"We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! AND WE SURVIVED!" This were Australian Andrew Lock's first written words right after reaching back BC from the summit of Annapurna.
"Whew, back down from the top which we reached about 3.20pm on Thursday 24th, after an epic climb," Lock continued.
Too much to bear for eeryone but Ivan, Andrew and Fernando
"(After) ascending to camp 2 on Sunday, we pulled the fixed ropes out of the ice on Monday as we continued up to camp 3. It was an extremely technical climbing, including grade 5 overhanging ice on the major serac band, which stopped us at camp 3 for an extra day, forcing us to camp for two nights below very unsable seracs."
"This was too much for some of the team who decided to retreat to BC. Serguey incurred in nasty snow blindness and could not continue, so just Ivan, Fernando and I continued over the serac band to open the route to camp 4 in extremely heavy snow conditions on Wednesday."
"We were unable to reach our planned C4 at 7400m. Instead we had to make camp at around 7100 metres, managing in a tiny 2-person summit tent, with 1 sleeping bag for the 3 of us!"
Horror nights and scary days
"After a horrible sleepless night we set out at 4.30am and climbed through the day on steep, exposed and unstable slopes, to finally perch ourselves on the knife edge summit on Thursday afternoon."
"A quick photo and a long down climb saw us endure another horror night at camp 4 before descending all the way to bc last night."
"Wow! I'm in awe of the climb, the conditions, our success and our survival and can say that this was the most demanding but rewarding 8,000 meters+ climb I've done to date."
Iñaki and Horia: Still they tried again
Right at the time Ivan, Andrew and Fernando set foot the top, Iñaki and Horia were seting off from BC once again, hoping to climb all night long and reach the summit through an express, non-stop climb. At 1:00 a.m. they reached C3, but by then the wind was to strong to proceed. "We are back in BC - it's over," wrote Iñaki. We will have to come back someday."
All 10 climbers attempting the German route on Annapurna's north side were stopped by a menacing overhanging serac above C3 on Wednesday. It took them all day to overcome the seracs, in very exposed conditions, and the route above looked not much better. Bogomolov reported that Iñaki Ochoa told him in Russian: "I am not a mad man," and turned back. So did Romanian Horia Colibasanu, and Spaniards Edurne Pasaban, and Asier Izaguirre, as well as Edurne's team two Sherpas.
Russian Seguey Bogomolov turned back on the following morning from C4, suffering from snow blindness.
Andrew Lock, Ivan Vallejo and Fernando Gonzalez Rubio remained up and very early on Thursday set off from camp toward the summit - which they reached after 14 hours. Now Annapurna has become Andrews 12th, 8000er (with Makalu and Shisha Pangma to go); Ivans 13th who now has a pendant account with Dhaulagiri, and Fernandos 5th (he has previously summited Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat and Cho Oyu).
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