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Kangchenjunga: Moments of fear on the way to Camp 2
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May 4, 2005 13: 30 EST
Problems started as soon as Norbert Joos and his five-member team reached Kangchenjunga BC on April 17th. One of the Sherpas got seriously ill and had to be evacuated by helicopter. On April 20th Wendi, Norbert and the team’s three remaining Sherpas fixed the route up to C1.

20 meter fall

Bad weather and a potentially lethal accident have slowed the team’s route-fixing progress. Team member Hector Ponce fell about 20 meters from a vertical section when they were trying to find the way to C2. Hector was unroped. Luckily, he escaped unharmed, except for some pain in his knee. They pressed on and deposited gear at 6600m for the next team to resume the work, and returned to CI and BC.

The latest report from the team was dispatched on April, 28. They all remained in BC, in bad weather conditions.

50th Anniversay special

Joos’ team is one of only two confirmed expeditions attempting Kangchenjunga, despite the reduced climbing fees set by Nepal’s government to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first ascent. Alan Hinkes and team are also on the same route on Kangchenjunga. They celebrated their puja ceremony last week.

Norbert ‘Noppa’ Joos has summited 12 8000ers, the latest being Lhotse, in 2004. He is currently attempting Kangchenjunga and, if he summits, only Everest will remain.

As he states on his website, he has launched 22 expeditions to 8000 meter peaks, and has summited 12 times. That’s a 55% success rate, but more importantly, he’s managed to get back alive!

Kangchenjunga, also known as the “Five Treasures of the Great Snow,” is an immense mountain mass situated on the Sikkim-Nepal border and the most easterly of the Himalayan peaks. The peak was once thought to be the tallest mountain in the world. Attempts to climb the peak started in 1905. But it was fifty years and at least eight expeditions later before British climbers George Band and Joe Brown first stood on its summit on May 25, 1955. Out of respect for the Sikkim religion, the party stopped just shy of the summit.

Image of Joos during a previous expedition on Makalu, courtesy of Norbert Joos and Swiss Travel Club.
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