Now that the mass rush for the summit is about over, and teams are turning their sites on home, we’ve begun to hear some stories about what it’s been like on Everest this year, and what teams encountered on their climbs.
For instance, the Peak Freaks, who have been very diligent in updating their dispatches continue to do so even now, despite the fact that the team has left the mountain and is moving down the Khumbu Valley. The most recent update, posted two days ago by Scott Mortensen gives some insights into what it was like on Scott’s summit day, including an encounter with a delirious Korean climber whose bottled oxygen had run out. Scott promises another update soon, but remarks that “There is so much to say about this year on Everest. There will be a whole new batch of controversy, blame, and negativity.” He also notes that there were ” also shining stars in the darkness”. So, it seems, the stories of what has been going on up there have yet to really be told.
Similarly, James Balfour has updates his site with news of his successful summit on the 23rd of May. James was the third person to top out that day behind his guide and one of the Sherpas on his team. However, he ominously notes that “when I was back in Camp 4 (also known as the South Col) that we heard that two Koreans had died on the way up, and three others had perished on the day before.” As of this writing, I’m only aware of one confirmed death on the mountain, so we’ll have to wait to hear more on this as well.
On a good note however, the IMG Team reports that Dave Hahn has reached the summit for a record 10th time. This is the most summits by a non-Sherpa ever on Everest. Congrats Dave! His team is already back safely back in C2 after topping it out yesterday, and today is the final climbing day for IMG. You can read Dave’s dispatches exclusively over at GreatOutdoors.com.
Finally, after turning back on Everest for the second time, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has vowed “No More Mountain”. Sir Ran, who was climbing as part of the Everest Challenge Team to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care organization, turned back at 8400 meters due to exhaustion. He said that when he turned from Polar exploration to mountains he had two climbs in mind. Everest and the North Face of the Eiger. He conquered the Eiger last year, but his Everest aspirations have eluded him. No worries for Ran however, as he has another expedition planned in 2009. One that has absolutely nothing to do with mountains!
I’ve mentioned numerous times this year that I thought there would be plenty of stories to hear once communications were reestablished on the mountain, and even more so once the climbers got home. It looks like that prediction will prove to be true, as there seems to have been a lot more going on up there than what we’ve heard so far. The season may be drawing to a close quite rapidly at this point, but it may be weeks before we’ve closed the book on Everest 2008.
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