Newsletter #411 September 2012
Crevasse Rescue, Golf and Birthday
The Himex team is on a day off after spending the last few days staying at C1, then going up to C2 to check the route out and for acclimatisation, returning to C1. This trip was not with out incident when Wim fell into a crevasse on the way from BC to C1, but fortunately he was clipped to the fixed line that was in place, but even so he fell 2m into the hole. Wim tells me that he placed his foot in the same place as many people had already done before, however Wim is a 92Kg ex-boxer who's weight was probably more than this snow bridge had to cope with previously. Unfortunately he hurt his ankle during the fall, but despite this he calmly called on his radio for assistance. Woody (one of the guides) was not far away and so was able to rig up a crevasse rescue system, but just then the Sherpas came by on their way down from load carrying to C2, so with many hands Wim was out of the crevasse in no time at all. He then carried on to C1, but was unable to go up to C2. Yesterday he returned to BC for breakfast along with all the other members. The final part on the rock scree he was carried by a couple of our Sherpas. It is quite incredible to see a 64Kg Sherpa carrying a 92Kg man. I am pleased to report that Wim is making a good recovery and will stay with the team and hopeful continue to the summit.
Wim was treated by Doctor Nima who is part of our team. Nima was born in Kumjung where several of our Sherpas comes from. He was educated at the Hillary school before going to Kathmandu for further education where he decided he wanted to be a doctor. He studied medicine in Tianjing in China for 5 years, then he returned to Kathmandu where he became a registered medical partitioner in Nepal 2 years later. He then decide to specialise in mountain medicine, which involved travelling to the UK then Italy where he undertook several High Altitude Medicine and Rescue courses. During his most recent trip to England he was a Paramedic both on ambulances and helicopters. He has been invaluable as an expedition doctor treating our members and Sherpas, as well as several villagers and porters.
Although we were short of rope and already we need to take up a second ladder as the edges of the crevasse where this is required are being destroyed by foot traffic, our team was able to reach C2 whilst the Sherpas were there. This was a good effort from all concerned, and once again all members were together within half an hour of the first and last.
Today is a rest day, so the Sherpas went down to Samagon for the night and are visiting Punga today before climbing back up to BC this afternoon. Not quite our idea of a rest day, but they all seemed excited to do this. But at BC Daryl who is a professional golfer has converted the volleyball court into a driving range and is proceeding to give all members lessons on how to enjoy the game of golf. Daryl is a self-employed PGA of America golf proffessional working in Europe. Some of you will remember that two years ago we had a cricket professional with us, so after much effort of shifting rocks we developed a cricket pitch at BC. Last year we developed this further so as we had enough room for a volleyball court, and now we have the highest golf driving range. This is a welcome distraction to the boredom of doing washing and taking shows after the nights at C1, and proves that we can still have fun at altitude.
To beat my boredom I was fortunate enough to be invited to some of my friends from Chamonix' s camp and to celebrate the famous skier, Glen Plake's birthday.
We also discovered Susumu "Jobs" San in our camp this last week. (We have the Steve Jobs autobiography at BC and Susumu looks a bit like Steve) Susumu used to be a physio but decided to become a medical doctor at the age of 42. He came to Lobuche Peak with Himex this last spring season and depending on how he performs on Manaslu, is interested in attempting Everest next spring. He tells me how surprised he is to see so much rubbish here, as opposed to Everest BC, and is often found poking around with a sack collecting rubbish out of the small stream beside our camp. He was also excited to have been to C2 this last week and is looking forward to the next trip there, and a new personal altitude record when he goes to C3. He is learning English and as part of this project he has undertaken to make a presentation to the team members in english after dinner each evening, and he is doing a great job doing that.