Twitter feeds
  • by

Rescues and Warm Weather

Dear Everest Addicts and Friends,

Many thanks for the kind words from Debi Cornish, Marc le Menestrel, Ken Phua and all our friends.

Positively roasting here today at basecamp with low winds and popcorn-hot sunshine. Am in a T-shirt pounding this out at 3.30pm here. That being said, winds, rain and snow is expected in the next few days. Roz, Beng Cheong and Gil took a jeep down today o a village at about 4,000m to enjoy the warmer and thicker air as well as to sort out their various health problems. They be back on the 9th, 2 days before our summit climb on the 11th. As for me, I prefer the dependable levels of food and water hygiene here!

Yesterday’s rescue of a Chinese glaciologist should be credited to Eric Simonson’s fine team of guides and the extra help from a team of sherpas, Tibetan yakherders and two American climbers descending from ABC. Word got out that two sick Chinese glaciologists were descending from ABC. Within a few hours, two climbers on Eric’s permit were at the scene assisting as were three American guides who had postponed their summit push. By turning around and coordinating sherpas and other helpers, they almost certainly saved the life of the sicker of the two Chinese. The turning point was when the stretcher party reached the Intermediate Camp (5,900m). Here, oxygen was available to the non-ambulant victim (he was suffering from a combination of cerebral and pulmonary edema-PE). He was already incoherent, frothing bloody sputum at the mouth – all sure signs of advanced PE.

A high flow rate of oxygen was supplied and laborious task of carrying him down the rugged terrain to basecamp went on for hours. Additional guides were dispatched up as were what sherpas were available at our basecamp. Gil and I had returned to basecamp from a four hour hike when we realised the scale of this operation. Again, our portable altitude chamber at basecamp provided additional support when the casualties were finally brought in at 7pm+.

After two hours in the pressure bag and on oxygen plus a plethora of altitude sickness drugs administered by Dr Lee Meyers, the victim was placed into a jeep with a third tank of oxygen and driven with his teammates down to Shigatse (12 hours away) where a hospital exists. It won’t be known until the team of glaciologists return whether or not he survived unscathed.

An interesting note is that this team arrived at Basecamp and moved to ABC at 6,500m only after two days of acclimatisation at basecamp (5,300m). Worse, they said they had done prior scientific trips to the area on a similarly aggressive schedule and had had members suffer ill-effects. All I can quote is climber John Bachar’s view on mountaineering Darwinism: “Dumb ones die”.

On a more positive note, it is thanks to expeditions like the one we’re sharing a camp with that allows for committed, competent and well-equipped rescues to happen and for lives to be saved.

Today’s picture is by Rozani “Terry La France climbing up the North Col in bad weather”

We’ll have Roz’s personal account of his climb to the Col and above when he returns.


Pic by Rozani “Terry La France climbing up the North Col in bad weather”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *