Posted in book review

Everest Disaster: Part 2

Continues from here

What happened before storm?

  • Hall waited for Hansen 2 hours after turn around time. He didn’t want to turn Hansen around as he had tried summiting but failed and this was his last attempt.
  • Scott Fischer finished last and was unwell. Sherpas helped him down.
  • Andy Harris mistakenly told other climbers that there were no gas cylinders at South Col. He realized his deed and helplessly carried them to Hall and Hansen after a Sherpa helping Scott refused to help him.

What happened after storm?

  • Hall makes it to South Summit without Harris and Hansen who both died.
  • Hall refused to descend as his body froze and after his last phone call to his wife, he died and was found 12 days later.
  • Scott was left for dead as he had cerebral edema and nothing could be done to save him.
  • Jon left Beck at the Balcony. Beck’s eyesight worsened.
  • Beck and Yasuko Namba were still alive buried in snow and the rescue team believed they were dead only for Beck to appear days later. His right arm was amputated. 4 fingers and thumb on his left hand removed. Nose amputated and reconstructed with tissue from his ear and forehead.
  • The South Africans refused to give their radio to be used to call Hall to rescue his team.
  • Helicopter landed at Icefall taking Beck and Gau (Sherpa) with it.

After the storm and recovery mission, IMAX and South Africans summited.

What I gained

  • There are 7 summits one must be familiar with before conquering Everest; Aconragna, McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson Massif, Kosciusko, Carstensz pyramid.
  • Everest Tibetan name is Jomolungma while its Nepali name is Sargarmatha.
  • In the 1970s and 80s, Base Camp was a big rubbish heap. Now it is the cleanest human settlement thanks to commercial expeditions and Rob Hall as well as Gary Ball who spearheaded an effort that removed 5 tons of garbage from Base Camp.
  • Descending Everest is a long tedious process than climbing.
  • High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is a lethal illness brought on by climbing too high, too fast in which the lungs fill with fluid (oxygen compounded by high pressure in the pulmonary arteries causing arteries to leak fluid. One coughs up pink blood.) The only cure is rapid descent.
  • High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is when fluid leaks from oxygen starred cerebral blood vessels causing severe swelling of the brain.
  • Short roping- technique for assisting a weak or injured climber.
  • Jumar- wallet sized device gripped on the rope by means of a metal cam which allows the jumar to slide upward without hinderance.
  • Gamow bag- inject fresh air into the chamber with a foot pump and is used to keep climbers warm and also for rescue.
  • Do training on actual peaks.
  • Crampon is key- grid of 2 inch steel spikes clamped to the sole of each boot for purchase on ice.
  • Belay- climbing term that denotes the act of securing a rope to safeguard one’s companion as they climb.
  • New repertoire of skills- ability to tiptoe in mountaineering boots and crampons across 3 wobbly ladders lashed end-end.
  • In Everest a climber is not tied to another with a 150 length of rope. In the icefall you climb independently by clipping your safety to the fixed line and sliding it up the rope as you ascend.
  • Bergschrund- deep slit that delineates a glacier’s upper terminus. It forms as the body of ice slides away from the steeper wall immediately above, leaving a gap between glacier and rock.
  • Everest lacks architectural grace. Looms a 3 sided pyramid of gleaming ice and dark, striated rock.
  • When things go wrong up in the Death zone even the strongest guides in the world may be powerless to save a client’s life.

PS: // what happened in 1996 is bound to happen again. It has already started happening.