ExplorersWeb Week in Review

Posted: May 21, 2007 03:00 am EDT

Since Tuesday, close to three hundred climbers have reached the top of the world via the normal routes from both sides of Everest. Summit pushes are still on, Adventure Consultants reported from the South summit at the time of writing (Sunday 11 pm EST). A long spell of good weather triggered a massive summit push last week, four people however giving their life for the dream. One of the world's greatest adventurers, Oh Hee-joon from Korea fell to his death while attempting a new route on the highly difficult SW face of Everest. More difficult climbing is currently ongoing on Manaslu, Nuptses NW ridge, Annapurna and Kangchenjunga.

Weekend summit wave on Everest Abramov's both teams summited from the north side this past weekend. Team Guide Sergey Kofanov reportedly found a climber in bad shape at 8300 meters, and organized a small rescue team. After spending two days out in the deathzone, the Italian climber was brought down to the North Col and was able to walk the last steps on his own.

Nives Meroi and Romano Benet summit Everest W/O O2 Nives Meroi and Romano Benet summited Everest via the North Col route without supplementary O2 support. This is their 9th, 8000er (plus a disputed summit on Shisha Pangma).

Duncan Chessell: Manny Pizarro robbed and abandoned by Sherpa after summiting Everest - being helped down by DCXP's sirdar Manuel Pizarro, a.k.a. Manny the Canadian, whose BC logistics are provided by Arun treks and climbing with a personal high-altitude Sherpa summited May 17 with borrowed crampons (from DCXP) after his were stolen," Duncan reported. "Then he ran out of oxygen at the Second Step on the way down, and his Sherpa abandoned him but the worse was yet to come. In fact, when Manny got back to High Camp at 8,300m he found out his tent, stove, and extra oxygen had been all cleaned out, and his faithless Sherpa was nowhere to be seen"

Banjo Bannon's open letter to Everest climbers: Remember David Sharp As hundreds of climbers migrate up Everest, Irish climber Terence "Banjo" Bannon reminded about his climbing friend David Sharp who, one year ago, also stepped on top of the world - but never made it back.

Japanese climber perishes shortly after summiting Everest A 62-year-old Japanese climber died shortly after reaching the summit of Everest from the north side. The climber collapsed shortly after starting the descent, according to a report by expedition leader Yoshitomi Okura.

10x8,000er summiteer Oh Hee-Joon and Lee Hyun-Jo lost on Everests SW face Oh Hee-joon, 37, and Lee Hyun-jo, 34, both members of the Park Young-Seok expedition on Everest's SW face, fell to their deaths while attempting the summit. The seven-member Korean team aimed for a new route on the highly difficult SW face of Everest. Oh was one of the leading climbers in South Korea he had previously summited 10 of the 8,000ers four of them only last year. He had also skied to both Poles without support.

Thomas Bubendorfer's off the beaten track Everest attempt: Its over Ive been twice on the face and it looks dangerous, with loose snow powdering the 1,000m-long wall, Thomas wrote in an explanatory email after aborting his expedition. All potential avalanches would go down the couloir I meant to climb.

Everest unarmed: It's over He lost both his arms in a high voltage accident at age 12, and later won 11 gold medals in the Olympics for the disabled. In 1994, he skied to the South Pole unsupported and all the way from Berkner Island. Last year, he summited Cho Oyu "unarmed." Last week Norwegian Cato Zahl Pedersen however had to give up his Everest attempt due to crowding at the second step.

Paramotor pilots claim to fly over Everest - lands on top of... Dan Mazur! Two British paramotor pilots claims to have paraglided over Everest on Monday. Everest commercial expedition leader Dan Mazur (who rescued Lincoln Hall last year) was reportedly hit by one of the landing parachutes near Pheriche village and he's not so sure about the altitude reached. I am not sure how high you flew, but, you didnt fly over Everest, because you never left the area above the Pheriche plateau, as far as I could tell, Mazur said referring to Discovery Channel's TV host Bear Grylls, who claims to have reached 29,500 ft and seen Everest from Above. And anyway, I already saw someone do that, very loudly, in 2004, Mazur pointed out. The incident of course brings to mind the spectacular over Everest flight of British Microlight pilot Richard Meredith-Hardy and Italian hang-glider pilot Angelo DArrigo who stunned the entire mountain in 2004 as they came soaring toward the summit. When Angelo DArrigo later perished in a freak accident, he left behind the wild birds he'd taught to fly, and a world of fellow explorers whose respect he had earned through his great spirit of adventure.

Everest cell phone service gone with the Chinese "The large Chinese is now an empty shell, only a little has been dismantled so far but when the wind stops I am guessing the neat lines of tents will be rapidly stripped," Jamie McGuinness reported. "So far the truck-mounted mobile phone tower, has yet to leave, although when I asked, was told it might go today. There is a smaller, lower capacity repeater, but i am guessing that the 3G services, including receiving and sending videos by phone will stop."

Rope fixing on the south side Mountain Madness was the first Everest south side team to reach the top this year on Wednesday only that day 22 climbers summited from Nepal. Mountain Madness reports that Willie Benegas and Tendi Sherpa left south col before everyone else and fixed the lines from the balcony to above the Hillary step in really poor weather. The entire Mountain Madness team summited by 7.30 am, one hour before another team arrived. Summiteers were Willie Benegas, Eric Dalzell, Bjorn Evensen, Eirik Tryti, Tendi Sherpa, Oundi Sherpa, Chongba Sherpa, Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa, Tsering Wangchuk Sherpa, Nima Sherpa, and Maila Tamang,) all of them there by 7:30 am.

Youngest 7 summiteer Samantha Larson from California became the youngest 7 summiteer when summiting on Wednesday at age 18.

Everest traverses David Tait and Phurba Sherpa reached the summit on May 15 from Tibet, and traversed down to Nepal, reaching C2 that same day. Tait has decided not to retrace his steps back to the summit and down the north side. There might be some supermen in this world, but I discovered that I am frankly not one of them, he wrote on Friday. All three Filipinas of the Pinay Mount Everest Expedition Team reached the summit on Wednesday from Tibet, and descended down the Nepal side. No female climber had traversed Everest before. Gavin Bate hoped to attempt the summit of Everest from Tibet on Saturday and descend via Nepal.

Gutsy Prague Mayor Pavel Bem bags the summit. When Pavel was refused entry by the Chinese government he topped out from Nepal instead.

IMG summited their first group this weekend, the second team is at the North Col and will be climbing tonight (Sunday). Non-Sherpa Summiteers were Salazar Cortes Benjamin (Mexico), James Stoddard Waldron(USA), Al Hancock (Canada), and Andre Bredenkamp (South Africa).

Adventure Consultants summited Also this weekend, AC climbers reached the summit already at 5.00 am with the first rays of the sun. Sherpas Lhakpa Dorjee, Nima Dorjee and Pasang Bhote reached the top first, followed by Mike Roberts and Cedric Hayden. Mike said there were approximately 25 other climbers on the summit May 20, with many climbers arriving from also from the North side. A second AC group is enroute t summit tonight.

On summit push is also a Serbian expedition, the "Extreme Summit Team" from Belgrade attempting to climb the north side.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner: How have I survived something like this? Santiago Sagaste and Ricardo Valencia died a couple of meters away from me on May 13, Gerlinde wrote in a update from the tragedy on Dhaulagiri last weekend. They were buried under an avalanche luckily, I was able to dig my way out from my tent. Those were very scary hours, and I cant stop asking myself how have I managed to survive Gerlinde explains her tent was also buried under the avalanche, but not completely flattened she had a small space to breath. With a pocket knife she had at hand, she cut the tents canvas open and dug upward for half an hour (there was half a meter of snow above her) until she made a hole, and managed to climb out.

Annapurna climbers on their marks The two teams on Annapurnas north side are ready to climb the 3,900 vertical meters from BC to the summit, as soon as the weather settles down. The Spaniards are still recovering from the deaths of former mates Ricardo and Santiago, but theyve kept the motivation and the will to deal with loads of snow, an 800m-long spur and a scary-looking serac on the way to the top.

"Laptop broken, mp3 broken, down to my last book. Time to go up" Andrew Lock reports that he and Serge will join with the Spanish team today with a view to reopening the route to Camp 2, then up the German ridge to camp 3 around 6500 metres, then to find a way over the serac barrier and up the ramp to place a camp 4 around 7400 metres, and from there to the top. "We leave early tomorrow (Sunday) morning and hope to be back down by the end of the week.'

Amical: Summit push, take two Ralfs Amical team launched a second summit bid on Manaslu on Tuesday.

Italians on Nuptses NW ridgeOn Thursday Everest climbers reported on two mystery climbers dealing with a difficult route on nearby Nuptse. The men are actually Italians Diego Giovannini and Massimiliano Gasperetti, and their goal is the 6,000m-long, 3,000m-tall NW ridge. The climbers hope to complete their first ascent, and call the resulting new route the Fantasic Ridge.

Kangchenjunga: Cadiachs team ready for a summit bid Alone on Kangch, read an SMS sent by Oscar Cadiach to ExplorersWeb. Wait good weather try summit alpine style from 6,800m. Best w. Oscar.

Russians leaving for K2s west face on Sunday Victor Kozlovs Russian team cant afford to waste a single day of the Karakorum climbing season to achieve their ambitious goal: a new route on K2s west face. So theyre flying from Moscow to Islamabad on May 20 this upcoming Sunday.

Cho Oyu summits Amical Alpins climbers Albert Huber, Nicolas Touboul, Michi Wärthl and Alois Bogenschütz summited on may 4. Days later Kazakhs Serguey Lavrov, Alexey Raspopov and Artjom Skopin (all from Almaty) and Ukrainian Igor Kushnir topped-out as well.

Victor Boyarskys debrief on Barneo Ice Station 2007 season After a rough season at Barneo their airstrip was destroyed by inclement weather the seasonal station on the Arctic Ice closed down on the last day of April. Now station manager Victor Boyarsky has given a recap on the season with a summary of activities held and the expeditions who visited the base.

Rosie Stancer: 88th among leads and cracking iceYesterday Rosie reached the 88th degree and also broke the 300 mile marker. She reported on a low coming from the south of her bringing driving snow, cold winds and a continued whiteout her way. She also has been encountering a large amount of open water leads and thin ice. Friday was her day 73 on the ice.

Bendigo Bank Greenland expedition completed We arrived at our expedition destination the waters of Sondre Stromfjord, which reach out to the sea on the western coast, reported Roger, Rob and Linda on May 15. Id imperfectum manet dum confectum erit (Its not over till its over!), they wrote. British Geared up team also crossed the Island from coast to coast this past week.

Arctic Arc: Hopes to complete the planned crossing fading Since they set off from the Pole on April 26, Dixie and Alain have been forced to proceed on foot most of the time, due to the chaotic ice. The chances of completing the entire route as foreseen (all the way to the south of Greenland) are diminishing.

Bhavik Gandhi update: An end in sight After 10 weeks, 2,449 nautical miles, a rudder malfunction and a trip-threatening leak, Bhavik Gandhi is looking toward the end of his trans-Atlantic rowing expedition. I hope to reach the Caribbean in the next four to five weeks, factoring in the current problem of making water and rowing without the rudder, he said.

Read these stories - and more! - at ExplorersWeb.com

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A huge number of climbers have crowded the upper slopes of the north side, creating jams at the fixed ropes and adding up dozens of summits. Summit picture shot today courtesy of Norwegian Hamars till Topps expedition (click to enlarge).