin is feeling good and strong. He will remain at Camp 4. Tonight, if the winds are milder, he would make a summit bid."

This is a very difficult situation for the climbers. Prolonged exposure to this kind of altitude (8000+ meters) is extremely hard. The body deteriorates by every hour. The longer they stay, the weaker they get, and the harder the push will be on them. On the other hand, getting out in hard wind is not a good option. The third option - to go down - means the end of the expedition as the late date won't allow for another attempt. The guys are pretty much at the mercy of the mountain weather.

Camp 4 South Col sits on a plateau resembling a moonscape. You are at the edge of the atmosphere and the sky owns a strange, dark blue color. Only a small climb above camp, you look down the Tibetan plateau with it's vast brown plains, white glaciers and the other alpine giants - Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu - in the distance. It's all magic and unreal.

Yet, this is also the place were the media, fame and fun of BC definitely are gone. Only fear remains on everyone's face. People don’t talk a lot. Resting in your tent, feeling weak already, you try to get some sleep as night falls outside. In a couple of hours you will start to put on your gear for the final part of the adventure - the summit push.

The wall towards the summit is steep and dark, you are in the death zone and you can´t help thinking that within the next 48 hours, there is a very real risk that you might not live.

Go over your gear in daylight. Have everything neatly organized. Drink at least 3 liters of fluid or more if you can. Bring another 2 liters of hot fluid on the climb. Get your axe ready, prepare the Hot Tronics. You will feel great as long as the day is bright but lose spirit fast when night falls. The cold, scary darkness outside is anything but inviting. The wind rustle the tent canvas. You will probably not be able to sleep. Take it easy. As soon as you start out on the climb you will feel much better. Fear is always worse than reality.

(From the Everest Survival Guide on this website - "The route")

Image of the South Col, ExplorersWeb files.

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