Gile American Ski Everest 2003
Dispatch 35 (Transcribed from a satellite phone
voice message, May 23th)
May 23rd, American Ski
Everest Expedition Dispatch at ABC.
We are at the end of this
climbing window. A lot of team has gone up and several people have summited.
But it has come at a cost, fortunately no one, has died on the mountain. But I
can’t even begin to tell you the scores of people that are going to go home
without fingers or toes. It is something , I have never in 15 years of
climbing big mountain have come across the horrible stories of different
stories of expeditions being held up for 2 and 3 hours at the second step.
One Korean climber, a lady,
got up on the step and froze and just became paralyzed with fear and was
unable to use her ascender. For 2 hours. I talked to Jessie
he said he just didn’t know what to do. So a lot of people had to get turned
around at that second step. Fortunately, for our group 90% of the teams are
leaving in the next 2 days. It is a couple of storm days, so we are held up
here. But we will not have to deal with that kind of log jam up on those
In other news, the British
guy who broke his leg. We ran up to help carry him down the glacier. But he
did the right thing by hiring a bunch of yaks herders to carry him out. Word
is a copter will for the first time, will be air picking him up from base
camp, tomorrow morning around 6AM.
But the guy is tough as
nails, he is in good spirits and the British did an outstanding job of getting
him all bandaged up….... He came down here and our doctor, Dr Jon Gibons, went
up to the British hut and helped out to get him ready to go down to base camp.
Hats off to the British,
considering this was someone not on their team, and they went way beyond the
call of duty, gave up a summit attempt. And Hats off to Dr Jon Gibons, who has
been inundated with people with frostbite and snow blindness and everything.
I have never never seen these
kinds on injuries in any kind of mountain scene.
And if has really put a
damper on any kind of summit. And it is, to be honest, our opinion what we
think, how we are basing our climb given the fact that we don’t have oxygen,
it is marginal conditions at best. Even with oxygen, we were talking about it
today, it would be marginal.
The Swiss warned everybody
that this weather would be very marginal, and it turned out very marginal. So
we are sitting back. We are hoping that this weather window forecasted on the
27th, turns out. And turns out to be true. We are getting to the end of our
rope. It is just a very cold, high, ABC and we are very very fortunate that we
were able to ski from above 25,000 feet and anything else we can take out of
this beyond that is gravy.
We are hanging out, giving it
100%, as always, using our heads and praying for wisdom so we do this right.