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ExplorersWeb Week in Review
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Sep 4, 2004 09: 27 EST
Himalaya is quiet but Nepal is on fire.

Killed on video in Iraq for his belief in Buddha Twelve Nepalese were killed in Iraq on video. The video shows a masked man cutting the throat of the nepali workers and displaying the head for the camera. "We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalese who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians ... believing in Buddha as their God," said a statement on the site where the video was published. It's the largest number of foreign hostages killed at one time in Iraq.

Demonstrations and protests are increasing in Kathmandu after the murders. Climbers are currently landing (if they manage to find a not-yet-cancelled flight) in an army-patrolled, tense town.

Dani had a hell of a first flight. The day the small Cho Oyu climbing team flied out, via Doha (Qatar, UAE), Qatar Airlines headquarters were set on fire, and the airlines cancelled all flights to Nepal. The Catalans had to change their plans and fly from Doha to Thailand, to get a plane from Bangkok to Kathmandu. Once there, they found Kathmandu ‘occupied’ by army patrols who even escorted them to the hotel where they were grounded.

Everest North battling altitude Harry, Mark van Thijssen, Marc Streefkerk and Werner were last in ABC, at 6400 meters. On their way up, sherpas found Mark asleep ten minutes away from the tents. Today the sherpas plan to start fixing ropes up to the North Col, at 7000m.

Cho Oyu and Shisha Teams are scattered between Kathmandu up to ABC.

Iñaki Ochoa de Olza's K2 debrief: "I climbed through mythical places such as the Shoulder, the Bottleneck, the Triangle Stone...The last 100m, already in daylight, were getting really tough for me, but I passed them soon and I climbed the last meters of the summit ridge in tears. On the summit, I crouched on the snow and cried, and cried without being able to stop. It was the first time something like that happened to me on a 8000+ peak." Read the 2-part debrief on K2Climb.net.

Alberto Iñurrategi, José Carlos Tamayo and Jon Beloki were a trio of high altitude veterans, with a bag full of climbs like the East ridge of Annapurna and 8000+ winter climbs between them. One had lost his brother to Gasherbrum II. This summer, they were headed for a first repetition and GIII/G4 double header. Read their debrief last week: “It was 10:40 am and an easterly wind blew hard. We were like on a horseback over the end of the summit ridge, on the summit. It was so sharp we couldn’t even take a picture of us both together but, at least, we shared the joy”.

Juanito Oiarzabal and Edurne Pasaban are back home, recovering from the severe frostbite they suffered during their summit bid on the Abruzzi Spur route on K2. They succeeded, but the price was high. Part 1(3) of their frank debrief was published Friday: "...the most difficult section...It was very steep, on crystal ice with a thin layer of snow over it. So the group were reluctant to proceed. Last year a guy fell to his death right there. But we had gone through a hard moment when I had radioed BC, to the TV program director saying, “Hey, I think we are not going to make it”. So, the fact is that we were there and I said to myself: 'What the hell... that looks fucking bad'. In a place like that, two things can happen: You can rip loose the whole section, falling along with it (it was 55º steep), or you can sink your leg in the snow too much, reach the ice beneath, and fiuuuuu... fall.

Alpinist - living the climbing life Alpinist arrived last year as a surprise to the climbing community. The magazine sported a new, slick design - a clean look with an emphasis on stunning pictures and climbers’ own tales. The brainchild of Christian Beckwith and the legendary "Red Hat" founder Marc Ewing, Alpinist quickly gained respect. Read the interview with Christian, the man behind the plan.

Jordan summit for Everest 2005: "Dudu and I - A new brother who I will trust my life with."
Lance Trumbull is not giving up his Everest Peace project. The latest addition to the climb was Ali Bushnaq, from Palestine. The team already had Israeli Dudu Yifrah. Ali and Dudu met for the first time for a climb in Jordan last month, and Ali documented the meeting in a compelling journal. It was the setting of Lawrence of Arabia, midnight and a bit surreal: "they walked towards me from behind the guesthouse in the dark for they all had their mountain climbing equipment with them."

Henk De Velde's North-East passage. The Campina is only 180 miles of Tsjeljuskin, but the ice in the Laptev sea is very concentrated and thus the sail is very risky. An ice breaker towed Henk through, damaging the rudder. Campina was anchored to the ice waiting for the experts of the nuclear icebreaker Vaigach to arrive. They literally lifted the boat out of the water and fixed the rudder in 7 hours work amidst rolling ice masses. Henk is free to sail again, but still stuck in the same ice that forced him to winter in Siberia this past year.

Bering sea crossing - all was going well until... They purchased the sailboat on E-Bay only a few months ago, modified it into a row boat, and were ready to cross the Bering Sea. "All was going well in the traverse from Nome to Providenya, at least until they neared their destination. With only 40 km to row before reaching Siberia, the mostly Northerly winds grew to reach 30 knots. They blew for 3 days and the sea anchor was used to slow the rapid unwanted southward progress. In the middle of the Bering Sea, large waves rolled over the boat and into it if the hatch was open...the team decided to head towards St. Lawrence Island, part of Alaska, although it is only a mere 58 km from Siberia. The island is a surreal looking world. It is so far North that there are no trees or bushes, mostly lichen growing over volcanic rock. The team is anchored in a protected bay 22 km from Savoonga, one of the two villages on the island. They can go to shore, but only one at a time as someone always has to be on guard to ensure that the anchor doesn't drag and smash the boat into the nearby towering cliffs. The team will wait here for another weather window to allow them to complete their crossing.

Robinson Crusoe Andreas rescued Last call we heard from Andreas was pretty desperate: The boat was capsizing and didn't right itself as fast anymore. The center of the boat was full of water, as well as all the compartments on deck. The electrical wiring was also submerged under water and Andreas suspected a hole in the boat. Andreas survival suit and beacon were ready, and Thursday Coast Guard Officer Wendall Sprerry of RCC Halifax received a signal from the EPIRB of Andreas Romell and CLS Argos reported that the Argos beacon on board the oceanrowboat of Andreas has been activated. A plane spotted Andreas and a ship 60 miles away was diverted and progressed with ALL HASTE to the scene. Next, Andreas was safe onboard Federal Elba, a Bulk carrier under Cyprus flag, headed to Europe.

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Special mention:

Edurne Pasaban
Juanito Oiarzabal

Henk De Velde
North West Passage

Pavel Rezvoy

Nawang Sherpa

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