On May 25,
2006, at 7.54am (Nepali time), Johan Frankelius topped out on Mount Everest
(8850m; 29,035ft) from the north side via the North Col/Northeast Ridge route.
Johan's group of six western climbers (US, UK, and Sweden) commenced their
summit push from Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 6400 meters (21,000ft) on the
22nd and arrived at the North Col (Camp 1, 7010m; 23,000ft) a few hours later
that day. During the following two days the group moved up to Camp 2 and Camp
3, at 7600 (24,930ft) and 8260 meters (27,100ft) respectively, via the North
Ridge. From High Camp (Camp 3), about half an hour before midnight, the
climbing party started to climb the fairly steep rocky path up to the
Northeast Ridge proper. Armed with head torches, ice axes and oxygen apparatus
adjusted to deliver 2–3 liters of oxygen per minute, they continued to climb
upward, along the NE Ridge, toward the summit pyramid. Flashes of lightning
were seen in the lower western flanks and valleys of the Everest massif, a
sign that the monsoon is nearing the mountain. By the time they had surmounted
the notorious Second Step at 8610 meters (28,250ft), the summit pyramid of
Everest revealed itself in full flush of the alpenglow. Continuing up the
ridge and pyramid, they all topped out within three and a half hours. In the
meantime the sun was rising above Makalu, a lofty pinnacle some 20 kilometers
(12 miles) to the southeast.
On the summit Johan Frankelius planted various items such
as flags, collected snow in plastic test tubes, and most importantly, with his
camera recorded the awesomely impressive mountain scenery, e.g. Kangchenjunga
(8586m; 28,169ft) to the east, Makalu (8467m; 27,779ft) and Barun Valley to
the southeast, Lhotse (8501m, 27,890ft) to the south, and Cho Oyu (8201m;
26,906ft) to the west. Together with other Everest summiteers, Johan spent a
total of fifty minutes on the summit, save for the last two or three which he
spent alone taking the last shots, before he headed down to Camp 2 and, the
next day, ABC, which is situated on the East Rongbuk Glacier, in Tibet.
Johan Frankelius on the summit of Mount Everest at 8.30am
on May 25, 2006.
Sentinel to Johan, world's 5th highest peak, Makalu (8467m;
27,779ft); far right, Barun Valley (in Nepal); left of One Sport boot, 19
kilometers (12 miles) to the east-southeast, Chomo-Lonzo Central (7540m;
24,738ft) and just below C-L C, Chomo-Lonzo NW (7199m; 23,619ft). In the
distance, to the left, 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the east-southeast, looms
the 3rd highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga (8586m; 28,169ft). Twins
(main, 7350m; 24,114ft) is seen to the left of (north of) Kangchenjunga. Elbow
just blocks off the summit of Jannu, world's 32nd highest peak (7710m;
25,295ft), some 8 kilometers (5 miles) to the west of Kangchenjunga. Prayer
flags inscribed with mantra have been planted on the summit (bottom left).
Part of oxygen mask is visible above Charlet Moser piolet; hose leads into 45
L backpack lain on the summit. Photo: Mindu Chiri Sherpa (with Johan's
camera); Canon EF 1:1.8, f=50mm/Fuji Velvia 100
The summit of Mount Everest (8850m; 29.035ft) seen from the
Northeast Ridge, in Tibet, on May 25, 2006.
It is 7.45am and the “peopled” summit is within reach. Only
ten more minutes of the ascent remain before the photographer, too, tops out
on the highest pinnacle on Earth. The steep upper Kangchung Face (East Face),
center, plunges toward the Kangchung Glacier some 3.3 kilometers (2 miles)
below. No one has yet climbed “East Face Direct”, i.e. reached the top of
Everest from the foot of Lowe's Buttress (also known as the American Buttress)
close to the Kangchung Glacier, in Tibet, at 5500 meters (18,045ft), via the
red prayer flag (centre, right). Is “EFD” perhaps unclimbable? The cornices
behind the summit (center and left) belong to the Southeast Ridge, which forms
the border between Nepal and China (Tibet). SE Ridge stretches to the South
Col (world's highest saddle/pass, not seen here), which separates Everest from
Lhotse. The snow-capped summit is adorned with Buddhist prayer flags,
half-buried in snow, planted by summiteers from previous expeditions. In the
far distance, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) to the south, is the
mist-covered Terai, in Nepal (far left, above the last cornice).
Photo: Johan Frankelius; Canon EF 1:1.8, f=50mm/Fuji Provia
Looking south into Nepal from the summit of Mount Everest
at around 8.20am (Nepali time) on May 25, 2006.
The Southeast Ridge and the Everest South Side trail
leading up to the summit is seen in the foreground, including one (tiny)
climber on a cornice just below the Hillary Step (8763m; 28,750ft) about 200
meters (656ft) away. Lhotse (8501m; 27,890ft), the forth highest mountain in
the world, with its couloir leading up to the summit, towers to the left, 3
kilometers (1.9 miles) to the SSE.
Behind Lhotse, 24 kilometers (15 miles) away, is Chamlang
(7319m; 24,012ft), Hunku Valley (center), and, 23 kilometers (14 miles) to the
south, Peak 41 (6623m; 21,729ft), a rather
peaked mountain to the right of Honku Valley. In the
distance, 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) to the south of Peak 41 rises Naulekh
(6363m; 20,876ft). The snow covered and rather flat peak to the right and 32
kilometers (20 miles) to the SSE is Mera (6461m; 21,198ft), the highest
so-called trekking peak in the Everest region.
Photo: Johan Frankelius; Canon EF 1:1.8, f=50mm/Fuji Velvia
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