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 Singaporean Shishapangma 2002

Update: Thursday, May 16th At 1.35pm Singapore time, (11.20am Nepalese time), the Singapore Xixabangma team summitted the mountain after ascending in alpine style! Robert Goh and Edwin Siew reached the Central Summit. This makes them the first South-east Asian team to summit an 8000er in alpine style. They are also the only team this season to climb Xixabangma in this manner. Said team leader Robert: "We are absolutely over the moon! 

Update 4/23/2002: They are now at Advanced Base Camp. The three climbers are in the midst of their acclimatization climbs. They will be making their summit bid some time in early or mid May, and the climb will be in Alpine Style. 

Update 5/15/2002: Wednesday, May 15 The weather today is brilliant! Half a dozen or more climbers can be seen climbing conventional style and heading for the central summit this morning at about 8am. Two days ago 2 Finns and an Austrian summitted. Yesterday's bad weather saw no one summiting. Our guys reached 6800m last night after a 7-hour climb. They were moving faster than the previous day, which is a good sign. We couldn't talk to them this morning because the walkie talkie connection was bad as they were on the other side of the ridge. But from last night's conversation, they are likely to move from 6800m to about 7300m today. This will be a most grueling climb which will take them up a 70-degree ice slope. With the 35-kg weighing them down, this will be one of the toughest stretches of their climb. Meanwhile, four Make-It-Real students have arrived at Advanced base Camo, together with their instructor. This is the first time they are experiencing not only such a high altitude, but also base camp life. They are here for four days, meeting climbers from the other camps, learning about cooperation among the different camps and the communication needs, and generally what makes a base camp tick. Another four students are now on their way to climb a modest mountain in Nepal.

Tuesday May 14: This morning, they started to move higher up, aiming to stop for the night at about 6800m. Because of their heavy ruck sack of about 35kg, they will be moving at half their normal climbing speed. Today's leg will this take about 10 hours. We are a little concerned here because this morning, the mountain is shrouded in thick clouds. In a walkie talkie call, the guys reported very low visibility and it's very cold. The only consolation is that Met Services of Singapore has reported low wind speeds up till Friday. This is good news because that means, if necessary, they can afford to delay their summit assault by a day.

THE SINGAPORE XIXABANGMA EXPEDITION 2002: AN ALPINE CLIMB

Four Singaporean mountaineers will be climbing Xixabangma (Shishapangma) in Spring 2002 - in alpine style.

The team is planning to take the Northern Route which was established by the Chinese in 1964. The climb will gain the North-East Ridge of Central Summit to an altitude of 7,700m. A ground decision (based on local conditions) would be made to either take an avalanche prone traverse towards the Main Summit (original Chinese route) or to continue along the ridge towards the Central Summit and then traverse a corniced ridge that leads South-East towards the Main Summit.

If they succeed, they will be the first South-east Asian team to summit a 8000er alpine style. Although all four men had climber to beyond 7000 meter without oxygen, none had attempted an alpine climb of an 8,000er. And starting with the lowest of the 14 8,000er, they feel, is the way to go.

Key objectives in their latest expedition to climb Xixabangma alpine style are: to raise the standard of mountaineering in Singapore; to help groom the
next generation of mountaineers.

As such, the team has organized a programme for undergraduates from the National University of Singapore to help them realize their dream of becoming mountaineers. The students have been training with the main team. In December, they will be sent to New Zealand for a technical mountaineering course. And in March 2002 a select group will join the main team at the Xixabangma Advanced Base Camp.

THE TEAM: The foursome were members of the First Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998. Three of them were with the Singapore Antarctica Expedition 2000 which saw one group skiing to South Pole and another summiting Mount Vinson.

They are:

Dr Robert Goh Ee Kiat (Leader),
Occupation: Aeronautical Engineer
Co-leader of Antarctica 2000 (skied to South Pole)
Climber and Treasurer in Everest Expedition 1998 (reached south summit
8750m)
First Singapore alpine ascent of  Dhaulagiri VII (7246m)
Singapore Zanskar Expedition
Singapore Cho Oyu Expedition
Mount Cook (NZ)
Great End, Scarfell Pike, Ben Nevis and other Scottish climbs
Numerous Himalayas, European and NZ alps

Dr Mok Ying Jang (Co-leader, Medical Officer),
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Leader of Mt Vinson Expedition (Antarctica 2000)
Climber and doctor, Everest Expedition 1998
Singapore Zanskar Expedition
Singapore Cho Oyu Expedition
Pioneer rock climber in Singapore
Numerous experience in Himalayas, European and NZ alps

Mr Edwin Siew Cheok Wai (Member)
Outward Bound School Instructor
Climber, Everest Expedition 1998 (First Singapore mountaineer to summit)
Co-Leader of Mt Vinson Expedition (Antarctica 2000)
Singapore Cho Oyu Expedition
Numerous experience in Himalayas, European and NZ alps

Mr Leong Chee Mun (Members)
Outward Bound School Instructor
Climber, Everest Expedition 1998
Singapore Cho Oyu Expedition
Triathlete (international)
Marathoner
Hong Kong 100km Trail Walker team 1999 & 2000 (member of SAF)
Trained as a physical education instructor
Numerous experience in Himalayas, European and NZ alps

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