So ExWeb is still diligently working away at the “Who free climbed the Second Step” story. Today they have another witness come forward to support Oscar Cadiach who claims to have done just that back in 1985 on his way to the summit.
Ang Karma Sherpa, who owns the Windhorse Trekking outfitter in Kathmandu, was on the climb with Oscar and actually went up to the summit with him. Ang says that he and Shambu Tamang broke trail through deep snow until reaching the Second Step. At that point, Oscar came forward and took the lead on the rock face, scrambling up the surface, with Shambu belaying the line. Ang further goes on to say that once Oscar began up the Second Step, he was lost from sight, and shortly there after a fixed rope was dropped for the others to use to climb the section. Ang says that when he went up the rope, he reached the ladder but found it nearly useless for climbing and he continued to use the fixed rope to help him up. He didn’t think the ladder could have been used by Oscar, as it was unsteady and not helpful without a rope, which Oscar didn’t have.
Now part of the controversy brewed up when Shambu supposedly told Miss Hawley that Oscar had indeed used the ladder in his climb. Now Ang claims that he spoke to Shambu, who is a personal friend of his, and Shambu says he only told Miss Hawley about helping Oscar set the ladder for others to use.
So, what does this latest report tell us? Well, for once, that Oscar may or may not have free climbed the step, but that Shambu can’t really refute his claims. Personally, I think he did free climb it. This latest report also tells us that ExWeb is still working the story, and seem hell bent on making sure that Anker’s Altitude Everest Team no longer claim to be the first to complete the free climb. At this point, I think it’s a well beaten horse.
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