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Everest North Side Expedition:  Adventure Peaks


 Current Tibet Date/Time

UPDATE - 23 May 2003: All climbing above 8000m is extremely hazardous and accepted by those who undertake the challenge of the worlds highest mountain, on Everest the dangers of high altitude are the most testing. What happened to Conan Harrod on May 21st at 8.30am was a result of a mountaineering accident, another climber from an American Company, slipped and fell pulling on the fixed rope, he in turn pulled off his sherpa who finally pulled on our client Conan who fell breaking his leg at 8500m. Assistance was given to get Conan back on the ridge where pain killing drugs were given.

What happened next can only be described as one of the worlds highest fight for survival and to whom most credit can only be given to Peter Madew and Walid, two of Conan's fellow climbers. Walid was told on the radio that Conan had broken his leg, he immediately abandoned his summit bid at 8600m to return and help Peter evacuate Conan. The evacuation was along a notorious ridge with thousand of meters of exposure. Conans leg was splinted with an ice axe. The terrain is so steep that for the majority of the journey back to the high camp it is impossible to carry or support the injured person so Conan had to crawl and hop over 2 kms, while Peter and Walid lifted the injured limb over the rocky terrain. At altitudes of over 8000m even the simplest tasks are desperate. It is impossible to describe the sheer strength that was shown.

They arrived at their top camp 8200m just after darkness after 10 hrs of crawling, hopping and support. Many groups had walked past both on their journey to the summit and back. Our Sherpas had arrive from lower camps to assist but could only help to make them comfortable for the night before return to the lower camp 7800m for the night. They would set off early the next morning to return to 8200m to assist in the evacuation. Walid after providing support throughout the day also worked extremely hard throughout the night to keep Conan warm and fed, donating his own sleeping bag, unbelievable in temperatures -20-30 C. Throughout the day the remainder of the Adventure Peaks team tried to gain support from other teams, it proved impossible for the section back to top camp 8200m. Support was given at 8200m, Russell Brice, Himalayan Experience donated oxygen and advice, he being one of the most experienced guides on the North Side of Everest. Individual client gave oxygen and two doctors one from the Royal Navy and a client from Adventure Extreme gave medical advice by radio through Adventure Peaks. A Chinese Team contributed 3 Sherpas to help our 2 Sherpas with the evacuation the next morning from 8300m with further support promised from 7800m (Royal Navy 3 person, Russell Brice 2 Sherpas, 3 more Adventure Peaks Sherpas). Peter Madew who had contributed so much in helping Conan get back to the top camp had contracted a degree of frost bite and at the 7800m camp was assisted down my a member of the Royal Navy.

The descent from 8200m - 8500m was again extremely Rocky and it was only due to Conan's inner strength that allowed him to crawl, be dragged, pulled and lifted over the rocky terrain. Our Sherpas and the Chinese at times could only watch and wonder at Conan's strength.

Radio communication with Adventure Peaks Advance Base Camp was maintained throughout, from which medical advice was relaid from supporting teams. We have been able to keep friends and relatives informed, through our office and Jill. A recent quote: "Dear all,  I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you all for everything youíve done getting Conan down off the mountain. You seem to have worked miracles to get him down from such a dangerous situation. Iíve just been speaking to his mother and neither of us can come close to expressing our gratitude for what youíve done for him.  Thank you, Rachel (Conanís girlfriend, just in case you were wondering!)

From the camp at 7600m, a strong Royal Navy group added a welcome strength to the evacuation party, our Sherpas and the Chinese had done so much from 8300m. They took the lead in getting Conan down to the North Col at 7000m where he spent the night. As I write four Navy members along with our Sherpas are doing the final stages in getting Conan down to the steep final stages to Advance Base Camp where direct medical assistance will be given by two doctors (Navy and Civilian). After medical attention Adventure Peaks have arranged the final part of the evacuation down to Base Camp, another 22kms, Yak Hearders will stretcher this section to an awaiting Jeep or Helicopter for a full days journey back to Kathmandu and Hospital treatment.

Adventure Peaks thanks the many teams who have contributed to the rescue of Conan and to our Sherpas and the Chinese Sherpas incredible strength, his team members Peter and Walid who showed the ultimate dedication to a team member, Philip James another team members who showed such calm in helping to co-ordinate the different teams from base camp by radio. Also to the other teams who contributed to the joint effort: Royal Navy, Chinese, Himalayan Experience (Russell Brice), Spanish Team and the many Tibetan Yak Hearders. The ultimate person was however Conan himself, who should go down in history as one of the greatest endeavor for survival.

My part was to try and bring all section together and to liaison with other teams. Dave Pritt  Expedition Leader

Dispatches

 





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