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International Kangchenjunga team waiting for a window
0-6:21 a.m. EDT May 13, 2003
Ralf and the Kangchenjunga crew mobilized on May 5th and headed up the mountain. They made Camp I, 6000m, pretty quickly, David and Michi’s tent, “looked like a Yeti had been there,” all shredded up. The next day they advanced to Camp II, 6500m. Instead of the deep snow the team had encountered on their previous trip up, the high winds blew it all away and left a hard packed surface. Despite not having the deep snow to deal with, the high winds made the going tough.

Once up to Camp II, the team spent an hour looking for Hiro and Veikka’s tent. They eventually found it, buried in 1 meter of concrete-hard snow. Hiro and Veikka stayed in Camp II the next day to recover from digging out their tent, while the others went up to fix the route to Camp III. They made it 2/3’s of the way their before high winds turned them back. The next day, all the crew went up for an over night at Camp III, 7200m, and then hustled down to base camp. Now, just like many Everest teams, the Kangchenjunga crew begins to play the waiting game.

This team is led by Ralf Dujmovits, the owner of Amical Alpin, a Germany commercial expedition outfit. Ralf opted to leave the company’s commercial trips in the good hands of his seasoned guides and go on a personal expedition with some friends this spring – something he has not done for several seasons.

Expedition members: Hirotaka Takeuchi, Michi Warthl, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Veikka Gustafssonn, David Gottler, and Ralf Dujmovits.

Kangchenjunga, 8586m, is the third highest mountain in the world. It was first summited in 1955 and was the last of the big three to be climbed (Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga.) Kangch is a more difficult climb than Everest and has only had 172 summits. 40 have lost their lives on this mountain giving it a very high fatality rate – 23%.

Image courtesy of Amical Alpin

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