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Who is going without O2 on Everest?
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May 10, 2004 17: 34 EST
OK, technically everybody is climbing on oxygen. But some are choosing to use the old fashioned kind; you know, aux naturale/ without supplementary Oxygen systems. So who are these people?

Russian Central North Face. This is the climb up a severe, unclimbed, technical route to the left of the Hornbein/Japanese couloir. The guys will try to go without O2.

Vladamir Gaidamak on the Russian Adventure Team. Abramov and his team are one of our favorites on the Everest North side. And Vladamir is going without O2.

Bulgarian team. This North side expedition is organized by the Federation of Bulgarian Alpine Clubs to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first Bulgarian ascent on Everest, when four of the climbers succeeded in making the second traverse of Everest by climbing up the West Ridge of the peak and down the southeast. Now three of the summiteers return 20 years later, to attempt Everest from the North side and without oxygen. The leader is Metodi Savov who lost parts of his legs during the 1984 Everest climb.

Khoo Swee Chiow. Singaporean Everest summiter known as ‘Swee’ will be attempting to climb Everest without oxygen support from the South Side. If he makes it, Swee will be the first Singaporean and Southeast Asian to summit without oxygen. The Malaysian born climber has ascended Cho Oyu in 1997, Everest in 1998, and Shisha Pangma Main in 2001.

Ed Viesturs and probably Finnish climber Veikka Gustafsson. Climbing buddies for several years, Ed and Veikka have previously summited five 8000ers together and the foresummit of Broad Peak. Veikka climbed Everest without O2 in 1997, Ed climbed from both sides without O2, from the North in 1990 and the South in 1996.

They now plan to scale Everest again - which would be Ed’s sixth summit of the peak and Veikka’s third. Afterward, while still acclimatized, the pair will immediately head to Annapurna where Ed makes his third attempt for summit of his fourteenth 8000er - and to become the first American to do so; the sixth in the world without oxygen.

Mexican/Canadian. This team of three Quebecois and four Mexicans "bound together by friendship and respect" has been leading the climb with other O2-less climbers on the South side this year, in order to be well acclimatized for their attempt of Everest without oxygen (a first for Canada if successful).

Gnaro Mondinelli with the Everest/K2 expedition on the North side. He climbed Everest already in 2001 without O2. The K2 2004 - 50 years later is a large, ambitious Italian expedition sending a 19-member team to scale Everest’s north side this spring then two large teams to scale K2 from each side in commemoration the 50th anniversary of K2’s first ascent (by Italy).

Dutch Paragliders. Dutch climbers Wilco van Rooijen, Rex Snelder, and Ron Doorakkers are going to make an oxygen less attempt on the Everest’s North side. Wilco hopes to paraglide off from the summit. He has previously reached both the North and South Poles and turned back on Everest in 2002.

Guillermo Charro Blaizac of Mexico, who is climbing without oxygen on the Connecticut expedition's permit. American/Romanian climber Gheorghe Dijmarescu and his wife, Nepali Lhakpa Sherpa are leading this North side expedition. Gheorghe climbed Everest without O2 in 2000 and he may do it again this year.

Other O2-less Everest climbers. Once the final tally comes in for this season there may be more climbers who reached the summit without oxygen, including severeral sherpas.

As of 2002 only 88 people had summited Everest without the use of Oxygen support, eight died on their descent. The top of the world is near the bottom of the danger list; statistically Everest is the 10th most dangerous of the 14 8000ers - with or without O2.

Image of O2 bottles courtesy of ExWeb.

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