44th day of the 10 Years of
Brazil on Everest Expedition
Base Camp (5,400 m)
I would like to start today's
update, and finish it, the way the day started, with a blue sky, beautiful
mountains everywhere, a really nice environment, but that only lasted a few
Now, 18h01, the weather here
in base camp is really bad, it is all completely clouded (since 15 hours),
snowing and there is a great doubt about what happened in higher altitudes.
Around 05h15, during
daybreak, a big avalanche fell from the West Ridge of Everest and destroyed
camp 1 almost completely. The news came to base camp almost immediately
through the radio of expeditions who had members up there, but even now by the
end of the day, there are a lot of doubts about the consequences of the
The location of camp 1, which
is between 6,050m and 6,100m of altitude, is very exposed to avalanches which
fall from a big serac suspended on the top of the West Ridge of Everest.
Irivan and I, who climbed Lhotse in 2002, had a lot of problems with the
avalanches from that serac. The first time our tent was buried by the
avalanche, so we moved our camp around 150 m farther from the West Ridge, in
the direction of Nuptse, thinking we would be safe. After a week, to our
surprise, a new avalanche made our tent disappear. Inside the tent there were
two bottles of oxygen, a hundred meters of ropes, a stove and some gas
cartridges, absolutely nothing, even the tent, was found, everything was swept
away by the force of the movement provoked by the avalanche. ("Serac" is how
the front of a suspended glacier is called, ready to fall down).
After the bad experience of
2002, Irivan and I came this year to Everest ready to leave the least possible
things in camp 1. In our first climb, we spent just one night there, the next
day we unmounted our tent and we went a little higher (just three hours
walking), to the location of camp 2 (6,400m). In the next climbs we have gone
directly to camp 2.
I know there were around 40
tents installed in camp 2, the information coming here says that practically
all were destroyed by the avalanche. The only intact camp is the one of the
Iranians, because around seven tents were closer to the Nuptse side than to
the West Ridge, where the avalanche fell.
Some climbers were surprised
by the avalanche in camp 1 when they were asleep. Around seven of them had
mild injuries, and two had serious injuries. The experienced guide Willi
Benegas (Argentinean), chief of the Mountain Madness team, who had been to the
summit of Everest four times, had one of the most important roles of the
coordination of the rescues, around 8 in the morning he was running by the
base camp looking for a stretcher, when he found one he climbed quickly the
During the entire day, I
watched with attention that three big groups, made by a total of around a
hundred Sherpas, descended the Icefall with the wounded.
Watch the picture of camp 1
at the top of this update, before it was hit by the big avalanche. It likely
that all the tents in the picture have been destroyed by the avalanche coming
down from the West Ridge of Everest, that is seen in the right side of the
In the picture in the bottom,
one of the three rescue groups made by Sherpas, carry down a wounded person
that is being transported in a stretcher, through the Icefall.
I have just got a meteorology
www.everestnews.com, the forecast is strong
snowfalls over Everest for the next hours!!!! So we will continue here in
base camp waiting for a better weather.
Patience, is the big virtue
of climbers, now and forever!
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