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ExWeb Everest debrief: Annabelle Bond
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Jun 9, 2004 16: 02 EST
At around 12:15pm local time on May 15th Annabelle Bond became one of the first to reach the summit this season. She also joined the very exclusive group of less than 100 female summiteers compared to the over 2,000 total summits.

British femme fatale Bond, Annabelle Bond, had just finished filming a pilot episode for an adventure TV series she wants to make when her mother gave her the news; Banco de Chile had arranged for her to climb Everest.

It was almost 70 years ago and a generation away that Annabelle’s Grandmother Christine was trekking in the high altitudes of Nepal, one of the first western women to do so. “…my grandmother climbing in Nepal with Hugh Ruttledge in 1930 (she was a nurse)” said Annabelle. “She is 96 years old and still alive and so excited that I reached the summit!” For Annabelle climbing is in her blood and it has been her dream to do the seven summits. Her first was Aconcagua, Everest was her second.




Here is her post expedition report, always in capital letters:

“I GREW MORE AND MORE NERVOUS ABOUT THE WIND AND IM AFRAID I WAS A LITTLE LATE IN GETTING READY. FINALLY I WAS IN MY CRAMPONS AND HEADED UP A VERY ICY CREVASSE RIDDEN SLOPE ON THE LONG 5 HOUR CLIMB UP TO THE BALCONY. I HAVE TO CONFESS I WAS LEFT ALONE FOR A BIT HERE AND GIVEN THAT I’VE ONLY BEEN CLIMBING 3 YEARS I COULDNT FIND A PACE THAT I WAS HAPPY WITH AND I WAS VERY NERVOUS ABOUT ALL THE SPLITS IN THE ICE.. I LOST A GLOVE AS IT BLEW OFF AND I THOUGHT LONG AND HARD ABOUT TURNING BACK A FEW TIMES BUT EACH TIME THE THOUGHT OF GETTING MY FATHERS FLAG TO THE SUMMIT AND THE EVE APPEAL FLAG, I PUSHED ON. I SOON MANAGED TO GET CHULDEN, ONE OF THE SHERPAS, TO PACE ME AND I PRESSED ON UPWARDS INTO THE WINDY NIGHT UP TOWARDS THE BALCONY.

AS WE WERE THE FIRST GROUPS TO GO, THE SNOW WAS PRETTY DEEP WHICH MADE IT REALLY ARDUOUS AS YOUR FEET SUNK IN WITH EACH STEP. ALSO, EVERY TIME I THOUGHT ABOUT TURNING BACK I LOOKED AT THE LONG LINE OF FLASHLIGHTS BEHIND ME AND DIDNT FEEL LIKE EXPLAINING WHY I WAS TURNING BACK AT THIS EARLY STAGE TO EVERYONE, AFTERALL IT’S REALLY A ONE SHOT MOUNTAIN AND THAT BORE HEAVILY ON MY MIND!

AT DAWN WE ARRIVED AT THE BALCONY AND TOOK A BREAK AND SWITCHED OXYGEN TANKS. ON MY OXYGEN I WAS FASTIDIOUS TO THE POINT OF ANNOYANCE I’M SURE, ABOUT CHECKING THE GAUGE AND HOW MUCH TIME I HAD LEFT, ITS VERY IMPORTANT ONCE YOU ARE ON OXYGEN THAT YOU DONT COME OFF IT ONCE YOU ARE UP HIGH ON THE MOUNTAIN, THIS IS WHERE ALL THE ACCIDENTS HAPPEN.

I THEN REALISED WE WERE QUITE A BIG GROUP ON THE BALCONY AND EVERYONE WAS HANGING AROUND WAITING AND THEN I REALISED WHY, I THINK EVERYONE EXPECTED OUR GROUP TO FIX THE ROPES WHICH RODRIGO HAD CATEGORICALLY EXPLAINED TO EVERYONE AT THE "ROPE FIXING MEETINGS" THAT WE WOULD ONLY PUT ROPES ON PLACES WHERE IT WAS ESSENTIAL, THE SOUTH SUMMIT, THE HILARY STEP AND THE SUMMIT RIDGE (WE ALSO PLACED ALL THE ROPES ON THE YELLOW BAND WITH THE DISCOVERY TEAM. WE THEN JUST ROPED TOGETHER ALPINE STYLE AND SET UP TOWARDS THE SOUTH SUMMIT WHILST EVERYONE LOOKED REALLY ANNOYED OBVIOUSLY PRESUMING WE WOULD BE FIXING FOR EVERYONE I GUESS, BUT EACH EXPEDITION ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ATTEMPT THE SUMMIT ON THE FIRST WEATHER WINDOW SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR MATTERS LIKE THIS AND RODRIGO AND PERTEMBA HAD TAKEN THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS FOR THAT.

THE SOUTH SUMMIT WAS TOUGH AND I CRANKED MY OXYGEN UP A NOTCH TO GET ME UP THERE. CHULDEN AT THIS POINT HAD TURNED BACK AS HE KEPT FALLING ASLEEP (HOPEFULLY NOT FROM PACING ME!) AND I WAS NOW ROPED TO ERNESTO AS WE MADE OUR WAY UPWARDS. I WAS NOW FULLY DETERMINED AT THIS POINT TO REACH THE TOP I THINK DAYLIGHT HELPS WITH ME, I REALLY HATE CLIMBING AT NIGHT.

I WAS NOW WITH ERNESTO AND NURU WHO HAD MY OXYGEN WHICH I WAS WATCHING LIKE A HAWK AND WHENEVER I COULDNT SEE HIM I WOULD YELL AT HIM TO WAIT FOR ME! I KNEW I WAS READY FOR A CHANGE SOMETIME SOON AND I HAD NO INTENTION OF RUNNING OUT. FINALLY WE REACHED THE SOUTH SUMMIT WHICH WAS AMAZING AND YOU REALLY FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GETTING CLOSE. I STOPPED AND SWITCHED OXYGEN TANKS AND MADE A MENTAL NOTE OF HOW LONG I HAD WITH THE NEW TANK AND WE HEADED TOWARDS THE HILARY STEP. ANDRONICO, MISAIL, KIKO AND PALDEN WERE A LITTLE BEHIND US. I GASPED WHEN I SAW THE HILARY STEP, NOT THAT IT’S TECHNICALLY DIFFICULT BUT IT’S IMPOSING AT THAT HEIGHT AND THERE ARE TWO BIG ROCKY CONES THAT YOU NEED TO NAVIGATE PRIOR TO ARRIVING ON THE LONG SUMMIT RIDGE.

OUR SHERPAS TASHI AND LAKPA RITA FIXED THE ROPES ON THE HILARY STEP AND THE SUMMIT RIDGE AND SOON I WAS MAKING MY WAY TO THE HILARY STEP CAREFULLY JUMPING OVER ROCKS AND CREVASSES TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FIXED LINES AND DESPERATELY TRYING TO AVOID WALKING ANYWHERE NEAR THE TERRIFYING LOOKING CORNICED RIDGE THAT DROPS DOWN INTO THE KANGCHUNG FACE (RODRIGO’S ROUTE TO THE SUMMIT!) I WAS SOON UP THE HILARY STEP AND ERNESTO AND I WALKED TOWARDS THE SUMMIT AND I WAS ALREADY FIGHTING BACK THE TEARS AT THIS STAGE.

WE ARRIVED ON THE SUMMIT AT AROUND 12.15PM ON 15TH MAY (UNBEKNOWNST TO ME OUR TURN AROUND TIME WAS 12.00PM BUT AS THE WEATHER LOOKED OK RODRIGO LET US STAY UNTIL 2.30PM) WE ARRIVED ON THE SUMMIT AND THE DISCOVERY CAMERA WAS ON MY FACE AS THE TEARS STARTED, I WAS MEANT TO BE HOLDING THE HSBC FLAG WITH A BIG SMILE BUT I WAS A TEARY WRECK AS I HELD IT TO THE SKY.

FROM DEPARTING THE SUMMIT ANDRONICO RAN OUT OF OXYGEN, THIS WAS MY BIG FEAR TO RUN OUT AT 29,000 FT. THERE WAS MORE OXYGEN AWAITING HIM ON THE SOUTH SUMMIT BUT HE HAD 40 MINS OR SO WITHOUT OXYGEN WHICH I THINK CAUSED HIM TO BE EXTREMELY TIRED. AT THE SOUTH SUMMIT HE HAD MORE OXYGEN GIVEN TO HIM AND THE GROUP CONTINUED DOWN THE MOUNTAIN VERY SLOWLY. AT THIS POINT KIKO, ERNESTO AND MISAIL WERE ALL OUT OF OXYGEN COMPLETELY AND WE HAD NO MORE OXYGEN STASHED AWAY UNTIL THE BALCONY BUT OBVIOUSLY WE HAD NO IDEA HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE THEM TO GET THERE AND HOW LONG THEY WOULD ALL BE WITHOUT O'S PLUS THEY ALSO HAD VERY LITTLE WATER LEFT.

THERE WAS THEN A HUGE CONFUSION ABOUT WHERE THEY WERE ON THE MOUNTAIN AND AT WHAT TIME; BY NOW THEY WERE ALSO STARTING TO MEET ALL THE OTHER TEAMS GOING UP FOR THE SUMMIT WHICH CAUSED FURTHER DELAYS DUE TO THE ASCCENDER OR DESCENDER HAVING TO CLIP IN AND OUT OF THE FIXED ROPE. OUR POOR SHERPAS WHO HAD ALREADY RETURNED FROM THE SUMMIT WHERE THEN ASKED TO GO BACK UP THE MOUNTAIN TO MEET THE GROUP TAKING THEM WATER AND OXYGEN.

THERE WAS A BIG MISUNDERSTANDING PROBABLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT HALF THE GROUP WERE HYPOTHERMIC, FROZEN (THE WINDS WERE NOW BACK UP TO 50MPH) AND HYPOXIC ABOUT WHERE EXACTLY ON THE MOUNTAIN THEY WERE. THE SHERPAS COULDNT FIND THEM AND RADIO CALLS BETWEEN RODRIGO AND THE GROUP WERE FREQUENT AND CONFUSED. CHULDEN WAS THEN SENT BACK UP AS THE GROUP STILL HAD NOT RETURNED AT 12.00PM AND HE WENT WITH 3 BOTTLES OF WATER TO GO AND FIND THEM. POOR CHULDEN SLIPPED ON THE ICE AND STARTED SLIDING DOWN THE TREACHEROUS ICY LHOTSE FACE TO CAMP 2. ALL THE WATER FELL DOWN THE SLOPES OF THE LHOTSE FACE AND SOMEHOW BY SOME MIRACLE HE MANAGED TO SAVE HIMSELF. SHAKING TERRIBLY HE BRAVELY CONTINUED UP TO FIND THE GROUP WHICH HE DULY DID.

POOR KIKO ONLY GOT TWO FINGERS FULL OF WATER WHICH HE COULDNT UNDERSTAND WHY HE WAS GETTING SO LITTLE (POOR CHULDEN HADNT EXPLAINED WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO HIM AS HE SKIDDED ON THE ICE NEARLY TO HIS DEATH) THE GROUP WAS EXHAUSTED WHEN THEY ARRIVED, ABSALUTELY FROZEN AND OXYGEN DEPLETED BUT THE MAIN THING WAS WE WERE ALL BACK AT THE SOUTH COL SAFELY IF NOT A LITTLE DRAMATICALLY.”

MY NEXT GOAL IS TO CLIMB MOUNT ELBRUS IN RUSSIA WITH THE CHILEAN TEAM ON 15TH JULY AND IM HOPING TO TAKE THE HSBC FLAG AND THE EVE APPEAL FLAG TO ITS SUMMIT, SO ILL HAVE A DIARY ON THAT CLIMB ON MY WEBSITE. WE WILL BE TAKEN BY GUY COTTER AND LOUIS BENITZ FROM ADVENTURE CONSULTANTS.

Team members include: Chileans Ernesto Olivares Miranda (Makalu), Andrónico Luksic Craig, Misael Alvial Cid (K2 and Aconcagua), Sherpa Alden, Sherpa Angi, Sherpa Rama, Sherpa Shulding, Kiko, Annabelle Bond.

Image of Annabelle in BC after her summit courtesy of Annabelle Bond.

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