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 Mt. Everest 2005: The Singapore National University Team:  Today has been a day of celebration and concerns.


Update: Today has been a day of celebration and concerns.

At 9.30am, E-Fung stepped onto the summit of Everest, his voice announcing the event loud and clear. It had been a grueling climb of just over 12 hours.

Then it was a finger-biting wait until 11.38am when Yen Kai repeated the feat, thus becoming the first Singaporean to stand on the world’s highest peak. (Edwin Siew and Khoo Swee Chiow, who summitted Everest in 1998, were then Malaysians and Singapore permanent residents. Both have since taken up Singapore citizenship.) This fact will be recorded in the annals of mountaineering.

But as all mountaineers know, "going up is optional, coming down is mandatory". And more accidents and deaths occur during the descent than the ascent.

E-Fung arrived at South Col (Camp 4) at 3pm, totally exhausted but in good spirits. It was a relief until he noticed, while resting, that the toes on his left foot were numb. Two of the toes were slightly purple. He sought medical advice from Base Camp, and the assessment made was that of a touch of frostnip.

It was difficult to tell if the toes would swell the next day. If they did, E-Fung would not be able to put on his boots to walk down the mountain. That would mean that he would have to descend there and then. But it was already 5pm and crossing the icefall in the dark would be too dangerous. Besides, E-Fung was very tired.

Without looking at the toes, it was a tough guess as to whether they would swell. So Dave Morton, an experienced mountaineer and guide, and a good friend from the Cho Oyu climb who was in the tents nearby, was asked to look at the toes. Having seen many frostbitten cases, he would be able to make a good judgment.

"They don't look very serious to me," Dave’s voice came on the walkie, to the relief of all. "It seems to be superficial frostnips." Medication was prescribed and E-Fung slept with his inner on just in case the toes swelled during the night.

But where was Yen Kai? There have not been any walkie contact for hours. His descent had taken an inordinately long time. We could only guess what his condition would be like, having spent over 18 hours on the mountain since leaving Camp 4 at 9pm the previous night.

Finally, at about 6pm, word came that he had arrived at Camp 4. He was very tired, but otherwise in good shape.

There was relief all round at Base Camp, but not letting down of our guard.There was still the descent from South Col the next day. The two exhausted climbers would have to come down the infamous Lhotse Face, Western Cwm, and down to Camp 2. And the final crossing of the Khumbu Icefall, by now crumbled and melting. Lulin Reutens

It has now been reported that they now all at base camp...

Meet - Robert Goh

Dr Robert Goh is a Principal Member of Technical Staff in DSO National Laboratories. Born on 22 September 1965, he holds a PhD in Aerodynamics. He and team mate Edwin Siew climbed Mount Xixabangma in Tibet in 2002 in alpine style, the first in Southeast Asia to reach over 8,000m without sherpa support and supplementary oxygen. Other achievements include skiing to the South Pole as Co-leader of Antarctica 2000 and reaching the South Summit (8,751m) of Mount Everest as a member of the Singapore expedition in 1998.

 

Dispatches

 

 

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot Expedition and mountaineering boot for high altitude and extremely cold conditions. The Everest has conquered all 14 mountains over 8,000m and also the Seven Summits- and has now had a makeover to ensure continued peak preformance. With a newer sung, Alpine Fit, and even lighter Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

 

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






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