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Life-threatening flying O2 bottles down Everest North wall!
image story

May 17, 2004 14: 07 EST
An urgent message came from the Russian Everest Central North Face team. The climbers working on the rock bastion are facing an unexpected, and very serious danger: flying oxygen bottles from above! Someone is throwing down the wall empty O2 bottles; the Russian climbers, right underneath, missed a couple of them just by inches.

Victor Kozlov reports:

“Shabaline's group descended to BC. Kuznetsov's group (Kuznetsov- Sokolov-Vinogradsky- Arkhipov) goes up now.

Yesterday we have an unpleasant incident: at 4 p.m. (local time) an unknown climber has dumped an empty oxygen cylinder which fortunately has flown near to guys, nobody having touched. Today , at 6 a.m. the history has repeated - one more cylinder has flown by absolutely near to guys working on a wall. I do not know, who has made it, but it is obvious, that it is people which are close to the summit.

It would be desirable to address to all climbers: please, do not dump empty oxygen cylinders downwards. There are people working at the Wall!”

Ok, opening a new route in Everest North wall is hard enough, without flying (non-natural) objects threatening to hit you. We want to think that these incidents have occurred due to ignorance; perhaps those happily throwing their empty bottles away don’t think they are threatening other climbers’ life. Therefore, ExplorersWeb will add a warning note along with our next weather forecast, provided to more than forty expeditions currently in the Himalayas.

The most exciting expedition on Everest this spring is the Russian Central North Face team. This is a severe, unclimbed, technical route to the left of the Hornbein/Japanese couloir. The guys are going straight up, on a clean and lofty face. The technical difficulty of the route along with the extreme altitude makes this one of the most difficult challenges in mountaineering.

The expedition is a Russian dream team. There are previous Everest summiteers, Golden Ice Axe winners, and many, many 8000m veterans.

Image of climbers below the rock bastion, courtesy of mountain.ru

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