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Kanchenjunga Kills Two
The South Korean Expedition on Kanchenjunga
has the first casualty news for the Autumn Season of climbing in the Nepalese Himalaya.
Mr. Han Do Kyu (35) looking after the transportation of the expedition and Mr. Hyung
Myeong Keun (31), News Reporter from the Korean Broadcasting System has been swept by away
by a snow avalanche above Camp II above 6000m to death on 14th September 1999. However,
their compatriot, Mr. Oh Dong Jin miraculously survived the avalanche. He was flown out
to Kathmandu by chopper and being treated in Nepal's Teaching Hospital.
This year there are two teams on
Kangchenjunga from South Korea. Group I of Professional Climbers led by Mr. Um Hong-Gil, a
summitter of thirteen 8000m. Peaks already. Team II is from Korea's National Broadcasting
Office. According to Managing Director of Korean Alpine Federation, Mr.
Byung-Jun Kim this
is the second biggest expedition in the Himalaya in terms of live telecast after the 1988
Nepal-Japan-China tri-nation Mt. Everest Expedition. Surely it is, the Live Telecasting
has already cost US$ 600,000, so estimates Mr. Kim, but the Korean people are enjoying
daily live telecast of the Korean climb through out South Korea. The irony of the
accident, however, is that the second deceased person Mr. Han Do Kyu (35) is not even in
the Expedition Permit list, so is the rumor ripe in Kathmandu. Which means it could be an
illegal climbing as per the Government of Nepal's Mountaineering Regulation. It will be
interesting to see how the Koreans and Nepalese Bureaucracy will patch up this crevasse of
legality to their mutual convenience. Reported by Himalaya Center, Kathmandu / Nepal
Today, we climbed to our
definitive site of Camp I at something more than 6,000 ms. Five members of the expedition
will spend the night at the Camp, in a tent that we have had to carry through the ice
fall. To achieve placing the camp, the expedition members had to overcome the dangerous
cascade of seracs of the Khumbu Icefall and to cross several crevasses. These
crevasses were crossed over bridges constructed of several aluminum ladders tied
end-to-end with unstable balance. Today, the thick ice required us to use our crampons to
their fullest. The communications between Camp I and the Base Camp are perfect thanks to
walkie-talkies. Additionally, the Keenwood transmitter allows us to monitor the
progress of the team in the icefall to hear if there is an accident.
For tomorrow morning, it is
predicted that the five sleeping tonight in Camp I will descend to BC, and that four of
the expedition members that are currently at BC, will ascend to CI or to C!! (which has
been installed at 6,400 ms).
The problem that hinders the
advance is the just fallen snow (it snowed every day since we arrived at BC), which means
the one must unbury the fixed ropes. In addition, it is necessary to open the rout
each time. Being the only expedition to the Everest at this post-monsoon, via the Nepalí
slope, implies the that we do not have anyone else with whom to share the tasks of opening
the route, of fixing ropes, etc. But, this is a problem that we assumed with
In spite of all this hard
work, the Expedition Blond Samuel to Everest 1999 of Castilla and Leon advances in its
attempt to obtain the summit of the highest mountain of the planet. At this precise
moment, the sky is being covered and as if a daily rite it was, it threatens begin to
Source: EXPEDICIÓN CASTELLANO LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expedición
Samuel Rubio http://server3.servicios.retecal.es/everest99/
Wednesday 15 September; Dean Staples has just
reported in by phone. Things have been going well on the expedition with Advanced Base
Camp now well established and most folk acclimatizing well. They went up to Camp I
yesterday for their first day out above 5600m and were having a rest day today. They
encountered quite a lot of snow on the route just below Camp I but they managed to get
through it. Tomorrow (Thursday) they are going to go up to Camp I and spend the night and
then on Friday they intend to climb higher above Camp I and then descend all the way back
to BC on the same day and then have a couple more days rest. It's still really warm with
showers from mid-afternoon until evening and then snow most of the night usually. This
pattern should ease as the monsoon moves on and it gets colder.
Thursday 16 September: All the climbers, Sherpas
and guides headed up to Camp I today, except for Dr. Rachel who stayed at BC was able
to call in with some more news. She reported that so far no one has been any higher than
Camp II with only one expedition team so far even sleeping at Camp II (there are 18
expeditions attempting Cho Oyu this Fall! Though not all of them have arrived at BC yet).
This has been due to the large amounts of snow still on the route. They have been hearing
avalanches come down around them in the mountains, which is always a spectacular sound if
you've never heard this happen, and they can see that there has been avalanches near the
Camp III height on the mountain. On clear days from BC you have a really good view of most
of the route. Until all these avalanche cycles settle there won't be much chance of
getting higher up the mountain. On a different note the team have been eagerly listening
to news broadcasts on a radio that they have, as many were worried as to what effect
Hurricane Floyd would be having on loved ones back at home in the USA. Andy Hebson was
relieved to hear that his family will be safe but from what they can work out Karl
Tucker's relatives may be affected by the superstorm. They will be tuning in again for
sure once they are resting back in base camp over the weekend.
Friday 17 September: Some news from New Zealand for
you!! At Adventure Consultants we currently have a team of ski mountaineers in Mt Aspiring
National Park, near our base here in Wanaka, who are attempting to ski the West Face of Mt
Aspiring / Tititea (3055m). The group are going to film the ski descent, guided by Whitney
Thurlow and Josh Green. The West Face has never been skied in it's entirety and September
is an ideal time to attempt it as there is considerable snow on the face after the winter.
Normally the route is an ice climb in summer on the neighboring Southwest Ridge. This
very morning Guy Cotter called in from a neighboring peak to say that he had just flown
over the group and they were at the base of the West Face preparing to climb up the route
that they intend to ski down. It's a beautiful, calm, blue sky day here in the South
Island so this will be the ideal conditions for them to pull off this special ski descent.
Wish them luck and stay tuned! By Suze
and I have just returned from a two night stay in Camp 1. It was a great opportunity to
allow our bodies to acclimate to the altitude and to feel as if we are actually climbing a
big peak. The climb to Camp 1 took us about 4 hours, with big loads. It began to snow an
hour below the camp, forcing us to change into full on gore tex for the final slog. In
all, 6 inches fell over the course of the afternoon and evening.
Sunrise was glorious. 20-24,000 peaks surrounded us. At 21,130
ft. we were standing above many of them. Of course, Cho Oyu stood far above us. We set out
towards Camp 2 as soon as breakfast was completed. The route follows a lovely ridge
system, passing rock outcrops. In the narrower places, we could look down on ABC on the
one side (almost 4,000 ft. below us). We were following in the footsteps of a team of five
Sherpas. These guys are the true climbing heroes of the normal route. They were out ahead,
making the trail in knee deep snow and fixing ropes on the steeper sections. While their
knot tying skills may leave something to be desired, their strength and stamina are
unparalleled. In addition to the intensely physical work they do for the climbers of the
normal route, they earn their high level of respect because of the enthusiasm with which
they accomplish their responsibilities. Every climber on this mountain already has a
personal story to tell of the heroics and strength of the Sherpas. Brad and I followed the
Sherpas trail to a giant ice cliff, which we ascended by a series of ropes fixed by the
Sherpa team. At 22,500 feet, we turned back to our tent. We spent a second night at Camp 1
and then raced back to ABC.
We now plan to spend two nights at ABC. This will allow our
bodies to adapt to the higher altitudes we just visited. Next we'll head back up the
mountain, spending one night at Camp 1 and two nights at Camp 2. After that we should be
ready for the SW Face.
Our obstacle at this point is the weather. It has snowed every
afternoon and evening since we've been here. Typically four to six inches fall with each
storm. The pristine shaped Cho Oyu is scarred by avalanches. As a mountaineer I am
attracted to a peak with a thick mantle of hard snow, this soft and fluffy stuff has me
worried. Everyone has a theory about the break up of the monsoon. The discredited pundits
had predicted the first week of September as the end of the unsettled weather. Today's
expert is predicting the 20th of September as the end of the monsoon. It's anybody's
Well, it is time to shower off this week's dirt, using a solar
shower. That and a change of clothes should make life even more satisfying.
Your Pal, Chris Warner
Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp 9/15/99
In a few minutes we will be departing for a three night trip up
to Camps 1 & 2. The weather has finally broken (fingers crossed), and we are hoping to
use this push to get fully acclimated for our summit attempt. There are either 16 or 17
expeditions on the mountain. ABC is like a nomadic village assembled for a small battle or
religious holiday. There is an inflated sense of importance and a definite sense of
impermanence. Some encampments within our village are more important (i.e.: they are
headed by guides who have climbed this peak many times) and so get a steady flow of
information seekers visiting them. Brad and I are the odd men out, since we are the only
team actively trying to climb a different route. Most folks drop by for a visit, just to
see if we are crazy. The experienced guides, however, are extremely grateful that we are
here. They visit every day and invite us to tea or dinner in their tents. We're serving in
part as morale boosters to their clients: making the regular route seem even more
climbable. The guides are also facilitating our training phase. Russell Brice, of Himalayan
Experience, has allowed us to sleep in his tents and use his sleeping bags and ensolite
pads on the normal route. He's hoping we don't tire ourselves out getting acclimated.
Russell and I have been friends for 10 years. Earth Treks is the American broker for his
Everest and Cho Oyu trips. I'll be climbing Everest with him in the spring. Having been to
dinner at his camp, I can assure you that he provides the nicest set up of any guide
service. His dining tent is even heated!!!!! Andy Lapkas, of Adventure Consultants, has
been offering his sage advice, earned from summiting 8 or more times on 8,000 meter peaks
(and being the first person (and American) to summit on Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse (a
famous trilogy). We are definitely in good hands. So it is now time to shoulder my pack
and head to Camp 1. Chris
A Cho Oyu/Shishapangma Double expedition featuring two
Americans climbers, Chris Warner and Brad Johnson, as they attempt two
very difficult routes on these mountains alpine style with a two man team above
Yesterday was an important day
for us! Without a doubt, it is what we all have waited for since arriving. The other day,
(via the wonderful technology that we have brought) Castilla and Leon asked me if this is
truly as it is described in the books. Until
recently as yesterday, the cold and the sensation of impotence kept us from being able to
do anything to answer their questions. Only the Chomolagma goddess, who we try to climb
with insolence, allowed us to see her abutments and glaciers, and covered the sky with
snow. But everything was different yesterday! Just passed the six in the morning, the
assembled expedition members started off and we began, for the first time, to face
seracs that block the passage towards the upper parts of the mountain.
Fixed ropes and tenuous
aluminum ladders lying horizontally that facilitate our slow advance, allow us to reach
the other end of the crevasses. At one moment everything is going well and we are
ascending under a sun that multiplies its heat giving of this place a true heat of hell.
Seracs are incredibly strung and are imposing to us. The snow deposited in the previous
days slow the march and near the one in the afternoon we are all together, the seven
sherpas and the nine expeditionary members.
At that point, we near a
crevasse with no bottom to be seen. With four united ladders, a bridge is constructed that
lists to the other side allows our advance. Passing it is a true challenge for balance and
the sensation vertigo that makes us inevitably look down to see where we put our feet.
Between laughter (of which they observe that it happens) and fear of the precise actions,
we are able make it passed this acrobatic step. With everyone on the other side we
continued to another section until another new scene that surpasses to the previous one.
Like a castle of fairies, a
bridge with four united ladders is strung up fabulously until an isolated ice ledge, from
there we mount another set of ladders to arrive at the other side; without a doubt a scene
of the twisted imagination. The oldest of our
sherpas attempts this until the pinnacle through the bridge, and returns as fast as he
can. This indicates that it is very dangerous
and he says that we will need to return tomorrow with new ladders and to reinforce the
ledge. But, as soon as he finished saying these words, with a noise to which already we
are accustomed, we watch as the ice pinnacle collapses leaving the ladders hanging towards
the depths of the crevasse. Without a doubt, we can be considered lucky. For today we have
sworn in the danger.
At this point, we make a cave
in the snow and surround everything, including what
the sherpas have. We are to about 100 meters away from our Camp I, although will have to
look for passage via another route, and to an altitude next to the 6,000 ms. The
reduction, although we must return to get by the crevasse of the four ladders that,
without a doubt, makes us unload adrenalin in abundance, and other smaller crevasses,
although for that reason less non-dangerous, we descend between the snow that is falling
lightly. This, via a virtual labyrinth. In
two hours, we arrive after what has taken us seven hours to overcome. Without doubt, today
we have experienced the joys that the mountain provides, in spite of its hardness and its
dangers. Today, we enjoyed the conquest of the useless that linked the French
mountain climber Lionel Terray to mountain climbing or the mountain activities.
Our acclimatization has
developed in gradual form and all we feel strong and have spirits to continue progressing
via this difficult route that we hope they take to us nearer the blue one of the sky.
Source: EXPEDICIÓN CASTELLANO LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expedición
Samuel Rubio http://server3.servicios.retecal.es/everest99/
Daily News: 9/15/99 Report
Everest Autumn 99:
Latest Report in English:
This morning, exactly at 10:00,
we had the blessing of the altar that has been constructed in this small village of 10
mountain tents, a warehouse tent and a dining tent of stones and plastic. This is
what we have that houses our current population of 21 people. In order to celebrate the
ceremony, people from the locality of Pengboche came and sang the singsong psalms that
rose towards the blue one of the sky that competes in height with Everest, Lhotse and
Next unceasing rows of oration
flags were extended from the glacier. These flags, along with the flags of Nepal and
Castile and Leon, began to wave prayers using the wind, even as we and the sherpas strung
These last days have been hard in
the Base Camp because the constant snowing. This causes us to be disagreeable not
only because all the snow, but also not being able to do anything. Today, there have
been clouds covering the mountains, but no snow.
After the celebration, there was
considerable activity because we are making the preparations overcome the Khumbu ice-fall
tomorrow morning. The Ice Fall is the
authentic labyrinth of seracs that is one of the most dangerous parts of the mountain.
Additionally, there are ice cracks, the unstable
blocks that congeal to the front of the glacier, the vertical walls, etc. We will be
thinking of these things constantly, starting at five in the morning, the hour to which we
have planned to leave Base Camp. Our idea is to surpass the 6,000 meter mark and to
install Camp I (to about 6,100 ms). We will
be bringing take a tent, small stove, gas, food, etc, in addition to the climbing material
and our better personal equipment.
Most of people already are
acclimatized to the five thousand meters and tomorrow we will see how our bodies are
responding the higher altitude.
Source: EXPEDICIÓN CASTELLANO LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expedición
Samuel Rubio http://server3.servicios.retecal.es/everest99/
1.) Mr. Masafumi TODAKA
Qomolangma North-west face solo climbing Summer 99. "I met him
and his wife at near Camp1(5500m) on Aug20th. His health condition was very good.
He said attack middle of Sep after resting at BC. Nobody else other
expeditions in summer season from Tibet side.", FURUNO
Kiyoshi World Expeditions Consultants, Inc.
2.) Everest 100 Anys
Expedition, Mr. Ferran Latorre Torres, 4 climbers had purchased a permit for the
South-East ridge and are on their way ! Very interesting in that the EXPEDICIÓN
CASTELLANO LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expedición Samuel Rubio was expecting to
be alone on the South side. One day soon they will see others arrive...
Advanced Base Camp
Reached: The Adventure Consultants Cho Oyu Expedition has arrived at Advanced Base
Camp and are now unpacking and setting up what will be their Base Camp from now on for the
duration of the expedition. Most of the team members actually arrived yesterday after a
good run through from Kathmandu without any delays. Jim Litch reported that all were
generally well with some members experiencing headaches and other symptoms of adjusting to
living at 5600m, which is to be expected. A couple of days rest for the climbers and much
organizing by the expedition staff is up next, and after that they will let us know what
their plans for moving up the mountain are. Adventure
Consultants Ltd - http://www.adventure.co.nz
Autumn Everest 99 South
More Nice Pictures from the
EXPEDICIÓN CASTELLANO LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expedición
A Cho Oyu/Shishapangma Double expedition
featuring two Americans climbers, Chris Warner and Brad Johnson, as they attempt
two very difficult routes on these mountains alpine style with a
two man team above ABC. On Cho Oyu they will be attempting the South West Face.
Today Brad and I carried
loads to camp 1. We are obviously getting very fit, making the climb of nearly 3,000
vertical feet in just over 3 and a half hours, while carrying heavy packs (about 45 lbs.).
It is so good to feel strong, especially at this stage in the expedition. Camp
1 is pretty
wild. There is a narrow ridge crest at 21,130 ft., with steep drop offs on one side and
bergscrund on the other. There is space for about six or seven tents stung end to end. You
seemingly need to crawl through each others tents to get to the one on the end. We hacked
a small ledge out of the drifted snow at the rear end of the ridge crest. When we return,
tomorrow, we will put up our tent. We were afraid to leave the tent set up without us
being there. The local ravens, known as goraks, typically tear tents apart if they think
food is hidden inside. In the past I've had one tent destroyed while climbing in Nepal.
Later on that same trip, a gorak opened the top zipper of my pack searching for food. It
scattered all of my stuff, but found nothing. I watched this robber, helplessly, from a
few hundred feet up.
Well it is snowing again at ABC. This has not been
good for the route. This morning we looked up to see dozens of fresh avalanche tracks. We
really need for this monsoon to end soon. At this point we will continue to make forays to
camp 1. To go above that would be a bit too risky until the weather improves.
I'll keep you posted.
The Sherpas, which are zipping around like rabbits,
actually tested low as well: mid 70's. This is a clear indication to me that they have an
incredible capacity for work. Their pulse rates were even elevated (80's to 100's). The
Sherpas show no signs of altitude related illnesses. Good genes.
Brad is leading the pack with an 88%, while I have
84%. We would both love to get our percentage into the 90's at ABC. Climbing high will
help this. At this point our bodies aren't making rapid improvements at this altitude.
We've kind of adapted to the altitude stress. Getting stronger means going higher,
stressing the system and returning to ABC to create more red blood cells, re-adjusting our
Well, since the weather is so good, we are headed
up to Camp 1 today. We will spend two nights there, climbing higher during the day. After
this we will return to ABC for a few days of rest before climbing high again.
should allow us to be acclimated for the ascent of the SW Face.
We'll be back in touch upon our return from Camp 1.
After months of planning the Adventure Consultants Cho Oyu
Expedition is underway. This is our fourth expedition to climb Cho Oyu, the sixth highest
mountain in the world at 8201m. Our group will be traveling overland from Kathmandu to
the border with Tibet and then onto Cho Oyu base camp and they will be ascending on the
Normal route on the North Ridge of the mountain.
The expedition will run from August 31 to October 9th. Our
1999 Expedition is being led by Dr. Jim Litch of the USA, and assistant guides are Andy
Lapkass from Breckenridge, CO, USA and Dean Staples from Queenstown, New Zealand. Dr.
Rachel Bishop from Yorkshire, England is also on the staff as Base Camp Manager and
Expedition doctor. Ang Tshering is returning again as Expedition Sirdar and he and Rachel
will ensure that Base Camp is running smoothly as usual, along with the help of cook, Dawa
Sherpa. Ang Dorje Sherpa is again our Climbing Sirdar and he is assisted by Chhuldim,
Tenzing and Lhakpa Chiri Sherpa.
The climbing members of the expedition are: Peter Pappas of
Lander, Wyoming; Andy Hebson of Jacksonville, Florida; Karl Tucker of Grand Haven,
Michigan; Teri Elniski of Larkspur, California; David Jacks of Las Vegas, Nevada;
Greg Cravatas of Medina, Ohio, all of the USA; Mike Wille of Brisbane, Australia;
Yukimitsu Okubo of Chiba-pref; Takao Arayama of Kanagawa-pref, both of Japan and Peter
Choi from Hong Kong.
Sunday 29th August 1999 - Expedition Blast Off!
The rain eased yesterday and allowed Jim Litch, Rachel
Bishop and Ang Tshering to catch a lucky helicopter ride from Lukla down to Kathmandu. Ang
Tshering had been waiting five days for the monsoon rain in the Khumbu Valley to clear and
allow him to get to Kathmandu. The other Sherpas had left their homes on the previous
Tuesday and had walked down to Jiri in order to get to Kathmandu in time. Such are the
vagaries of the monsoon weather!
Jim and Rachel are physicians at the Kunde Himalayan Trust
Hospital in the Khumbu Region of Nepal. This is a remote rural hospital that caters to the
needs of the local villagers and trekkers suffering the effects of high altitude. They
have been at the hospital for a year now and recently celebrated their marriage in a
traditional Sherpa style ceremony. Jim recently guided on our successful Shishapangma
Expedition (summit on May 6th) and has been climbing and working in the Himalaya since
1983 along with stints in Antarctica.
There is much to do with a couple of days already shaved off
the available time in Kathmandu to attend to all the pre-expedition preparation. Mike
Wille and Andy Hebson have already arrived and are ensconced in the Garuda Hotel in the
Thamel district of Kathmandu. Peter Pappas has already been through Kathmandu and is now
in Lhasa enjoying the sights of that green oasis - he will meet the main crew in Xegar,
Tibet on September 6th. Ang Dorje flew in today from Norway, where he has spent the past
few months working on a film project, prior to being on Everest with the Norwegians in the
spring of 1999. Chhuldim has been in Europe and also just arrived back but now all the
staff except Dean and Andy (who arrive in Kathmandu on August 31st with the rest of the
team) are in Kathmandu and can get on with the necessary food purchasing to be done,
packing and final collection of other expedition supplies.
Tuesday 31 August - En Masse Arrival
The rest of the Cho Oyu Expedition members arrived today
except Teri Elniski, Karl Tucker and Andy Lapkass, who have all been delayed on the same
flight. A great flurry of activity is underway with freight to clear through customs,
Chinese Visas to be arranged and group briefings to be organized for everyone.
Dean Staples arrived with today's group, after flying
non-stop from New Zealand, with some of the fresh food supplies and expedition T-shirts
and hats. He has just departed from a busy winter in New Zealand as Chief Guide of Harris
Mountains Heli-skiing's Queenstown operation, and it is his second trip to the Himalayas
this year as he also guided on our Shishapangma Expedition in April / May. The original
plan was to depart from Kathmandu towards the border with Tibet and an overnight stop at
Kodari on Thursday September 2 but with three team members still not even in Kathmandu yet
a decision has been made to delay for a day and leave on Friday September 3 instead. This
will also allow time for Greg Cravatas' missing baggage to arrive from Delhi! Most of the
expedition members are settled at the Garuda Hotel for the night and for some of them this
is their first time in Kathmandu so there are many new sights to take in.
Friday 3 September - Depart for the Border: The bulk of the
expedition left at 6.00am this morning after a 5.00am wake up call! Teri, Karl, and
Andy, who all arrived intact at Kathmandu Airport yesterday, will be getting their Chinese
Visa's later today and will then leave early on Saturday morning with Lhakpa to catch up
with the rest of the group in Nylam. Everyone is traveling in 4WD Land Cruisers instead
of one bus to prevent any hassles with road breaks and slow vehicles. Andy reported in
from the Garuda Hotel to say 'everyone seems to getting along well and are all psyched for
a great climb'.
Andy is fresh from a summer season of patrolling on the
mountain bike trails around his home in Breckenridge and he is continuing on after Cho Oyu
to climb Pumori. Earlier this year he guided on Everest and then climbed Nuptse. He is one
of only a handful of people who have climbed Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse - the three peaks
surrounding the Western Cwm of Mt. Everest.
Their itinerary from now on goes something like this; Sat
Sept 4 - Main group move from Kodari to Nylam and the rest of the group catch up, Sun Sep
5 - rest day in Nylam for acclimatisation, Mon Sep 6 - Drive to Xegar and meet with Peter
Pappas, Tues. Sep 7 - rest day in Xegar, Wed Sep 8 - Drive to Cho Oyu Base Camp (BC),
Thurs. Sep 9 - A day at BC to sort gear for yak loads, Fri Sep 10 - Depart BC for an
overnight camp half way to Advanced Base Camp (ABC), Sat Sep 11 - Valley camp to ABC
(called Base Camp from now on), Sun Sep 12 - set up Base Camp and rest!, Mon. Sep 13 -
think about climbing Cho Oyu!
Autumn Everest 99 South Side:
Another Nice Picture from the
LEONESA AL EVEREST 1999 Expedición Samuel Rubio