International Mountain Guides ( Everest 2002 Expedition

International Mountain Guides Everest 2002 Dispatch 11: Wednesday, May 15 6:00 pm radio call

The first IMG summit team is safely on the South Col at Camp 4 after a good climb up the Lhotse Face.  They are almost finished brewing up and are going to bed soon.  Wake up is 9pm, so it will be a short night's sleep! They will probably start climbing about 10:30pm or so. They include Phil and Susan Ershler, Mark Tucker, Stuart Smith, Ted Wheeler, and Kevin Flynn. There is no moon tonight so it will be dark. There was some snowfall this afternoon on the Col, but little wind. The Sherpas reported some deep snow on the east side of the SE ridge above the Balcony. The weather was good for the Sherpas from the IMG, AAI, and AC teams that climbed above the Col today and were able to fix rope to a point 150 meters above the Balcony.  This is where the route starts to get very steep leading up to the South Summit. There is now virtually continuous fixed rope from the Col to this point.  The plan is to send some Sherpas ahead tomorrow to fix the rest of the route. Having the fixed rope will be a big assistance if the weather gets bad.

Since there are quite a few teams on the Col tonight, we were hoping that "up" and "down" ropes could be installed on the Hillary Step to minimize the traffic jam issues on the summit ridge. Bad for your health to have to sit down on your descent and twiddle your thumbs at 28,000 ft. waiting for the slow climbers who are still trying to move up the Step. Especially irritating when they are using YOUR rope. Needless to say, a number of teams will be right there tomorrow ready to rely on our ropes and will have no problem getting in our way, even though they were nowhere to be seen today when they had promised to send Sherpas and ropes up high to help us get the route in place.

I also talked to Phurba from Russell Brice's team (on the North Ridge) and he said that there were several teams hoping to attempt the summit tomorrow from the North Side it could be a busy day on top! Let's get a little rest now, we'll be back up in a few hours. All hands on deck for the next 24 hours or so, and hope for a happy set of mountain gods this year ...

Eric Simonson Expedition Leader 

International Mountain Guides Everest 2002


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