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Everest South Side Expedition: Everest 50
The fiftieth anniversary expedition. (French)


 Current Nepal Time

Tuesday May 20th: They were nearly 400 climbers yesterday evening at camp II to await the signal of departure to the summit. And the first summiteers of spring 2003 reached the 8850m by the Northern way (Tibetan). Southern slope, Nepal side, there are rumors circulating at the base camp but without confirmation of summit. Jean-Michel is at camp IV close to 8000m in company of Hugues, Dominique, Guillaume, Philippe and Daniel Blanchi. Jean-Michel climbed from camp III in 4h, the others between 6 and 7h (Hugues without oxygen).

It was snowing at the South col this morning but time seemed clear above 8000m. The weather announces good weather for tomorrow morning with cloudy formations in the afternoon and snow at the end of the day, the layer being localised at 7500m. The wind at 8000 should be of 50km/h and 70km/h at the top. The conditions are not ideal for the ascent but very far away from the catastrophic forecasts which could have happen.

The first Everest50 attempt must take place this evening. The five members of team A will rush around 22h00 on the way of the top with Serap who will climb alone as Jean-Michel, following an ocular problem, cannot accompany them. The decision is heavy to take, but a problem of health at 8000m cannot be neglected.

The timing of reference that the climbers must follow for the ascent towards the summit is as follows: 22h, departure to camp IV; 3h in the morning, Balcony (8540 m); 7h, southern top (8760 m); 8h, Hillary (8800 m); 9h30, summit (8850 m); 14h, back to the southern col. Beyond these times, the oxygen reserves can be seriously exhausted and make the progression very random. The group B (Marcel, Mario, Aude, Jean-Christophe, Brice and Basile) is at camp III in company of Laetitia.

They will go to camp IV tomorrow and will be joined by Patrick Berhault who climbs from camp II to camp IV After a few hours of rest, they will also have to leave towards the summit in evening. The third group left the base camp for camp II this morning at 9h00. Patrick Gabarrou, Bruno, Eric and Nicolas prepare at camp II their ascent forecasted for the evening of May 22nd . Régis Garrigue, Gilles Pollini and Jean-Marc Seban give up. They are at the base camp from where Régis supervises the medical cover; Jean Blanchard relays him at camp II at 6400m. The telephones will remain open this night at the base camp in order to listening Chomolangma.

Wednesday May 21st: "The 1st attempt has just failed. The 2nd attempt, planned for this evening is postponed for tomorrow. The conditions are very bad at the South col and above. There will remain a last possibility in the night of May 22nd to 23rd . The climbers are distributed in all the higher camps and wait under difficult conditions. We would be happy if one of us reached the summit”.

This is the information transmitted this morning by Gilles from the base camp. The Everest50 rope of 5 climbers (Hugues, Daniel Blanchi, Guillaume, Philippe and Dominique) left yesterday evening camp IV towards the summit with much of other expeditions, turned back after one hour of ascent under infernal conditions of wind and cold. The sherpas who traced and equipped the way upstream gave up once at Balcony (8540m) the wind blowing at 80km/h made any progression dangerous. All expeditions thus returned to camp IV for "the most terrible night which I could spend in mountain" reports Hugues. At 6h this morning, Jean-Michel, Hugues, Dominique, Guillaume, Philippe and Daniel Blanchi left camp IV for camp II. On the way, a big fright for everyone: Dominique suddenly disappeared, fortunately without consequences, in a crack. He went out there with some contusions and a big fear. They rest the five of them at camp II. Jean-Michel is awaited in the afternoon at base camp so that Régis can make a diagnostic concerning his eye. The attempt of this evening is cancelled. Group B (Marcel, Mario, Aude, Jean-Christophe, Brice, Laetitia and Basile) are waiting at camp III today; only Aude and Brice project to go up during the day to camp IV to spend the night there. With 20 cm of snow which settled at camp IV, Brice envisages to fit his skis tomorrow for a descent since the South col.

The group C (Patrick Berhault, Patrick Gabarrou, Nicolas, Bruno and Eric) is at camp II. Everyone is on standby of information weather to organize an ultimate attempt on the 22nd evening. Maurice gives up and joined the base camp. 

The Previous Update is below...

Everest50 – May 19th: Jean-Michel is still at the base camp, the first day of ascent has been changed to May 21st to be able to profit from the best weather conditions. Belgian expedition made in the same way and it does not seem that there is an ascent envisaged for the 20th . Jean-Michel suffers in his turn the gastric virus of the base camp. He is under his tent to stay warm, François and Jean are giving him some drastic remedy to allow him to go up to camp II tomorrow, camp IV Tuesday and the summit on Wednesday.

Maurice is also ill and suffers from the same maltreatment. It snowed very much at base camp; at camp II team A waits one more day under large gusts of wind. They are all well and the attention is now completely turned towards the summit. They will leave tomorrow direction camp III to sleep there on Monday evening and join camp IV at the South Col on Tuesday.

Group B prepares also its bags for the ascent of the 22nd . Some of the group will leave tomorrow to camp II with Jean-Michel. Only Patrick Berhault, Patrick Gabarrou, Nicolas Mugnier, Eric Loizeau and Bruno Gallet will leave on Tuesday to reach the South col in two days.

For the ascent, a strategy of equipment until the Southern summit had been established with other expeditions, but taking into account the bad weather conditions, there is little chance so that the Sherpas can work up there.

Dispatches

 





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