Hidden Peak - camp 2, 6,500m / Base 5,220 m, 35th day of the
Our camp 2 is the beginning of "Japanese
Corridor", a cut in the magnificent Northwest wall of Hidden Peak. It's a cut
is this aisle, the technically the most difficult part of all climb, around 200
meters, very vertical. Unfortunately many people have lost their lives in that part,
principally when they were descending or with bad weather. We woke up very early today (at
4:00 am) to do a recognition is that delicate part, but we think it's not need to
put fixed ropes.
We were amazed by the good weather and a big wish to follow
towards the summit, but it's very important to respect our bodies. Although we are all
very well, we are aware it's not the right time yet. So, we did a long
descending to base-camp for a deserved rest. We intend to return to Hidden Peak within a
few days to have the final attack.
You can see some of our tents at camp 2 in Hidden Peak
at 6,500 m. In the back appear Gasherbrum 5 and 6 (from the right to the left). Abele
Blanc and Pepe Garces are next to the tent.
It's a pleasure to send you this message from
base-camp, after three important work days at high altitudes.
Our camp 2 is set at 6,500m. The hardest part of the climb,
the "Japanese Corridor", where we did a recognition and found some
good conditions. This means that we are in good conditions to go the final attack
towards the summit of Hidden Peak. With our strategy to stay in high altitudes
as short as possible, avoiding unnecessary worn to our body.
We're going to rest at base-camp, the weather is terrific.
Our idea is to return to camp 2, set a third camp at 7,200 m of altitude and
then go to 8,068 m of the highest of the Gasherbrums - Hidden Peak. We hope to do our next
attack within the next days, let's cheer for good weather.
The nice weather is also moving other expeditions.
Unfortunately those who go to Gasherbrum aren't so lucky. There is much snow, sometimes up
to waist, becoming a very hard job. A Korean displaced snow plate and went
down on an avalanche about 100m, and had just some scratches.
Today is Sunday, it's a shower day, it's time to call family
and friends. I leave you a photo where I appear in front of my tent. Regards
The trade paperback has three
new chapters in addition to what appears in the mass market paperback (the
small one). Those three chapters:
EVEREST UPDATE: A RESPONSE TO JON
KRAKAUER: This is a 14,000+ word history and analysis of the Boukreev-Krakauer
A REVIEW FROM THE AMERICAN
ALPINE CLUB,This is a reprint of Galen Rowell's review of THE CLIMB that ran in the 1998
edition of THE AMERICAN ALPINE JOURNAL.
MOUNTAIN MADNESS EVEREST DEBRIEFING: A TRANSCRIPT
This is a verbatim transcript of the audio-taped debriefing of the Mountain Madness
Expedition members, made five days after the tragedy.
Source: Weston DeWalt
Daily News: 6/29/99 Report
On May 12, 1999, Lev Sarkisov (2/12/38) became the oldest man
to summit Everest . He climbed Everest in the morning and stayed at the summit for approx.
1 hour. He descended to the South Col at 1600 hrs. on the same day. He was part of the
Caucasus Everest Expedition 1999 organized by Asian-Trekking.
Lev Sarkisov is one of
those very strong climbers few know about in the US that we love to report on. Lev
Sarkisov, started to climb in 1962. Hopefully, many of you know from the RISK web site,
that in former USSR and Russia mountain climbing is a sport with championships and cups.
In his 37 years of climbing Lev received all existing champion titles according to our
sources. He reached all 7 000 m peaks in former USSR and got the title of Ounce of snow, a
very famous title in Russia. In his climbing he always had priority of reaching
technically hardest routes. A lot of first ascents and first passing in mountains of
Caucasus, Pamir and Tyan-Shan.
Since 1975 until 1991, he was a coach of Caucasus club. All Georgian climbers trying to
reach this spring summit from the both sides of Everest was his pupils at one time or
Presently Lev is member of Alpindustria club. He is doing high-altitude guiding jobs not
just because to keep him self in climbing shape but also to support his family.
The last few years he climbed Pick of Victory (Pobeda) in Pamir, McKinley and support
climbing of Mt. Kazbeck (5047 m) with 5 handicaps young men.
Do to the week economy conditions in Georgia, this was his first attempt to climb a
Lev is an ethnic Armenian from Georgia, who has become the oldest person to summit Everest
beating the record of Spaniard Ramon Blanco who reached the summit when he was 60 years,
160 days old in 1993. Congratulations to Lev and his family !
This is Lev Sarkisov's Q&A, with pictures at the end.
Q.) First Lev, we must tell you Everest News has heard many good things about
you from climbers on the mountain and your friends in Georgia. As we understand it, you
have been a mountain guide for many years. How did all these years of experience prepare
you for Everest ?
A.) Thank you for good words. Many of climbers
themselves are praiseworthy.
I am climbing about 40 years, 30 years I use to coach
military climbers team. This experience did help me with technical and tactic problems on
Q.) Was Everest what you expected ?
A.) I had lots of information about Everest from books
and climbers. So it was not nothing unexpected.
I was just too concentrate on my health. I mean, I was
fine. I just did not know, how my 60 years old body will react on high altitude of this
mountain. I was worry, that, if I will feel bad, all expedition will be canceled. Our team
members never leave each other alone during climbing. I did not want for them to spend
their time and power taking care on me. Hopefully, I did feel my self strong and healthy
and even did reach summit earlier, than much more younger climbers.
Q.) How do you compare climbing a mountain of the size of
Everest with other mountains you have climbed ?
A.) I did climb all 7000 and higher mountains in former
USSR, few of them by most difficult ways. This extra 1000 meters to climb on Everest was
not very easy, but in same time can not be compared with extra difficulty of this other
Q.) Did the Everest number of climbers bother you ?
A.) Absolutely not. We did made lots a friends from whole
Q.) What do you think about all the use of Sherpa and fixed
A.) Undoubtedly this was not real sportive climbing. If
our team could do it ourselves, we would be more satisfied. But this is too selfish.
Hundreds of people will loose their chance to reach highest point of the World without
help of Sherpas. Also this helps to make economy of time, human and financial resources.
Q.) Tell us about your summit day, we know some climbers
turned around. How was the weather and conditions?
A.) We had information that May, 12 wind should be down.
It was truth. Night 11-12 of May was wind, but since morning wind was not as strong.
Weather was just perfect. One difficulty we had, as climbing one of first, we did step on
very deep snow. This did slow down our speed little bit. On the summit crest I had strong
filling, that can reach summit successfully.
Q.) Was Summit day harder or easier than you expected?
tell us about how it felt.
A.) Easier for sure. This time on the summit we were so
busy picturing each other, recording our greetings to people of Georgia and Armenia. I did
open medallion with pictures of my two grand daughters and did send my happy thoughts to
my family. It was a joy. I did take oxygen mask off and goggles too and fill my self
Q.) Was coming down hard ?
A.) Coming down was danger till 8 000 meters. Lots place
to expect accidental falls, no ropes. I did take my goggles off on the top. I felt
discomfort wearing them. I did pay for this by temporary blindness. Actually I did come
down on voice of my team members. After 8 000 meters point no problems at all.
Q.) How did it feel to be back in Base camp ?
A.) Just in 3rd day after coming back I start to feel,
that everything is over. Great satisfaction and happiness.
Q.) What is next for Lev ?
A.) Right after we was back at Base Camp we start to make
future plans. Our desires are to finish 7 summits and to climb K2. So... If we will have
sponsors again, we will have whole World.
Thank you too. Your site was very helpful for my
family. Best regards from Georgia. Welcome to Caucasus mounts.
This week, Everest News will post at least two Q&A's from
climbers on Everest this Spring. Many more to follow.
Everest News also will post our review to date of the
"Questioned Summits" from this spring. (Planned for Wednesday's News).
Daily News: 6/27/99 Report
Everest News and Notes from Everest Spring 1999:
Henry Todd did make an attempt at the Summit of Everest this Year.
On 5/18/99, David Mellor and Henry attempted the Summit from Camp 4. Reliable sources tell
Everest News, that Henry and David decided the weather was too bad and turned round at the
Balcony. We must say it would have been nice if Henry could have made it. Henry has helped
so many in their attempts on Everest over the years. Henry also has assisted with many
rescues and problems over the years, never seeking the limelight. Henry is safe off
leading another climb, so there is always next year !
The boots Everest News was attempting to identify appear to
have been from one of the climbers from India who died in 1996.
Hidden Peak Camp 1, 5,950m / Camp 2, 6,500m,
34th day of the expedition
Fortunately the things are happening. Abele, Christian and
Andrew arrived at camp 1 at 5:00 am today (they left base at 1:00 am). Then, Pepe and I
prepared a good breakfast for everybody.
At 6:00 am we were going towards camp 2. Getting the place
where Pepe and I arrived yesterday was easy, but the glacier started increasing its
inclination, and became a big serac (a labyrinth full of cracks and ice blocks). As
it had already happened on the way to camp 1, we were surprised by big cracks every
moment, being obliged to look for new alternatives several times.
The weather is nice today, it was hot on the glacier. At
midday we were sunk up to the knees in a soft snow. But all our effort worth while. Around
3:00 pm we started setting tents at 6,500m of latitude, at our camp 2 in Hidden Peak.
(I promise you to send photos as soon as I get the
base-camp, I'm taking just the light and portable Iridium)
Hidden Peak Base 5,220m / camp 1 5,950m,
31st day of the expedition
Pepe and I were tired of being at base-camp so long then, we
are going up to camp 1, even the weather doesn't show signals to get better. Our
hope is that we can work at high altitudes.
It's funny that in these three days, no other expedition has
dared to go to camp 1, so we are going to find a path practically invisible on the
snow, that has been falling regularly in the last days.
Pepe and I expected to leave base at 3:00 am, we were awaken
till 4:30 am. As the snow continued falling and the visibility was shorter, we
returned to our sleeping bags. It's incredible that at 8:00 am the sky was blue and
the sun was shining. Even getting cloudy after lunch, we have
decided to leave towards camp 1 tonight. We want to depart at 8:00 pm, it's a
strange hour apparently, but we can't waste time. Then, Pepe and I go first. Abele,
Christian and Andrew must leave a little later, at midnight. Our plan is to join the two
groups at sunrise at camp 1, and leave towards Gasherbrum. There
we intend to set camp 2, at 6,500m. It won't be easy, there must be much snow on the way.
Don't miss the news tomorrow!!!
I leave you a photo taken a week ago, of our base-camp, so
that you can have an idea where the two mountains that we are going to face are located.
Gasherbrum appears sharp, on the left . Hidden Peak appears on the right
side of the photo.
Pakistan - Base-camp 5,220 m, 31st day of
Dear friends who follow K2 on-line:
I left my beloved country exactly a month ago,
trying to accomplish one of my greatest dreams, the climb of K2. I miss my family and
friends a lot, but fortunately, the wish to execute each one of my aims is greater. It is
not easy being among these great mountains so long, far from the tenderness and
comfort of whom we love so much. But maybe it is one of the best ways to valorize the life
and prove the human being's capacity to overcome his owns limits. Of course, my wish
to return home is enormous, and it makes me happy. However, these big
mountains also contribute for my happiness.
The snow has been falling here, without stopping, since
Sunday. It's strange, the day is hot and the snow barely accumulates because it
melts as soon as it falls. (Now, here in Pakistan at 3:31 pm - 8 hours later
than in Brazil - 4 hours later GMT - it is 14 degrees Celsius. At night the
temperature was 9 below zero). Besides, the clouds are low, sliding on the glaciers.
So, we have no choice, just wait for good weather.
There is already other expedition here at the base-camp. It is a
commercial expedition led by an English man called David Hamilton. Yesterday he organized
a big meeting with all leaders of the expeditions. In this moment, there are 6
expeditions here: 3 Koreans , 1 Spanish (commercial), 1 English (commercial) and our
International. There are still other expeditions that must arrive in the next weeks.
The objective of the meeting was to find a common strategy so that all expeditions can be
It was clear that the Koreans and the commercial expeditions (with
clients who pay a lot and with many altitude porters) want to put more than two thousand
meters of ropes at Gasherbrum. We adopted a position that left everyone a little
disappointed. I can explain everything tomorrow.
I leave you a photo of our meeting, that happened at the
English expedition dining hall. I am on the left of the picture, and after
follows David Hamilton and the Spanish couple: Nanni and Oscar Cardiach. The Koreans were
sat in front of us.
Pakistan - base-camp
5,220 m, 32nd day of the expedition
The weather keeps unstable. It snowed a lot last night.
Today the sunrise was wonderful, but it snowed again after 11:00 am. We have received the
forecast from Spain, asked by Barrabes, who we thank a lot. The weather keeps unstable
until Sunday the 27th and then the weather may improve, with the full moon on the 28th.
Let me explain an important change in
our strategy. Other expeditions started arriving at base-camp, aiming to climb just
Gasherbrum. All of them had a lot of expectations about our group, that was
the first one to arrive, has an outstanding technical level and much disposition to work.
So, we realized that, if we didn't hurry up someone hardly would do anything. Well,
all of you know that besides Gasherbrum, we want to climb Hidden Peak and K2. And since so
many people want to climb Gasherbrum, we have decided to climb
Hidden Peak first and let the other expeditions climb Gasherbrum and do their job
too. Climbing Gasherbrum is much easier than Hidden Peak (I remind you that camp 1
is the same for both mountains). Our decision has caused some displeasure in other
expeditions, that were waiting for us to open the path towards the summit.
The photo today couldn't be other except Hidden Peak, the
highest mountain of Gasherbrum massif, also known as Gasherbrum I, with 8,068 m of
altitude, the 11th highest mountain in the world. The photo shows our camp 1 too.
Yes we had a very successful expedition with 4
reaching the summit:
Marcus Stofer (Switzerland) April 30th via Messner couloir
Hamish Robertson (Australia) May 22nd via French Spur
Ginette Harrison (UK) May 22nd - French Spur
Billy Pierson (USA) May 25th - French Spur
Gary climbed with Hamish and me on May 22nd. We'd just
had several days of snow and it was tough-going breaking trail so we were pretty
slow. Gary sensibly turned around just below the East summit in an attempt to get
down before dark, while Hamish and I pressed on reaching the summit at 6pm.
Thankfully the weather was perfect, as we all ended up spending the night out at 8000m -
but no-one got frostbite. We returned to Camp 4 at 5am to find Alan Hinkes and
his Sherpa in our tents!
Gary plans on writing a full report of the expedition in the
next few weeks - so will forward you a copy. Could you let people know about our
up-coming Dhaulagiri expedition - I'm attaching an information sheet. We hope to be
able to send reports back from base camp but still no news on the sat phone.
Best Regards Ginette Harrison
Ginette & Gary Autumn 99 Plans from them:
1. Time: This will be a Fall Expedition. Plan your
arrival to Kathmandu for on or before 21st August 1999, and your return for on or after
6th November 1999.
2. Route: The Expedition will attempt
the Northeast Ridge Route - the route climbed on the first ascent and considered the
standard route on the mountain. The main technical difficulties are on the snow and ice
ridge above the Northeast col (approx. grade 2/3). The route will be fixed in places. See
High Mountain Sports Oct '97, no. 179 p 30 - 32 for good photos; Himalayan Journal
p 39 - 50 or "Summits and Secrets" by Diemberger for an account of the first
3. Team: The team will consist of a
maximum of 12 climbers. Ginette and I will make up two of the team. Other members should
be strong, fit alpine climbers, comfortable with glacial travel, snow and ice climbing to
Grade 3, and successful experience acclimatizing at altitude.
4. Type of Expedition: This is a
non-commercial and non-guided expedition. There will be no climbing sherpas or porters
above base camp. There will be no bottled oxygen. All members will be expected to be
proficient and competent alpine climbers with sufficient skills and experience to take
care of themselves in camp and on the hill. All members will be expected to participate
and share in load carrying and establishing camps. The opportunity exists for all members
with sufficient skills to assist in establishing and fixing the route.
5. Cost: The cost will be $6250 U.S. per
person. This price reflects the non-guided, non-commercial nature of the climb.
Youre not a client; youre a team member. There is no profit or surplus built
into the cost. As a result this is likely to be your most inexpensive opportunity to climb
Dhaulagiri. A $1000 deposit is required to secure a position with the expedition.
Positions will be given on a first come first serve basis to qualified climbers.
6. Whats Included:
permit, round trip transport between Kathmandu and base camp, tents, porterage for 30kg of
personal kit and meals for the trek; base camp tents, food, group medical kit and all
other base camp essentials; hill tents, stoves, gas, hill food, ropes and hardware.
7. Whats Not Included: Round trip
airfares to and from Kathmandu; accommodation and food in Kathmandu; visa costs; alcohol
or other bottled beverages; personal kit; rescue costs each member will have to
provide proof of rescue insurance.
8. Logistics: We will drive with our kit
from Kathmandu to Baglung. From here it is approximately 8 days walk to Dhaulagiri base
camp. We will establish base camp at 4700m and plan on putting in four camps on the
mountain at approx. 5800m, 6600m, 7300m and 7700m. The permit will expire on October 31st
but we hope to summit by early October (recent past summit dates vary from September 26th
to October 21st).
9. Payments: See Gary for details.
Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu August 21st
Day 2-3 Free Time in Kathmandu
Day 4 Bus to Baglung.
Day 5-12 Trek to Base Camp.
Day 13-68 Climb Dhaulagiri (September 2nd October 27th).
Day 69-75 Trek out and return to Kathmandu on November 4th.
This is an approximate itinerary. We are likely
to summit before the climbing permit runs out on Oct 31st, in which case we
will return to Kathmandu earlier.
11. Further Information If you have
interest but would like further information or have questions, please contact us:
GARY PFISTERER & GINETTE HARRISON
More soon on Ginette & Gary !
The Everest "Questioned summits" are taking a
huge amount of the staff's time. Our goal is to post some details
WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM Pakistan-
Base-camp 5,220 m, 30th day of the expedition
Our approximation walk to base-camp started
wonderfully: We were full of hopes and the weather was great. Each day we were granted by
a beautiful sun amidst an endless blue sky. Suddenly, on the 4th
walk-day, some dark clouds appeared , the warmth was replaced by an icy cold and some
snowflakes started falling. "That's just to remind us that we are
in Himalayans" said my friend Abele.
When we arrived at base-camp, the weather got better. The
clouds disappeared completely and the ski was bluer and endless. We were
very hot on the glacial and we were glad in going ahead. We set camp 1 in the first 4 days
and we dreamed enthusiastically in setting camp 2, at 5,920 m. And the nature
reminded us once more that we were among the highest mountains in the world, the
During the night the snow started. On Sunday morning
at 5:00 am, without any option, we left the tents in Camp 1 and started descending to
base-camp. The last days' footsteps had disappeared, the visibility was around
100 m. Having much difficulty, we looked for our path amidst the mist and the
snowstorm that didn't stop falling. We got base-camp at 9:00 am and during all day
long the snowflakes kept falling on the mountains, breaking out big avalanches. So,
today we rested waiting for nice weather, without forgetting we are in
My friend Pepe Garces appears on the photo, during our
descending to base yesterday, looking for our path amidst the mist and snowstorm
among the ice blocks.
Pakistan - Base-camp 5,220 m / Camp 1 5,950 m, 28th day of
We woke up at 2:00 am again. At 3:00 we were in the darkness
with our front torches (which go attached to the head). We didn't like the temperature,
around -5 degrees centigrade, it should be much colder (the increase in the temperature
means bad weather). But , we went on to camp 1, much quicker, because the path is well
marked by our steps on the snow, and the signaling flags that we left in our last
lunge. We arrived in our tents at 9:00 am.
We rested for a while and went to the beginning of our climb
route, where we left ropes, stakes and other equipment. Now we are going to rest,
because we intend to start the works to open a path up to 6,500 m of Gasherbrum very
early, where we intend to set camp 2. The weather keeps unstable, but it doesn't disturb
I leave you a photo of our camp 1, where it's possible to
realize the difficulties through the cracks that exist in the Glacial.
Pakistan - Camp 1 5,950 m / Camp 2, 2,650 m, 29th day of the
We're going to work hard today, so I send this message
beforehand. We're going to wake up at 3:00 am to start our climb to Gasherbrum by
4:00 am , when the sun rises. The snow must be our great problem , maybe we sink up
to the waist. But, if everything succeeds, we expect to set camp 2 around 6,500 m
and spend the night in that altitude, improving our acclimatization.
Let's cheer everything succeeds, because to set camp 2 means
our big step towards the summit. We intend to set one more camp (number 3) and go to final
attack in the next lunge( it's usual to set a fourth camp). I leave you a photo of
Gasherbrum, seen from camp 1. We are going to follow the crest in the centre of the photo
that goes to the left side.
Everest News is trying to get the updates sooner from Waldemar. Below are the
updates from the 15th, 17th, and 18th. All the updates are in order on the 1999 K2 page.
WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM
5,220m, 24th day of the expedition
The weather has been wonderful, the sky was blue all day
long. It was a pity we weren't climbing, so we took advantage to have a rest, after our
lunge yesterday. We are preparing to climb again tomorrow morning, I hope the weather
We aren't the only expedition here. Today our base-camp was
visited by Oscar Cadiach (chief of a Spanish expedition) and San Bae (chief of
a Korean expedition). Two other Korean expeditions have arrived, one of them will face
Hidden Peak, the others will face Gasherbrum. There are other 6 expeditions that must
arrive in the next days.
There is also a Korean expedition trying to climb Gasherbrum
IV. At K2 there is already two expeditions at base-camp , one of them is Japanese
whose chief is Takuo Fujiwara and other Korean whose chief is Hyueng Chil Lim.
I leave you a photo of our base-camp, which is at
5,200m of altitude, at the joint of Gasherbrum South Glacier with Duca Degli
Abruzzi Glacier. The sharp mountain at the back is Hidden Peak
Pakistan - Camp 1 5,950 m / base-camp 5,220m, 26th day
of the expedition
We went from camp 1 to base-camp. And we regretted for
not having started to descend before 6:00 am, because we arrived at 10:00, and it was very
hot. The snow has started melting and formed true rivers on the ice near
base-camp. We hope this nice weather goes on, because we had much snow in the beginning of
Gasherbrum, where we did a recognition yesterday. It's necessary to wait some days so that
the wind and sun take some snow away and the climb becomes safer and less
For a while we are very satisfied, camp 1 is ready and in
the our next lunge we expect to set camp 2. The other expeditions that are here today
(Koreans and Spanish) started moving, but they have been very slow for a while because
they aren't acclimatized yet. We wished to set camp 2 at once, as the weather has
been nice, but it's necessary to respect our body and let it adapt step by step to the
rarefied air, which is our main aim in climbing Gasherbrum and Hidden Peak: We want to get
K2 very well acclimatized and with plenty of energy.
I leave you a photo of our camp 1, in the back appears the
magnificent Gasherbrum, over the left tent a crest takes to the
superior pyramid. Our climb route is by that crest, when we get the rock
pyramid we cross to the right through the rock base, so we follow by the right crest to
the summit . Insha Ala !
Pakistan - base-camp 5220 meters 27th day of the
It was a deserved day-off at base-camp today .We took
advantage to take shower, wash clothes and prepare the equipment for our next lunge.
Having a bath at 5,000 m of altitude isn't so strange since
you really want it. We have our own bathroom, a small tent were we improvised a
water-closet, in order to avoid spread feces all around. And we have other tent at the
same size, where we hang those camping showers, having some heated water, of course. It's
obvious that we need to wait for a hot day, avoiding the risk of getting a cold.
Our main problem today, was to prepare our lunge to
Gasherbrum, where we intend to set camp 2. We have separated ropes, tents, fuel (gas) and
food. We are worried about the weather, that is likely to change. The day finished
completely cloudy and the temperature increased (at night, which had been usually -11 C
and it was only -5).
I leave you a photo of our base-camp today morning, when the
weather was good. In the back Hidden Peak appears.