While much of the attention this week has been on Everest, where teams are preparing to make their summit bids next week, there are ongoing expeditions on other mountains in the area that are equally as challenging and dangerous.
Take for example Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world at 27,838 feet. For weeks now, the Shared Summits Team has been working the mountain, doing the usual acclimatization drills, and preparing to make their attempt on the summit, just like on any of the other major Himalayan peaks. They’ve also been sending back regular dispatches of their progress, keeping those of us following along at home updated on how things were going.
A week ago two members of the team, Chris Warner and Marty Schmidt decide to take advantage of a weather window and targeted May 6th for their summit bid, setting out from BC on the 1st. Unfortunately, that weather window didn’t remain open as they had planned, as high winds and heavy snow conspired to keep them from reaching the top of the mountain. That weather ended up trapping Chris and Marty in Camp 2 for a day and half, and during that time Warner took ill with what was feared to be either pneumonia or possibly pulmonary embolism, either of which can be deadly at high altitudes.
With that in mind, and with a little help from a nearby British team, the two climbers made their way back down the mountain to base camp, arriving there last night. With Chris’ condition continuing to deteriorate, a helicopter was dispatched to BC todday and the climber was evacuated from the mountain and taken him directly to Kathmandu for treatment. He is reportedly in good condition, and is already improving, with the drop in elevation aiding in that process no doubt. Hopefully the recovery process will continue along and Chris will be back up to strength soon.
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