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ExplorersWeb Week-in-review
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May 1, 2004 12: 08 EST
It has been a busy week of ups and downs: The ailment of Dutch Cho Oyu team’s Joost Schreve and the subsequent success of Greg Nieuwenhuys, several evacuations and retreats from Everest caused by altitude related illness, the death of a climbing legend, the first descent of the Nile River, Maoist uprisings, new expedition announcements, several teams reaching the North Pole, and the awesome climbs going on all over the Himalayas and Karakorums, to name just some of the going-ons this week. There is always excitement and surprise at the offices of ExplorersWeb, The Pioneer’s Checkpoint.

Severe Everest weather alert! Hurricane force winds are expected on Kangchenjunga, Everest, Annapurna and surrounding mountains, starting Saturday evening. Winds at and above C3 levels (7300m+) might reach hurricane force, raging at around 25-40 m/s (49-77 knots, 56-89mph). A Hurricane is defined as having winds above 32 m/s; winds at and above this speed are predicted from 7500 m to the summit of Everest beginning Saturday. The winds will pick up because of a movement of the Jet stream directly over Everest/Annapurna and a deep low moving in from Kashmir.

Skiing Dutchman makes the summit of Cho Oyu! Earlier this week the Dutch duo of Joost Schreve and Greg Nieuwenhuys had to back down from their summit attempt on Cho Oyu. Then Joost was forced to retire due to a critical eye problem. Rather than putting his tail between his legs though, Joost held tight at BC and supported Greg in a second summit bid. On Wednesday Joost watched Greg ascend Cho Oyu and become the first Dutchman to ski down from an 8,000+ meter summit.

Everest climber Patrick Berhault dies on Dom. Chamonix mountain guide and Himalayan climber Patrick Bérhault died Thursday morning in a fall. Patrick was climbing the Dom (4545m) in Switzerland together with Philippe Magnin. When pushing for the summit, Patrick had a bad fall. Unfortunately there was not enough time for a thorough search for Patrick until the morning, when the body was found and brought back to Zermatt.

First Complete Descent of Nile River. Everest climber Pasquale "PV" Scaturro, 50, from Colorado, completed his dream mission today: To descend the Nile river in an inflatable raft. Together with Gordon Brown of California he made the first complete descent of the Nile River from its source in Ethiopia to the shores of Alexandria and the Mediterranean Sea. They reached the mouth of the Nile on Wednesday 114 days after launching their 3,250-mile journey.

Life threatening AMS. Dr Luanne Freer reported this week about a life threatening case of HAPE on Everest, where the climber had to be carried out Saturday. The same happened on Cho Oyu Friday, reports the Dutch skiers. They were the only ones to bring a Doc, Herman, and he's been kept busy. Reports have come out of dispatches and from our correspondents that several climbers have backed off the mountain due to illnesses associated with Acute Mountain Sickness, a constellation of symptoms that represents your body not being acclimatized to its current altitude.

Democracy and Sherpas at risk in Nepal. When you make a search for the word "Maoist" on MountEverest.net, you'll find that already last year, and in numerous articles since, ExplorersWeb has alerted our readers to the disastrous effect the Maoists are inflicting on Nepal tourism and economy. "Tourism, the biggest source of foreign income, has taken a major blow as hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists have avoided Nepal.” Reported AP, “I have had most of my reservations cancelled,' said Deepak Shrestha, who runs a hotel in Katmandu's tourist area, known as Thamel. 'If this keeps up ... our tourism will die.”

Launch of new ExplorersWeb. You've probably noticed the changes around here lately: The fresh BaseCampMD with medical reports straight from Everest BC. The new esp.MountEverest.net already creating its own mountaineering scoops in Spanish. The updated layouts. Well, there is more ahead. Much more. Check it out! The world's only extreme adventure website with CNN-style 24/7 live reports, hourly updates and feature stories straight from the highest and the farthest corners of our Earth (and beyond). Come with us straight into the tents with Contact 2.0 technology created by explorers. Seek the truth in the unique statistics compiled over a lifetime by a few individuals. Watch the weather change over the Himalayan range in the customized daily weather reports. Click the week-in-reviews and recall the months that passed.

Annapurna, Baruntse, Everest North Face, Cho Oyu, Makalu; just a few of the awesome climbs going on this season. We watched as the Dutch team struggled with their ascent of Cho Oyu, The many small teams going for Makalu from every angle, possibly this weekend, Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and team will reach the summit of Baruntse via the North Wall, then there is the Annapurna team climbing on the world’s most dangerous 8,000+ meter mountain, and of course the Russian North Face team attempting a very difficult and un-climbed route straight up the North Face of Everest. Keep an eye on these expeditions because not only do they represent some of the most awesome climbs this season, but they also have some great dispatches.

Carlos Buhler returns to Kalanka North Face. Carlos Buhler and Sandy Allan are joint leaders of this three man expedition to Kalanka (6931m) in the Garhwal Himalaya, India. There, along with John Lyall, they will make an attempt on an unclimbed line on the north face of the mountain.

Karakorum big wall climbing fever No doubt this summer will be extremely exciting in the whole Karakorum Range, and not just on the slopes of K2. The Benegas brothers, who after climbing Nuptse West for the first time in alpine style (the resulting route, opened non-stop in six days and christened ‘Crystal Snake’), have found in Latok I’s North Face an equivalent challenge.
A speedy K2 - Broad double header. Chad Kellogg, last year’s winner of the Khan Tengri speed climb, is heading for Pakistan and a big double-header: First the West Face of Broad Peak and then the South-Southeast Ridge of K2.

Sally and Sarah still at sea. The mother and daughter are averaging 37 miles a day over the last 8 days and are currently expected in Barbados around 4-5 May. “We just wanted to tell you our plan. We will cross the finish line whatever the weather brings but we may not make it to Barbados. At our current trajectory: Martinique, if it gets worse off then it will be the Florida Keys!! (Unfortunately not Venezuela!!)”

New arrivals at the North Pole. Together at the Pole, the Polish team with13 year old Jasiek Mela who lost a leg and an arm, Proyecto Cumbre, the Venezuelan mountain climbers who substituted Carstensz Pyramid for the North Pole, the Ice Warriors, a team trying for all ‘four’ North Poles, and Project Pole Track, the scientific training expedition to the Pole, all reached their objectives this week.

First we take Greenland, then we take the Pole. In December 2004, the Outdoor Education Team of West Nottinghamshire College will head an expedition to the South Pole. Today, however, they are just a little bit north; on the Greenland ice cap.

Ben Saunders is still on the ice with about 130 nautical miles to go before reaching the Pole. Bettina and Jean-Gabriel are expected to reach the North Pole sometime this weekend.

Read these stories and more at ExplorersWeb.com

Image of a Swedish climber's evacuation, courtesy of Ski8000.com.
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