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ExWeb Everest debrief: Mexican Canadian team
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Jun 17, 2004 13: 13 EST
The Mexican/Canadian team went out with an ambitious goal; Canada's first ascent without O's and a Mexican ascent without O's. In the end the team had three climbers summit; choosing to use oxygen support when they reached Camp 4. The other four climbers, going without oxygen, did not make the summit; Juan Pablo because of damage to his eye, Richard turned around at the Hillary step, and Andres and Tom descended together when several climbers decided that Tom was suffering from AMS related symptoms.

The team was consistently one of the first to establish high camps and new altitudes for the season. On May 16th around 7am local time, Martin summited followed by Namgya Sherpa, Alejandro Ochoa Reyes and Luis Espinoza. Luis ran out of oxygen descending the south summit and was assisted down by members of the Discovery team. Andres Delgado gave up his summit bid to help Tom Masterson.

Jose Luis Abreu, the team's BC manager, wrote: "When Héctor Ponce de Leon and Andrew Lock of Discovery Channel were descending they found Tom in bad shape, falling and with a broken crampon, determined however on pushing ahead. They had to convince him to return, to use Diamox and to connect to an oxygen bottle. It was difficult and Andrés helped to convince him. Héctor and Andrés discussed the situation and Andrés decided to descend."

I was told that I had to go down

Tom Masterson's account of May 16th is very different from the other reports; he feels that he was healthy enough to have made it to the top; "No effects of elevation. Thought was that 'I can do this, all the way to the top'. Then, just a few meters before the South Summit, a crampon came off. The snow was quite steep and I went down on all fours in an effort to get it back on. Then a couple folks from the Discovery team tried to help, totally convinced that I was suffering from effects of high altitude, many contradictory things were being yelled at me, and a video camera was thrust in my face. My thanks, however, is still sincerely there for those who helped. What I really needed was to sit down, regroup, and make a rational decision about whether to continue with or without oxygen as I had had no problems up to that point.

Someone wanted to give me some sort of drug but this was refused. (I have never used Diamox or any other sort of drug, and it would have been a big mistake here.) I was told that I had to go down, and somewhat disappointed and discouraged, headed down with an oxygen mask on my face that made it very hard to see even to take the next step. The decision probably would have been different had I had a Sherpa with me, or even known that there was one on the mountain from our group who could help, or that oxygen might have been available for me from our group."

Saving the story

The Discovery Channel team mentions the rescue of Tom but is saving the details of their account for when they air the television program in November. "After about an hour of descent, they came across a man in his late fifties who kept falling, landing face down in the snow. This would set in motion a confused set of events. The Discovery Channel Expedition members were soon enmeshed in a rescue that will only be revealed when the series airs this coming November."

Everest can deliver you from the prison of ambition.

Ian Dobson, the team’s original BC manager commented, “Peter Boardman once said ‘the summit of Everest can deliver you from the prison of ambition’. I believe that an attempt, any attempt on Everest can deliver you from the prison of ambition.” Part three of Andres Delgado’s post expedition report has not published as of this debrief, in it he will recount the summit push.

Mexican/Canadian Everest Expedition; Mexicans Andres Delgado,34 (the expedition leader, he has summited Everest once and Cho Oyu three times) turned back just shy of the summit; Alejandro Ochoa, 27 summited Everest in May 2004; Luis Espinoza, 26, and Juan Pablo Gomez. Canadians; Martin Boileau, 39 summited Everest in May 2004, Richard Cartier, 42 and Tom Masterson, 59, who climbed to 8300 m (without oxygen) on Everest North last year.

Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were part of the team to complete the NE Ridge of Everest in 1982, they perished in the attempt.

Image of Martin on the summit courtesy of the team.
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