Tolo Calafat died on Annapurna because high altitude kills. Fellow climbers tried to rescue him, but were unable to do so. “Annapurna is really deadly,” wrote historian and statistician Rodrigo Granzotto Peron after Tolo was reported dead on the mountain yesterday.
“This is the seventh straight year with casualties on the mountain: since 2004 we have at least one fatality per year, adding up a total of 8. It’s a beautiful mountain, the first 8000er to be summited, but also very dangerous.”
Still, in an interview with Barrabes.com, Dr. María Antonia Nerin points out some details that are bound to be debated for time to come.
The Spanish Doc claims that Juanito’s group fixed the section at 7,900 meters in order to secure descent and therefore summited late. (Ed note: Edurne’s team free-climbed this crux due to lack of rope.) However, they reportedly found on their return that the Korean team had cut the line.
Tolo was mentally clear and followed complicated instructions, the doc said, but asked for help to descend due to extreme tiredness and lack of food and water. Juanito reportedly asked a fresh team of Korean backup sherpa in C3 for help, offering a 6000€ fee, but according to M. Antonia, the Koreans refused to send them stating that they belonged to different teams.
As for the airlift of Juanito, Carlos and Horia from C4, the rescue was very risky and “therefore,” fellow Spanish Dr. Morandeira added to the report, “climbers SHALL NOT venture in climbs overpassing their capacities expecting to be rescued in case something goes wrong.”
The interview can be read in Spanish on Barrabes website (check links section). ExWeb has offered the Korean team to comment the allegations.
Update May1st, 10:00am Mountain Time: Everybody safe down
(EsWeb/Madrid): Dawa and Sonan Sherpa, who had refused to be airlifted by the chopper, reached back BC yesterday evening. Concern had grown though the day due lack of news or radio contact. Martin, Jorge and Horia were ready to head up (again) today, as Ramos reported on his website. Upon arrival in BC, they explained the radio antenna had broken down on during descent.
Anna south side: Park for new variation route
Meanwhile on the other side of the mountain, S.Korean 14x8000er Park Young-Seok and his team are not yet done with the mighty south face. “After attending to his mother’s funeral, Park Young-Seok is back on Annapurna,” correspondent Kyu Dam-lee told Rodrigo Granzotto. “Due to the delay, Park has abandoned his original plan to open an entirely new route and is instead eyeing a variation of the Bonington route.”
Team mate Kang Ki-Seok (who summited EV last year with Park throuth the new route on the SW Face) was slightly injured to his leg by rock fall. Summit push is planned for late May.
Makalu: Chris Warner & Marty Schmidt change plans
Makalu south face gave Chris Warner and Marty Schmidt a crevassed glacier, and a very close call with falling rocks. “Continuing up our proposed new route, in these conditions, was suicide,” they reported. “We’ve got the pictures a future generation of mountaineers will need when conditions improve. It is a great line, one which should offer great technical climbing in a gorgeous, rarely visited place.” The two might try another approach to the summit.
Other teams on Makalu
A big British Expedition, attempting the SE ridge for the third time with Sherpas and bottled oxygen, are reportedly doing well so far.
“The large, well organized Ukrainian team has been fighting for every meter on the SW Face,” Warner added. “Meanwhile the Brits are still trying to reach the Col. They established C1 and C2 on the SE Ridge.”
“Also, a steady stream of 6 or 7 expeditions marched up the Barun Valley towards the normal route.”
One of those is FTA, whose members already reached C2 at 6700m. Back in BC, they plan to head up again for Makalu La at 7400m this weekend. Brad Johnson reported similar plans. Once back from Makalu la, both teams will be ready for a summit bid, as soon as weather permits.
“We’ve set up C2 and are ready for a summit push – as soon as this freezing wind decreases,” Mario Panzeri told Montagna.org yesterday. Mates Alberto and Michelle had gone down the valley to greet Edurne Pasaban and the rest of Al Filo team. “We’re having dinner together tonight,” Mario announced.
“Right after Annapurna, it feels weird to celebrate another puja in yet another BC,” Edurne reported. “We were following the drama on Annapurna, feeling it very close and yet too far away (we couldn´t go there and help) but now at last I’m focused on the climb ahead.”
Acclimatized from Annapurna Edurne had planned to climb Shisha light and fast to have a chance on the female 14, 8000er record but since Miss Oh summited Annapurna the pressure is off. She might join Panzeri’s group on their push.
Lhotse: Rope fixing issues
The Kazakhs are on a roundtrip to C3, correspondent Andrey Verkhovod told ExplorersWeb. “Meanwhile Max descended to BC for a Lhotse team leaders meeting, together with the head of the Russian expedition Alexey Bolotov. It was decided that the ropes above C4 will be fixed by the team that goes for the summit first and, according to Andrey, that will probably be the Russians.
Last year the Kazakhs fixed no ropes on the final sections, Andrey recalls. “Back then only Alex Sofrygin (who climbed first) reached the summit, but weather was so bad that he only knew after returning to BC and describing where he had been. The rest of the team decided to turn around in horrible weather conditions close to the top. Despite Alex’s success, it was finally decided that the team had not reached the summit.”
Independent climber Hong-Bin Kim and two Korean climbers from the Korea Expressway Corporation alpine club are in medical treatment at a hospital in Kathmandu – mates Mr. Yoon (40) and Mr. Park (27) went missing last week and were reported dead.
Veteran Carlos Soria retreated from C2 in heavy snow fall as the Koreans announced their summit push. “The Korean expedition had a different perception of the risk,” the Spaniard reckoned.
Koreans on Cho-Oyu & Kanchen
Korean Jae-Soo Kim planned a summit push on Cho Oyu on April 25, but high winds may have forced him to delay plans.
The Busan-Hope expedition on Kangchenjunga also planned a summit push for last Monday, after hurricane-force winds swept off their C3. No news yet, after topping-out, both teams planned to move to Annapurna.
Word from Ang Tshering Sherpa
“Twenty-six peaks are opened for climbing in Nepal,” Asian Trekking outfitter and president of NMA Ang Tshering Sherpa reported to ExplorersWeb. “The higher 293 peaks are managed by Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (Government of Nepal) while the lower 33 peaks are managed by Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).”
“This Spring Season (2010), the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has already issued permits to 80 Expedition Teams for climbing various higher peaks. Meanwhile, Nepal Mountaineering Association already issued permits to 358 Climbing Teams and many more teams are expected to arrive before the monsoon in June. In the year 2009, Nepal Mountaineering Association issued permit to 1210 climbing teams.”
“In Tibet, there are 65 Expedition Teams permitted to climb various peaks,” Ang Tshering added.
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