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The big Everest summit migration: 40 climbers left SC 9.45 pm local




May 29, 2005 14: 59 EST
News just reached ExWeb that up to 40 climbers left South Col around 2,5 hours ago. The summit crowd includes climbers from Alpine Ascent (who left a bit later) and Mountain Madness.

Alpine Ascent also just updated with their latest:

"At last we’re on our way! This is Base Camp Manager Ellie Henke reporting from Everest base camp, where we’ve just heard that Vern Tejas and David Liano have started on their way to the top. Today they moved up from camp 3 at 7,200 meters (23,600 feet) to Camp 4 at the South Col at 7,960 meters (26,100 feet). When they arrived they got some rest and decided they felt pretty good."

Dead calm!

"After weeks of wind the weather was improving, and a few hours ago they reported that this evening was almost dead calm. So the decision was made to go for it. So far this season no one has reached the summit of Everest from the southern Nepal side, so suddenly we find ourselves on the cutting edge."

"So the final leg of the climb begins for Vern and Dave as they leave the South Col at 11:15 this evening. I will be sending in periodic reports, but I am not expecting to have too many communications with them. They are under strict orders not to risk frostbite by taking their mittens off during the night to do radio calls. So no news will be good news."

Summit watch around the propane heater

"Meanwhile, the base camp staff is huddled around a propane heater in the communications tent. Gopal, our liaison officer Bed, Kumar, Lakpa, Gelbu, and myself will be trading off throughout the night to monitor the radio and track the progress of the climbers. So stay tuned for further news from our first Everest summit attempt."

Alpine Ascents: At 20 years of age, Danielle Fisher has a chance to be the youngest person to climb the seven summits, replacing the current 7 summit record holder Britton Keeshan, who was 22 when he reached Everest - the final of his seven summits - last spring.

Vernon Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Dave Morton, and Jose Luis Peralvo are once again guiding the Alpine Ascents International team this spring on Everest. AA has been leading climbers to the roof of the world for 18 years now. The US based company is one of the leading outfitters on the South Side. This is a full serviced guided expedition.

Mountain Madness: Willie (Guillermo) Benegas has climbed Everest four times, reaching the summit each time. He is currently guiding for Mountain Madness.

Damian and Willie (Guillermo) Benegas, born in Argentina and living in the USA, have attracted the attention of the climbing community since they were very young. They began their career by opening routes in their homeland, mostly in Patagonia and Aconcagua (which they have summited about 30 times). Then they extended their efforts to the rest of the Andes, tried extreme rock-climbing on big walls such as El Capitan (Yosemite) and Baffin Island, and soon headed for the Himalayas. They own a guiding company.

In 2003 they were the first to climb the North Pillar of Nuptse. The result, after an alpine style non-stop six day climb, was a new route named “Crystal Snake.” Last summer, they attempted their first climb on the North Ridge of Latok I.

Image and video of the climb between C4 and South Summit ExplorersWeb files
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