NEWSLETTERS - Everest Expedition 2001

Newsletter 2623 May 2001

The Russians

Back at high camp, the movement of Oxygen was our primary concern. I stumbled to the Russian Camp, in which a lone women, who spoke no English was in distress. Her three friends were missing. Her radio did not work. But it was rumored Oxygen cylinders were stored in this tent, and we had her expedition's permission to use them to help both our team and the Russians trapped above. We rigged a radio transfer in which a Russian team mate in ABC could talk to her, but we couldn't talk back. With tears in her eyes, she tried to listen, but her heart was so full of questions. She reluctantly gave me some Oxygen and two more of our Sherpas set off, laden with the precious gas.

A few hours later a Russian stumbled down to us, and as we fed him tea and dexamethazone, two new Russians climbed up to us.

"My partners are coming, only a short way back, but one has stopped breathing."
" For how long?" I asked.
"More than 15 minutes."
"Well, after 8 minutes and it is too late."
" But you are American, you must have some adrenalin or other drug to bring him back."
"OK try this." and I pulled a syringe from my kit and gave him the only injectable drug I had: dexamethasone.
"But you better get going."
Within an hour, with Sherpas, American heros, Russian optimists, and Jaime the Gautamalan, all spread along the few hundred feet of rock and snow above high camp, I noticed a flash of yellow tumbling among the rocks and through the sky. The Russian who had stopped breathing over an hour ago, slipped from the North Face of Everest. He would not have to spend eternity, as another corpse, frozen in place along the route.