Turkish climbers about David Sharp: "He was not part of a team"

Posted: Jun 05, 2006 10:45 pm EDT

Three weeks after his death on Everest, the story of David Sharp is slowly coming together, in spite of the silence surrounding his death - significantly from Russell Brice and Himex.

On May 14, David climbed "alone" on his third Everest attempt. He ran out of oxygen and was found sitting helpless at 8400 meters later that night. <cutoff>

Mark Inglis who was one of the climbers to pass him told media that David "had no oxygen, no proper gloves, things like that." Mark said that he radioed Russ, who said, "look mate, you can't do anything. You know, he's been there X number of hours, been there without oxygen, you know, he's effectively dead."

<b>First encounter short of midnight</b>

David was found at the rock cave - only 100 altitude meters and a 1-2 hour climb from high camp. Piecing together the summit reports, ExWeb found that on the 14th, 12 members from HIMEX and a number of people from India climbed with David to the summit and might have seen him in distress already then. On the 15th, at least 30 people passed by the dying climber, most from the Turkish and Himex team.

The Turkish climbers started out at 10 pm on the 14th, and should have reached David already before midnight. Himex started out by midnight, reaching the climber around 1-2 am. Climbers told ExWeb that not only Mark Inglis, but at least two more climbers from Himex team contacted Russ on at least three occasions thourought the day for advice on how to proceed when passing David. All were instructed to continue their climb.

<b>The Turkish climbers' report</b>

At 10.30 am that morning, close to 12 hours after David was first found, Sherpa wearing helmet cameras came upon David Sharp and the following was captured on film. "What is your name," asked the Sherpas. "My name is David Sharp, I'm with Asian Trekking, and I just want to sleep," replied the climber. After that, the Sherpas too were told to return back down.

No entries were made in the Turkish and Himex dispatches about David Sharp, and ExplorersWeb contacted both teams for comments end last week. The Turkish climbers replied already on Sunday, but three weeks after David's death, there has still been no comment from Himex.

The Turkish climbers report that they had their hands full on their summit push. One of their own became seriously ill at the Second Step and the Sherpas and some of the climbers spent hours to help her down. After the climber was relatively stabilized it was decided that the rest of the team members should continue to summit, however, "differing from our climbing principles, to descend as fast as they could without losing time by waiting each other."

<b>David was sitting up</b>

Four made the summit and the climbers write that they coped with their own emergency because they behaved as a team:

"An event which would end up as a tragedy if it wasn't dealt with as a team had been overcame with planned and organized work. As a matter of fact, while we were experiencing this, there had been a tragedy on the climbing route. A mountaineer, who started climbing alone at the May 14th, had a problem at 8500 meters."

The Turkish write that their first two climbers passed David on the night of May 14th. They thought that David was a climber who had only stopped to rest. According to them, David was sitting up and they urged him to go on, but David responded "in a restrained way."

The Turkish climbers figure that David might have fallen asleep shortly after because when the rest of the team reached him about 15 minutes later, David was motionless. These climbers in turn thought that David was a dead climber, such as "green boots" who lay close by (Ed note: The Indian climber perished on the same spot a few years back and still remains there).

<b>"He had no team"</b>

The Turkish climbers passed David again on May 15th, on descent. They write, "Although our team members were in the middle of their own rescue operation, when they understood that David Sharp had vital signs, they tried to bring him back to life."

"However, like many other mountaineers on the route, David Sharp had spent hours on high altitude and was in a not reversible phase because of experiencing a problem all alone for a long time - and not having a team that he climbed together with that would know his condition; when he started climbing, his plan and the most important, who he was. Consequently, neither our team members, nor other Sherpas and climbers interventions were enough to bring David Sharp to life. And he also took his place with history like the other eight mountaineers that we have lost this year on the Northeast Ridge Route of Everest."

<b>The team issue</b>

According to other sources, David Sharp was in fact part of an International team who were aware that he was missing but had issued no alert for him on the mountain.

One of the members, Everest speed climber Christian Stangl told ExWeb today that there was no official expedition leader in the Asian Trekking Expedition: "The 'International Asian Trekking' Group consisted of independent climbers. No leader was nominated," said Stangl.

Sources however say that after learning of David Sharp's conditions and what expedition he belonged to by lunch May 15, Russell Brice went over to the "unofficial" team leader of the Asian trekking group; Georghe Dijmarescu, according to the source. He asked George "are you missing someone?"
"Yeah we have one who hasn't made it back yet," replied Georghe.

Another of the team members, Everest veteran Brazilian climber Vitor Negrete, dispatched May 16 on his own summit push that he had just learned that David had died. (That was the first time the death was mentioned by anyone on the mountain.) In addition, someone had emptied a cache left by the Brazilians in C2, containing gear and food.

All these events have affected me deeply - I even considered calling the attempt off, said Vitor, who himself perished May 18 on descent from the summit.

<i>May 15, the Turkish expedition reported to ExWeb that four of their members reached the summit that day and Elif became the first Turkish woman to climb Mount Everest. She reached the summit first, followed by Serkan, Soner and Haldun later. Burcak, another female member of the team, wasn't feeling well and had to return back from around 8400-8500 m. Serhan and Bora, who were climbing without supplementary oxygen and therefore following others from behind, helped her down to Camp 3 together with Sherpas.

The first official Turkish Everest expedition included 6 (out of 9) climbers from Turkey who had already climbed over 8000 meters. Among them were two female athletes who were the first Turkish women to climb an 8000er.

Team members were: Bora Mavis, Burcak Ozoglu Pocan (female), Eylem Elif Mavis (female), Hakan Kocakulak, Haldun Ulkenli, Meltem Colak Ozmine, Mustafa Cihan, Serhan Pocan, Serkan Girgin, Soner Buyukatalay, and Suna Yilmaz.

Turkish team, 12 people passing Sharp
May 15th Summit/near summit (leaving Camp 3 at 10 pm May 14)
Eylem Elif Mavis
Serkan Girgin
Sooner Buyukatalay
Memduh Haldun Ulkenli
Burcak Ozoglu Pocan fainted and turned around at 2nd step
Serhan Pocan - no 02 - helped Burcak down
Bora Mavis - no O2 - helped Burcak down
5 x Sherpa

HIMEX team, 15 people passing Sharp
May 15th Summiteers (leaving camp at midnight)
Mark Woodward, NZ, (3rd summit)
Shaun Hutson, UK
Mark Whetu, NZ, (4th summit)
Wayne Alexander, NZ,
Mark Inglis, NZ
Robert Killup, Australia
Maxime Chaya, Lebanon
Wangbe, Tibet
Son Dorjee, Nepal (5th summit)
Tashi Phinjo, Tibet, (4th summit)
Dorji Sonam Gyalgen, Nepal, (6th summit)
Phubu Tsering, Tibet, (3rd summit)
Tenzing, Tibet, (4th summit)
Dorjee, Tibet
Lakpa Nuru, Nepal

Other, 5 people passing David Sharp
May 15th, Summit/near summit
Dale Abenojar, Tsiring Sherpa
Ravichandran Tharumalingam (alone) Malaysia
Valdimir Lande (summit 15th, 9.00am) Nima Sherpa</i>

#Mountaineering #feature

May 15, the expedition reported to ExWeb that four members reached the summit that day and Elif became the first Turkish woman to climb Mount Everest. She reached the summit first, followed by Serkan, Soner and Haldun later. The expedition say that David died in parts because he was climbing alone. Image of the team courtesy of the expedition website.
The story was poignant as it followed shortly after another set of events, where a large party of climbers on summit push left another mountaineer to die.
Image by Photo SeracFilms/Graphics by ExplorersWeb courtesy Explorersweb, SOURCE