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 My first report after the summit May 27, 2001

 

I made it to the summit of Mt. Everest, last May 23 around 2:00 in the afternoon, along with Asmus Norreslet (from Denmark) and Andy Lapkass from the USA.  It was a hard ascent that took us six days from ABC, obviously using all the preinstalled camps.

 

During this journey, we heard of the death of a Russian and an Australian.  We also saw some dead bodies of climbers who came in previous years, it is really shocking to see those dramas.

 

The route from the last Camp (8300 meters), is really steep, passing zones like "the yellow band".  This section has very compacted and flat rocks, then the vertical to the summit with areas exposed to the deep emptiness on the North Wall, and to the other side the face of Kangshung.

 

We left from this last Camp at 01:00 in the morning and we made it to the top around 02:00 in the afternoon.  It was a very exhausting work, especially when each of us was carrying three tanks of 3 liters of oxygen on our back.  We should add the climb to the most complicated parts of the mountain, like the so called "first", "second" and "third" steps, located at 8500 and 8700 meters above sea level. 

 

These steps are vertical walls located at a very high altitude and exposed directly to the emptiness of hundreds of meters deep. 

 

The summit is itself very special because it is very little, with a wonderful view to Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse and many other giant mountains, that would dominate the landscape in any other part of the world, but here are overshadowed by Everest.

 

On the top of the world, there are Tibetan pray flags, as well as mementos left by some people in this particular part of the planet.  It is curious to be able to see the climbers coming from the South face (Nepal) and the summit is the border between Tibet (China) and Nepal. Remember we climbed the route of the North Col, the Tibetan side. 

 

We were on the summit around 20 minutes, we had some cold blizzards and during descent... Andy Lapkass was totally exhausted, so I decided to stay with him in a bivouac at 8700 meters, something that not many people can survive.  Well, "bivouac" means to sleep in the outdoors [on the mountain], so we lay between rocks and ice "on God's hands", but the difference is the extreme altitude and cold, thank God we survived that long and horrible night.  Next day (May 24) we went down to 7900 meters to our Camp 6 where we spent the night and the 25th we could descend to ABC from where I am writing.

 

Unfortunately, because of the bivouac Andy suffered severe frostbite on the nose and toes, he is now in his tent with supplementary oxygen.  Me, I have mild frostbite on my fingers, but nothing serious.  The expedition doctor says I'll be totally recovered in a matter of three weeks.  I wish to make all this clear because it looks like some USA media published irresponsible information about Andy and me, saying we
were dead. [EverestNews.com has seen several false reports of deaths again this year. However, we did not see a US published report stating that Andy and Jaime.]

 

To wrap up, I want to tell you that never in my life I have been so tired.  Climbing Everest has been the hardest thing I have made so far, let's remember the bivouac. I can say, with satisfaction...  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, GUATEMALA!  Not only for climbing Everest, but for ending the challenge of climbing the Seven Summits of the World. 

 

Many, many thanks to each of my sponsors for their support and trust. 

 

We hope to be back in Katmandu on June 1st, and from there I will arrange my flights to go back to Guatemala. Regards, Jaime Viρals 

 

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera 

Copyright to www.terra.com.gt/jaimevinals (this is the official website). Published with permission from Terra Centroamιrica. In addition,   http://www.terra.com.gt/jaimevinals/noticias.htm is the list of dispatches for his site.

The Eric Simonson report of the rescue...

The Chris Warner report (two parts).

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