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ExWeb Everest Debrief: The First Norwegian Lady
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Jun 28, 2004 13: 20 EST
The first Norwegian lady on Everest, Randi Skaug (44) summited from the north side on May 20th at around 11am. The weather was poor on the summit. "It didn't matter. I was not there to check the view. My dream was to conquer the summit. I made it, and it still makes me extremely happy ", says Randi one month afterwards.

Thanks to the sirdar Tshering Pande Bhote and Sherpa Yamchang Bhote, Randi made a successful ascent and descent during days of great tragedy on the north side. Six deaths were reported. -"I experienced how important well qualified Sherpas are those few critical summiting hours, and mine were the best. Tshering is one of 11 Nepalese mountain guides (NMIA) and Yamchang is under education. Those guys are the heroes of the mountain - in some cases their presence means the difference between life and death."

Randi and the two Sherpas spent the night at 8300 meter before they went for the top the next morning. The two other expedition members, Truls Evensen (37) from Norway and Paul Firth (36) from South Africa did not make the summit. On the 20th Wilco Van Rooijen, George Dijmarescu and Lhakpa Sherpa also reached the summit.

Before Randi made it, only 10 Norwegians had succeeded in reaching the summit of Everest and they were all men. Randi, 44, was part of the Norwegian American North Everest Expedition; a team of four climbers and two Sherpas. Other than Randi, Truls, Paul and the Sherpas, there was Peter Rzasa (52) the base camp manager. The NANEE plan was to plant the Norwegian flag on the top of Everest on the Norwegian national day on the 17th May.

Beginning on the 18th, when Randi was making her way to 8300 meters a series of tragic events unfolded on the North side. First, 2 Koreans were reported missing; Paek Jun-Ho went out looking for his teammates. On the 20th, the day Randi summited, Japanese female climber Shoko Ota (63) died after summiting, 300-350 m below summit. She fell while attached to the ropes and went unconscious. Then Bulgarian Hristo Hristov summits and later goes missing. That evening Park Moo-Taek was found dead and the next day, May 21st, the other two Koreans were found dead, Chang Min and Paek Jun-Ho.

Another Norwegian lady on Everest this year was Cecilie Skog who, climbing with the Himalayan Experience team also from the North, summited on May 23rd. In 1996 the Norwegian, Liv Arnesen, also the first woman to reach the South Pole solo and unsupported, made an attempt on Everest, but was stopped short of the peak. Randi has climbed McKinley and Kilimanjaro among others. She was turned back on Elbrus. Cecilie, 29, has climbed Blanc, Aconcagua, Denali, Elbrus, Kili, and Cho Oyu, among others.

Image of Randi Skaug on the summit of Everest with inset of Tshering Pande Bhote and Yamchang Bhote on the summit courtesy of the team.
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