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Adventures International Everest 2002 Expedition

 

Everest 2002 Expedition Report May 18th, 2002 

Base Camp, Mt. Everest: Yahoo! Were all back safe in base camp after a successful climb of Mt. Everest. Everyone is very excited and the feeling in base camp is total euphoria after 54 climbers from several different teams summited on the 16th of May. 

We all managed to hit the weather just about perfect, moving up to Camp 2 from base camp on the 12th, then spent another day acclimatizing and relaxing before going up to Camp 3 on the 14th, then to the South Col (Camp 4) on the 15th, leaving for the top actually at 10pm on the 15th, climbing through the night and reaching the summit at 10.20 am.

In our group, Jason Rodi and Scott Woolums reached the top after a long night (almost 12 hours out of Camp 4). 

Jack Gerstein turned around after reaching  a point higher than the Balcony at 28,000 ft.. At this altitude its very important to continually and honestly access yourself, Jack was not feeling 100% and made a very solid decision to head back to Camp 4 at the South Col, with Nima Sherpa. 

Not making these tough decisions can be the cause of serious problems on Everest. Way to go Jack, an amazing effort to get to 28,000 ft.! Later we heard him saying "I'll be back"! 

The summit day actually began the day before as a group of 6 Sherpas from several different teams broke a trail though extremely deep snow all the way up to the Balcony, fixing lines along the way. They could not get higher as high winds were blowing plumes of snow off the ridge above the Balcony. So later on the 15th as more and more groups arrived at the South Col to try the summit on the 16th. Plans were made to coordinate on a early group of sherpas and Willie Benegas to fix lines above the balcony a couple hours before all the expeditions would go up a bit later. The plan worked pretty good. Right behind them the sherpas and members from at least 8 different teams made it over the Hillary Step and onto the summit! Quite a crowd on top, but everything worked very well. At least one team from the north side summited also.

On the way up, after the long dark hours of climbing by headlamp, we enjoyed a perfect sunrise out over Tibet, with Lhotse and Makalu below.
Followed by a perfect day until about 1 pm when a strong wind and blowing snow quickly moved in. This caught a number of people out up high, us included. On our way down, at the bottom of the Triangle wall fixed lines, we could not see camp in the blowing snow and whiteout. Fortunately it was not to last too long right then. With a little clearing we could find our way back into camp.

After coming down from the summit we stayed that night at Camp 4, sleeping at over 26,000 ft., fortunately with Oxygen. We all were very tired after a long day. Had some very strong winds till midnight, then things calmed down for the next day.

Now its slowly packing up, organizing yaks for the trek out, saying good bye to friends that we have spent the last month and one half getting to know here in base camp. A bit sad to leave, but so very happy we can leave this early in the season. Looking forward now to summer. Will have a couple more updates as we trek out to Namche, Lukla and then Kathmandu. A fantastic trip!

Scott Woolums
Adventures International Inc.

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