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  Mt. Everest 2005: Waldemar Niclevicz: Did we make the wrong decision?


Photo Waldemar Niclevicz

"05/21/05, 61st day, Exp. cellebrating 10 years of Brazil at Everest

Base camp (5400m) - Not this time.

 

(Dear friends, today the report is written by Irivan, my dear friend

and buddy in  Everest climbing. Hugs, Waldemar.)

 

Hi People!

 

We're back to our comfortable tents at base camp.

 

For the last 3 days we explored the upper mountain, which was very

important for the development of our climbing plan. The days we went up to camp 2 and, later, camp 3 were very nice. After several days confined at basecamp, nothing can be better than going up, in close contact with the mountain.

 

Our Spaniard friends gave up their climbing plan at the last minute and we decided to keep going, because there seemed to be a window, the mountain would give us a break, and luckily we would be able to climb.

 

On the morning of the 20th, we both woke up feeling bad. The day seemed ok, with little wind, but during breakfast I threw up, which was not good. We spent considerable time analyzing the weather report we had with us and the situation outside our tent. The night was cold, -22C, and the tent was fully frozen inside. We felt it was snowing inside our tent at any move we made.

 

Well, after a few hours discussing the pros and cons, with time passing by, we decided it was not appropriate to keep climbing. When we left the tent, we noticed that half of the climbers from other expeditions that were previously attempting summit were coming down. Right decision?? Hard to tell at that time, but I know that for the summit push it is wise to go together.

 

Soon we were in our way down under snow and cold wind. We stopped at camp 2 to leave some items and proceeded to basecamp. Since we're not going up, the best is to go down as fast as possible.

 

On the way from camp 2 to basecamp, we almost froze under snow and wind. When we arrived at basecamp the bad weather was gone and the sky opened up a little. We were nicely greeted by Haya in the beginning of the glacier.

 

Late in the afternoon the sky became crystal clear as magic, with almost no wind. What now?? Did we make the wrong decision?

 

After dinner I went to the Korean camp to see how they were doing up in the mountain. They had arrived very late at camp 4 and decided not to finish the climb last night. This morning we heard that the Asian Trekking expedition attempted summit but they stopped at the Balcony (8500m) and turned back down because of deep snow. One of their climbers is at camp 4 with frostbites.

 

Today we are feeling relieved with our decision, since we are now ready for a new attempt in a few days, and the lesson is: we must respect the mountain and all its power. Blue sky does not always mean good climbing conditions. There is wind, nature's power, and as Don Juan De Marco said, we have to know how to avoid it. When snow falls from the South face, it accumulates a lot. The snow looks like "sugar" which does not compact, it seems like corn starch in which we easily sink into.

 

We hope weather conditions get better so we can climb with safety and joy. We heard news that some people summited by the north side. Here at basecamp the number of people giving up this year is increasing, and it's common to see the Yaks packed on the way back. Many people are going back home. We will try up to our last chance. The window will come. It came every year, so it must come again this year. Hillary and Tenzing summitted on May 29th...

 

Big hug for all,

 

Irivan Gustavo Burda

 

P.S.: In the main picture Waldemar and our tent at camp 3 (7300m).

Below, picture taken at camp 3 looking up, showing some tents and many climbers  going up to camp 4, but none of them summitted."

 

Translated from Portuguese by Lucia Andreia.

 

Dispatches

 

 

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