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Going for the top

Dear Friends,

Our webmaster has informed us, thanks to your enthusiasm, that the Everest website now gathers almost 300,000 hits monthly!

On a more frustrating note is that we have been having repeated problems in securing a satellite uplink at times through our service provider ACes. Numerous explanations such as atmospherics and so on havent really convinced us. There are days when we have been successful in making a standard phonecall but unsuccessful in making a data upload/download. Additionally, on some days, our American friends next door have had no problems making a data connection whilst we might have to try 20-30 times before securing a link.

The good news is that we do have an alternative/backup provider which often works flawlessly (though at a more costly rate). We look forward to getting a solution to this frequent problem from ACes soon.


THE SUMMIT:

Once we have a final discussion this afternoon, the team will depart from basecamp for a summit push on May 10/11. The summit team of Roz, Gil and David will move to ABC and then the North Col. Should weather reports suggest favourable winds, we will make a long long push to Camp 5 at 7,900m. This will certainly be the hardest day other than summit day. Climbing without oxygen to Camp 5 will break all Singapore oxygen-free climbing altitude records. Beng Cheomg will climb to the Col with us , health permitting. Time has run out for him with respect to a summit climb and acclimatisation levels. As for Gil, he is an integral part of the team and we hope we hear scant carping from ill-informed nationalists should he be the only one to summit (!)

Personally,I’m not sure if I can make such a hard day to Camp 5, especially with a strong wind from the west. In any case, I’m taking it camp by camp. Roz and Gil are stronger and faster and will give the route a go for sure. If all goes well, the following day will see us climbing to Camp 6 at 8,300m with bottled oxygen. The route on the north ridge is complex; following a series of highly exposed ledges and ramps. From Camp 6, summit day will involve traversing the Yellow Band, a section of different rock. This involves finding the right gully to ascend before approaching the First Step, a big rock step involving some rock climbing and scrambling. The body of Frances Arsentiev lies at the foot of the Step and is a grisly marker since 1998. All anchors of the fixed ropes in place will be viewed with suspicion owing to the friable nature of the rock overall.

Above the the First Step, the route traverses highly exposed ledges which are poorly protected. The dropoffs at many points here are 2,000-3,000 metres into the Central Rongbuk Glacier. After an hour, the Second Step is reached. The crux pitch is made easier by the yawing, creaky and weathered aluminium ladder from the 1975 expedition. Above the infamous Step are bodies of two Ladakhi climbers from 1996, another macabre reminder of the seriousness of this route. The Third Step can be tackled head on or sidestepped. Even then, the final summit slopes can be loaded with avalanche-prone windslab snow and an avalanche here can also see you down to the Central Rongbuk Glacier. In good conditions, the summit can be reached in 8 hours.

Then the hardest and most dangerous part – descending in possibly deteriorating weather conditions. Hopefully the exit gully entrance can be found and a safe passage made back to Camp 6 before nightfall and the expiry of oxygen supplies.

I give thanks daily that I am even here and in climbing shape and pray for a safe summit attempt for our entire group. TS will fill in with news of our progress.
Regards,
David Lim
Expedition Leader.


Today’s Supporter Feature:
SINGAPORE RECREATION CLUB:

The club, one of the leading city recreation and sporting clubs since 1883, is supporting the Expedition
through providing venues for its pre- and post-expedition events. The Expedition’s official send-off ceremony was held at the club on March 20th.

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