Explorers Web: Week in Review
The last wave of climbers topped-out Everest last Saturday – as the weather window closed and conditions rapidly turned for the worse. Descending climbers performed several rescues on both sides of the mountain in a sudden storm.
Three climbers were lost - among them 3-time ExWeb award winner Sergei Samoilov; Denis Urubko's free-spirited and courageous climbing partner.
The south side is now deserted while on the north side only a few climbers are still attempting ascents. Meanwhile, Pakistan is kicking off - with security updates posted at ExWeb.
Lhotse-Everest traverse: Max, Vaso and Sergei left BC on Sunday May 23rd and reported fair weather in C4 a few days later. Wednesday shocking news however arrived that Sergei Samoilov had perished. Sergei, 52, was Denis Urubko's frequent climbing partner. A 2005 climb on Broad Peak's unclimbed SW face gained the two an ExplorersWeb award, and a nomination for the international Piolet d'Or. In 2006 Denis and Sergei completed a new route on the NE side of Manaslu and in 2007, Denis and Sergei summited K2 in its latest summit ever and the first K2 north side summit in 11 years. The two mountaineers are the only to have gained no less than three Best-of-ExWeb awards (2005-2007). The remaining climbers of the Kazakh 2009 Lhotse-Everest traverse descended to BC by Friday and left for Lukla.
Everest casualties: German (Calgary resident) Frank Ziebarth, 29, reportedly perished after summiting Everest w/o O2 via the South side on May 21st. Czech Veslav Chrzaszcz reportedly passed during the night at the North Col on May 18th, probably due to a heart attack.
Everest north side: Jarle Traa seriously ill in ABC Following a summit without O2 Norwegian climber Jarle Traa descended to ABC in critical condition with frostbite and hypothermia. Negotiations with Chinese authorities to allow an emergency airlift failed and Traa was eventually evacuated by car and transported to hospital in Kathmandu.
South side rescues: 2008 K2 American/International expedition leader Mike Farris was reportedly climbing Everest south side without oxygen as an independent climber. Fellow mountaineers said he asked for help at the balcony and several large commercial teams reportedly assisted the climber down to C4.
First Ascent: Ed’s O2 “It was my goal and my desire to attempt my 7th Everest summit without supplementary O2,” Ed Viesturs reported. “To climb without O2 though, conditions have to be perfect. However, we had to spend an extra day at the South Col. At leaving for the summit on the following night it was very cold, windy and crowds were expected on the route. That’s why, for the sake of safety and group dynamics, that after long deliveries I opted to use O2 on my ascent.”
Everest records: Bill Burke of Cost Mesa, Calif., became the oldest American Everest summiteer at 67. Eddy Dawes, 66, of Spokane, topped-out two days before. Kay LeClaire, 60, of Spokane, became the oldest U.S. woman to climb the peak. Lori Schneider 52, of Wisconsin, summited Everest with multiple sclerosis.
Nepali K2 heroes: bag a double together Pasang Lama and Chhiring Dorje Sherpa summitted Makalu and Lhotse together on May 2nd and 22nd without the use of supplemental oxygen. Pasang, cousin of the Bhote brothers, and Chhiring Dorje Sherpa climbed K2 together last year as Sherpas for the Korean and American/International expeditions.
Cho Oyu: SummitClimb reportedly topped out Cho Oyu last Sunday. “It’s very windy up here and we can see Everest, so that’s how we know we’re on the summit. We can look out and see the Tibetan plateau,” Dan reported.
Shisha Pangma: The Romanian expedition to Shisha’ SW Face is re-scheduled for 17 September, according to the team’s website.
Kangchenjunga Basque war wounds: Jorge Egocheaga, suffering from acute bronchitis during the summit push, broke three ribs. Koke Lasa and summiteer Alberto Zerain are also reportedly frostbitten.
Lhotse: Summit reports In her debrief, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner reported how she waited to take the last steps with Ralf. “It was exhausting and wonderful at the same time – I was there to escort my husband the moment he achieved his 14th 8000+ meters summit.” Silvio Mondinelli commented, “she is humble and not competitive at all. In fact, Gerl was really concerned at knowing Edurne had problems on descent from Kangchenjunga’s summit.”
Nanda Devi East – it’s over “The summit attempt failed due to bad weather conditions and Jarek's health problems,” the Polish home team reported. “All expedition's members are currently back in Base Camp.” Running out of time in rough weather, the expedition is now over.
Pakistan: First climbers in Broad Peak BC - security update Antoine Girard, Ludo Gianbiasi and Annapurna survivor Eli Revol have arrived Broad Peak and started their ascent. The French team drove non-stop past Chilas “since Taliban terrorists are reported to descend from Swat valley in the dark and loot convoys staying for the night in villages by the KKH,” but reported no incidents. Rumors about the kidnapping of a foreign expedition leader were debunked by ExWeb correspondent in Islamabad Karrar Haidri. “A French citizen has been kidnapped in Quetta as he arrived there from Iran, but that person is not related to climbing expeditions.”
New teams for K2 Pakistan and China will unite on K2. Twice Everest summiteer Yang Chunfeng (40) is teaming up with two yet undisclosed Pakistani climbers. "The expedition has been given the name 'K2 Bearing witness to the friendship between Pakistan and China'," APP news agency reported. Yang won't be the only Chinese climber on K2 this summer: Shi Hai Feng, outfitted by Saltoro Summits, will attempt the peak together with a climbing mate. Thomas Andersen, Mads Kristensen and Jakob Mikkelsen also announced plans for K2.
Multi-Gasherbrum international expedition An international team is climbing all the Gasherbrums this season, with each member aiming for a certain number of peaks. Bruce Normand will go for the 4 higher G's (GI, GII, GII and GIV); Dirk Grunert will attempt both GI and GII; Polish Jacek Teler hopes to climb GII and possibly K2; Kinga Baranowska is heading for the two 8000+ meters Gasherbrums, while Daniela Teixeira and Paulo Roxo will return for GII via the French spur.
Arctic wrap-up: North Pole Skiers Arnaud Tortel and Charles Hedrich have changed their route plan to reach the coast of Greenland at Cape Morris Jesup; the same point that the Danish Greenland kite-skiers, Jesper Melin Ganc-Petersen and Erik Bruun Jørgensen, are heading for.
Greenland wrap-up: Sjur Mørdre and his team aim to cross the Icecap in 12 days and have reached DYE II after skiing only 5 days from the West. Teams on the eastern side of DYE reported a storm that lasted two days. They stayed it out in their tents. Another Norwegian men’s team is about to start kiting from the South to Qaanaaq in the Northwest.
Debrief and heads-up from Julio Fiadi and his live-in sledge During the 2008-09 Antarctic season Julio and his live-in sledge (capsule) hit the ice a second time, but unfortunately he had to cut it short again. Julio told ExplorersWeb what happened and revealed his future plans.
Debrief: Michele Pontrandolfo’s Magnetic North Pole ski “Never could I imagine that this was only the beginning of a series of problems,” said Michele about the many challenges he encountered on his ski expedition to the 1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole. Check in at ExWeb for his debrief.
On a four-wheel bike across Central Asia, China and Mongolia Australians Roger Chao and Megan Kerr are out on a 15-month, 12,000km journey across 7 countries and 30+ cultures. In the beginning of May they started off from Astana, Kazakhstan, on a specially designed four-wheel bike named Quike.
Baffin Island update: Babes and GoNorth! in their last week; Heads-up from Zahab and Vallely The Baffin Babes have been on Baffin Island for more that 70 days of their planned 80-day expedition (a live image over Contact 4.0 showed the babes doing aerobics on rollable solar panels for placemats.) The GoNorth! team described surprising deep snow conditions in a river valley. Antarctic speed record holders, Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely, announced their new expedition.
Sarah Outen update: Sarah experienced the same storm that the Indian Ocean Rowing Race reported about last week but gained the miles again and has been well on her way in the right direction the past few days.
Indian Ocean Rowing Race update: Four boats crossed the halfway mark to Mauritius. The back teams crossed 1000 nm. Progress was slowed down by the storm that lasted several days, but the boats were moving forward again.
Roz Savage Pacific row: Roz departed Hawaii, on 24 May on the second stage of her row from California to Australia in three stages.