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The Himalayan Cataract Project team Summits Cholatse!
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May 12, 2005 12: 46 EST
Conrad Anker, Kristoffer Erickson, Kevin Thaw, John Griber and Abby Watkins, from the North Face team, summited Cholatse around 2:00 pm (local time) today, via the SW ridge.

The team's climbing strategy is described in the expedition's latest report, by Jordan Campbell.

”In only six days after arriving in Base Camp, our Sight to Summit team was able to secure a spectacular Camp II location on Cholatse's southwest ridge at 18,200 feet,” wrote Jordan. “This tremendous effort pushing a safe route up the mountain is credited to Conrad Anker and Kristoffer Erickson. On May 8th Kevin Thaw and I set out to fix lines on the rock pyramid just outside of camp - the last big technical hurdle before summit attempts could get under way."

First summit attempt aborted at 20,000 feet

"On May 9th, Pete Athans, Geoff Tabin, Conrad Anker, Kristoffer Erickson and Michael Brown made an impressive 21 hour round-trip push up the southwest ridge reaching over 20,000 feet. Back at Base Camp we awoke this morning to see Conrad and Kris making a second attempt on Cholatse along with Kevin Thaw, John Griber and Abby Watkins.”

Total success!

"The official word from Conrad's last radio call at 2:00 PM is total success! All of the second climbing teams reached the summit this afternoon and are en route back to Camp II."

Before heading for Cholatse, the team was involved in a sight-restoring medical campaign in Nepal’s rural areas. The climbing team helped a Dr. Geoffrey Tabin and some local doctors to heal about 250 patients.

"Its not often in the world of mountaineering that an expedition can say they are going over to Nepal not only to climb a beautiful 6000m mountain (Cholatse), but also to help contribute to eradicating curable and preventable blindness. Well, this is exactly what a small crew of doctors, climbers, filmmakers, and photographers are about to embark on for the next month and a half," reported the team in their first dispatch. That was the introduction to the Cataract Project, currently at work in rural areas of Nepal.

The expedition leader is well-known seven-time Everest summiteer, Peter Athans. Other team members include Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, also an Everest summiteer, Conrad Anker, Kevin Thaw, Abby Watkins and John Griber. Rounding out the team are Michael Brown and David D’Angelo of Serac Films, and two additional photographers, Jordan Campbell and Kristoffer Erikson.

Live image over Contact 3.0 of Cholatse’s NW ridge and the route followed by the team, courtesy of the Cataract Project team/The North Face.

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