Climbers hanging from a sling near C4 (7,400m) on Annapurna in the highest chopper rescue ever performed.
Image by Air Zermatt Switzerland/Fishtail Air Nepal courtesy Air Zermatt Switzerland/Fishtail Air Nepal Menno Boermans, SOURCE
ExplorersWeb Week in Review

Posted: May 04, 2010 01:33 am EDT
This past week was all about Annapurna with 24/7 coverage by ExWeb staff and volunteers. Other news involved a brand new Himalaya heli rescue service and an avalanche on Everest. Here goes a fast wrap of what has been up and what's ahead.

Annapurna: The final summit push took place in spiking wind. But Annapurna had 19 summits in one day - a record number. That included two new 14x8000ers summiteers: Korean Miss Oh - live on KBS TV network- as the first woman in the world to ever achieve the feat, and Polish Piotr Pustelnik, bagging Anna at last. Other summiteers were Slovak Peter Hamor, Polish Kinga Baranowska, Russians Bogomolov and Vinogradsky, Spaniards Carlos Pauner, Juanito Oiarzabal, Tolo Calafat, Jorge Egocheaga, Martin Ramos, and Romanian Horia Colibasanu. Unfortunately, another record number was due: as the seventh straight year with casualties on the mountain. Descent was hard on everyone with several cases of altitude problems and frostbite. The exhausted Spanish Tolo Calafat passed away after two days in the open at 7600 meters. In vain, a Sherpa searched for the climber for 11 hours carrying O2 and supplies. A heli search was also unsuccessful.

Nepalese Fishtail Air and Swiss Air Zermatt rescue chopper airlifted all climbers who remained in C4 (7000 meters) - Carlos Pauner, Juanito Oiarzabal and Horia Colibasanu - in the highest longline rescue in history. This was the new operation's second record rescue in one week. The first missions took them to Kyajo Ri, where the body of a Danish climber was recovered, while earlier last week on Manaslu 7 Korean climbers were rescued from 6,500m, with one missing and one confirmed dead. The chopper showed up just hours after the Koreans called SOS. "It's been an amazing feat," Spaniards on the mountain commented.

But it wasn't over for Miss Oh: Instead of savouring the joy of becoming the world's first 14x8000ers lady summiteer, Korean Oh Eun-Sun is having a tough time. Miss Hawley has decided that her Kangchenjunga summit will remain disputed until Edurne changes her mind; while the Korean lady also fights criticism from Annapurna. Today Monday Miss Oh and Black Yak rejected all accusations, stating they cut no rope and also that they can only ask, not force, their sherpas to aid in a rescue.

Everest north side: A Hungarian climber escaped an avalanche which sadly took his climbing mate. The search for Irvine has gone undercover while on the north face, Gerlinde and Ralf are facing the first difficulties.

Everest south side: Simone and Denis fixing the route to the summit this week? Simone Moro, Aldo Garioni and Denis Urubko took a chopper back to Kathmandu for some rest and thick air. The three planned for an early summit push on O2, ahead of other teams including the rope fixing sherpas. What happens after that is still up in the air.

ExWeb editorial: brave new Everest for a changing market A report stating that it has been decided on Everest south side that no western climbers are allowed on the mountain while sherpas fix the route spurred ExWeb founder Tina Sjogren to design a new strategy for changing times.

Dhaulagiri: Iranian summits reported Iran Mountain Zone reported that Irans national expedition topped out Dhaulagiri April 26th.

Other Himalayan peaks: Park Young-Seok has abandoned his original plan to open an entirely new route and is instead eyeing a variation of the Bonington route on the south side of Annapurna. Chris Warner and Marty Schmidt have changed their plans on Makalu. A big British Expedition, attempting the SE ridge for the third time with Sherpas and bottled oxygen, are reportedly doing well so far on the mountain while the large, well organized Ukrainian team has been fighting for every meter on the SW Face. 6 or 7 expeditions are on the normal route. On Shisha Pangma, Mario Panzeri's team is ready for a summit push once the weather settles, possibly together with the Al Filo team. Right after Annapurna, it feels weird to celebrate another puja in yet another BC, Edurne reported. We were following the drama on Annapurna, feeling it very close and yet too far away (we couldn´t go there and help) but now at last I'm focused on the climb ahead.

Latest news: Philippe Gatta summited Ama Dablam yesterday in pretty rough conditions. Russians have launched a summit push on Lhotse while it's over for Ben Clark on Baruntse.

Teen girls sail update: One teen standing The autopilot problems for Abby Sunderland got too big last week and she has decided to pull in to Cape Town for repairs. This effectively put and end to her non-stop solo circumnavigation. But Jessica Watson still has to finish, and she battled hard seas last week.

La Niña's parallel world: The Poles Predicting is a way to prove an understanding in the climate weather world; it is usually the only way to prove ones prowess, said Canadian Arctic meteorological observer, Wayne Davidson, to ExWeb. See also two Arctic video clips about NP skiers in the story.

Greenland update: Polar bears and crevasses Teams who planned to start in April are on the ice after the delay by the Island volcanic ashes. Two Brits who attempt a speed crossing said they were slowed down by the presence of polar bears. A police helicopter checked the area and gave them an all clear. Some teams reported crevasses at the start.

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