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Chris Warner’s Story 6/5/2001

Chris Warner's Epic days on Everest in 2001

EverestNews.com interviewed Chris Warner for about an hour and one half today on the phone. Here is what he had to say that is publishable on this topic. Other quotes will go to other stories. Chris' remarks are in quotes. Note, this is a telephone conversation and not meant to be an article. Everestnews.com has left this raw and has not clean up it up for an "article".

Let start on the 23rd with the facts: "All the climbers Summit on the 23rd on our team except Owen West. Marco Siffredi (France) was the first to Summit I believe very early."

What time did you leave high camp? "We left high camp around 1:30 mostly as a group. Evelyne left high camp at a quarter till 1:00."

What time did you summit? "around 10:08". What time did Andy and Jaime Vinals (Guatemala) Summit ? "Around 2:30, but I am not sure [of the time] and Asmuss." [Norreslet (Danish) guide for the team]

"Around 11:30, they are above the third step. It took them around 3 hours to summit from that point. It should have taken them around 1 1/2 hours." web@everestnews2004.com

Was Russ screaming on the radio to them. Others told us he was screaming. "I would not call it screaming. But he was telling them to turn around. He told them a few times."

What happened then? "After they reached the Summit they descended to the snow pyramid above the third step. You know that snow field."

How did you know what was going on ? "The radios calls."

Who failed, and ... "Jaime was complaining about a lost of vision and he thought it was his contact lenses. Then both Andy and him are struggling to descend. This is around 4:00 pm. But Asmuss is well. They finally did descend to the 3rd step. They finally do get down the 3rd step."  web@everestnews2004.com

"They just can't move [forward] anymore. They are trashed."

"Asmuss goes for 4 oxygen bottles at the top of the second step. He gets the oxygen and brings it up to the 3rd step. This is really something. To do this after reaching the Summit by a non-Sherpa is unbelievable."

"Asmuss finds a good place for them to bivy. But Andy and Jaime won't come down to where Asmuss wants them to go."

"Asmuss, Andy and Jaime, all disagree on how many oxygen bottles made it, and on this oxygen issue. Some say 3. Jaime claims he did not use it. I was not there. At some point during the night they claim that they moved, but I am not sure what happened. But this might explain the confusion about where the oxygen bottled were in the morning and if Andy and Jaime used the oxygen during the night. "

"The critical part is when Asmus left them, he left them with at least 3 oxygen bottles. Oxygen is a vital resource for surviving the bivy."

So were the oxygen bottles with them when the climbers arrived in the morning to help them down? "I don't know."

"You know you really can't trust any facts. Climbers are like fishermen sometimes."

You mean you can't trust facts of climbers at 8000 meters ? "No."

"You know what I mean. [We do not what you mean.] People just don't know how hard it is to simply walk from one tent to another at Camp 4 [his camp 6 or high camp] without oxygen for several hours."

"The expedition does not know Andy is still up there. Around 6pm the expedition lost communication because the batteries ran out and the climbers [Andy and Jaime] could not change the batteries. Russ was on the North Col watching everything with the telescope, once it went dark at 7pm. We lost communication and could not see them."

"We think Andy is coming down. At 8:30pm I wake up Dave Hahn and we [the Himalayan Experience Everest Expedition] are sending two Sherpas up. We have Sherpas in reserve. I ask them [Dave Hahn] to bring oxygen and dexamethasome. We are just thinking Jaime is still up there. This will buy us [Himalayan Experience Everest Expedition] some time until the 2 Sherpa get up to Jaime."

" I go to sleep. I had been without oxygen on the way down and was exhausted." web@everestnews2004.com

"At about 11:30pm Asmuss comes down alone. He wakes me up. I am back on the radio. Russ in on the radio. The BC people are on the radio."

Who is the BC people? "The Sherpas at BC. They contact Russ. We are through the night talking to one another, Russ and Simonson. Simonson had different radios so we could not hear what they were saying. This made things hard. Simonson, keep coming on the radio."

"It is impossible for these guys to descend if they don't walk. They have to be walking. Finally the American get to the Russians. "

"The sun comes out. You know what happens when the sun comes out." Climbers who were dead suddenly can walk again. "Yes".

"The Americans get to Jaime and Andy at around 6:30 to 7:30am. They, Andy and Jaime can't stand up. They can talk and answer questions that make sense. They get up after given dexamethasome and oxygen. It takes 45 to 1:15 minutes for them to get going. A long time."

"Dave and Jaime go and Tap, Jason and Andy". I don't know the order. Andy has the most damage. They get to the top of the second step. If they can't walk they are dead. You know, if you can't walk, you are dead. These guys can't carry them down. They have to walk down or they are dead. They are traveling slow. Jaime rappelled, by himself down the second step. Phurba Sherpa arrives at the second step and takes over with Jaime. Andy Politz arrives at some point. Lobsang Sherpa arrives around the first step. He has oxygen, supplies, everything he can carry. The load. In addition we have oxygen stacked on the ridge in case. 2 more of our Sherpas come up. These last 2 Sherpas get there at the exit cracks. They arrive back at Camp 6 (our high camp 4) at 4:30pm. They have not talked to me about who else was up there."

Do you know if anyone got to Andy and Jaime before the Americans?

"The American Sherpas were there too. They or one of them might have gotten to Andy and Jaime before Dave, Jason, and Tap. Other climbers might have gotten there first and helped, I don't know! There were 2 American Sherpas. They [other climbers] took their oxygen and told them to get down at some point."

You mean the Sherpa when down without oxygen? "Yes."web@everestnews2004.com

"To emphasize if Jaime can move our 2 Sherpa can get him down. It is hard to say what if. To play the what if game.... But by Andy being there too, we needed a team effort. Jaime, I believe, could have been bought down by the 2 Sherpa. But, too many what ifs."

"The Spanish were great guys. I don't know where they were on Summit day [the 24th]. They did not know there was trouble. Only the Americans knew about this because I woke them. I don't know anyone who refused to help or who did not help. No one told me anyone refused to help. Others played roles too. I am not sure who actually got to them [Andy and Jaime] first. And if Andy and Jaime don't walk they are dead. I mean you could walk right by these guys when Andy and Jaime are walking and not know anything is wrong. I mean this is 8000 meters plus."

This information, who did you talk to? Where is it from ? "The whole team and group. Dave, Andy, Tap, Jason, Andy, Jaime, the radio, and the others, everybody. We have been spending a lot of time together after that day. Everyone is getting along well."

"The Sherpas never get any credit. You know how it is. These men work their tails off, without them they probably would not have---" He stops. web@everestnews2004.com

"The Sherpas Russ has are ace guys. What they did was beyond what a climber like us can do. It was a team effort by several people."

Chris Warner as told to EverestNews.com on June 5, 2001.


Himalayan Experience Everest Expedition 2001 

The 2001 Himalayan Experience Everest Expedition: The Team

Climbers perspectives and reporting at 8000 meters

The Jaime Vinals report

The Chris Warner report (two parts).

Eric Simonson's report

The Mountaineering Must Haves


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