Newsletter 2726 May 2001
Jaime and Andy were slowly lead back into high camp. I cried again during their return. The radio transferred the news to ABC, where Owen called Jaime's wife and Andy's girlfriend. We had been keeping them up to date. Trying to stay one step ahead of an internet distorted media.
That afternoon, Asmuss and I lead them down to Camp 3, at 7900 meters. Phurba and Lopsang met us there with hot drinks. The next day, around 3:30 on the 25th, we stumbled into ABC. Each of us had tears in our eyes.
14 of 15 summit hopefuls reached the top. Evelyne Binsack became the first Swiss woman to reach the summit, seemingly with ease. Marco Siffredi snowboarded from the top, down an improbable line, skidding to a stop in ABC. Karsang (Tibet) became the first Yak herder to summit the mountain that stands above his house (last year, he summited Cho Oyu with Himalayan Experience, another peak he can see from his doorway). Naoki finished his seven summits and three poles. Jamie finishes his seven summits, becoming the first Gautamalan to do so. Ellen Miller became the first American woman to succesfully climb the North Ridge. Asmuss tags his second Everest summit. Andy gets his third Everest summit. Karsang has 4 Everest summit, Lopsang his third, Phurba his second and Dawa his first. And Jaime and Andy both survived the second highest forced bivouac. Jaime looks none the worse for wear, and Andy could care less about a little frost bite, now that his girlfriend accepted his marriage proposal.
Today we finished cleaning up all of our camps on the mountain. The yaks are coming tomorrow. We'll be leaving ABC over the next two days and will return to Kathmandu on June 1st.
Of course, Russ considers the expedition far from being over. His criteria involves us all safely stepping into a hot shower in Kathmandu. The seriousness of climbing Everest can't be misunderstood. Guiding Everest puts your life in even greater danger. We depended on more than excellent logistics, the kindness of freinds and the perserverance of the human spirit to climb Everest. Russ is always well aware of this and endeavors to run his expeditions as safely as possible. However, Andy, Jaime and all of us were very lucky this year.
We are packing away the computers now, and so will be off line until we reach Kathmandu. Those of you wishing to reach team members should begin to use their personal email accounts.