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When tent stakes become bullets
7.40 p.m. EDT May 6, 2003
The Swedish Dhaulagiri team found themselves playing real-life pick-up sticks this past weekend. When the storm winds hit on Saturday a board full of nails from the nearby German camp flew over and hit their tent – fortunately it didn’t damage it. The Swedes proceeded to scramble about base camp picking up and securing anything on the ground that the high winds could turn into a projectile, sticks, empty food cans, etc. . .

Swedish Dhaulagiri - May 5, 2003:

“Saturday the weather report said 54 m/s wind on the summit of Dhaulagiri and we just sat around waiting for the storm. We spent the entire day reinforcing our camp with thick rope and put large boulders around all tents. We were frustrated, as it was the nicest day yet with regards to weather whilst we just sat around doing nothing.

But 3 PM the wind arrived and then it really picked up around 10 PM. It started at 3 PM with a board full with nails that came flying like a torpedo from the German camp. It hit our Marmot tent but luckily the tent was not damaged. We immediately started to clean the ground from everything that could fly at 30 m/s. Loose sticks that sherpas left on the ground were all of a sudden deadly projectiles and empty food cans from the kitchen tent would cause a real bump in someone's head!

As we all lay around our tents at 5 PM the alarm set off. Our tent watch yelled for all he was worth! The poles that held up our big Marmot tent had snapped in the middle. We buried the tent in rock and snow. We knew that high winds were coming but never anticipated that they would go so low and hit BC. Two kitchen tents, all of our sherpa tents and the toilet tent were flat to the ground. The sherpas spent the night with us in our tents.

Yet this wind was still nothing compared to higher up on the mountain. The Chilean team had 2 tents in C2, those are now on the other side of the Annapurna valley. We too have tents in C1 - or had that is. We will not know until we get back up there in a few days. We did bury our tents however, so there is a chance that our down suits and stuff is still put. Now the Germans came over and warned that they had received 3 weather reports which all showed the same thing: Another storm is to hit Dhaulagiri within the next few hours and it will be even worse. Winds of 40 m/s in BC and much more high up. So we fix what's left of our camp and get back into our sleeping bags hoping for the best."

Image courtesy of Swedish Dhualagiri expedition

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