ExplorersWeb Week in Review

Posted: May 07, 2007 01:37 am EDT

Kazakh climbers showed their true colors last week: Vassily Pivtsov and Maxut Zhumayev summited Everest well ahead of any other foreign climber and without O2. Denis Urubko reached the top of Dhaulagiri, after aborting his speed ascent to help another mountaineer. Most 8000ers are less famous but more dangerous than the big E and last week they claimed yet another soul: Italian Sergio Dalla Longa died in an accident near Dhaula summit. Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga fell into a crevasse there after getting hit by avalanche, and spent an entire night descending in a raging storm. Mondinelli summited Cho Oyu, but Fausto de Stefani may be next to complete all 14, 8000ers, should he succeed on Lhotse.

ExWeb editorial: About Space, Everest and Borat How many times will we have to witness the world's foremost climbers rescue people in the death zone while hearing amateur climbers and Everest business folks repeating that it's impossible? Check out ExWeb's editorial about some of the recent high altitude topics and how come Borat is involved.

Maxut & Vassily SUMMIT Everest - without O2! Seems like the first summit this season is a fact, reported Abramov on April 30. At 6 p.m. Chinese time, Vassily Pivtsov and Maxut Zhumayev called on the radio from the top of Everest!" Everest is the young climbers' 11th 8,000er. They used no supplementary O2. 5 Sherpas fixing ropes on the north side of Everest topped out that same day as well.

American activists feared for their lives It's an amazing thing when you think about it: Chinese government invades Tibet, wrecks the monasteries, kills a good chunk of the people, shoots those who trie to leave, and now plans to crown the whole thing before the whole world by taking the Olympic torch to the pride of Tibet; the top of Sagarmatha. Not everyone is clamming up though - back in Kathmandu last Saturday, the five Americans arrested by Chinese authorities after they held protests in Everest BC, told media they had feared for their lives. The entire thing was fairly traumatic ... not sleeping for over 30 hours, being denied food and water for over 14, basically being psychologically terrorized, San Francisco resident Shannon Service said.

Indian/Chinese summit duel on Everests north side We saw the Indian team leaving ABC, team leader Arnold reported. They have set off for Camp 2 and, everything going according to plans, they want to push to the summit and beat the big Chinese team.

China to Philippines about new climbing fees: Its the law I met with China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) this morning to seek clarification on the new $3000 fee for traversing Everest, wrote Art Valdez. CTMA explained that this is a very recent new law, coming mid-April, which is why we were only informed April 18 while our expedition is already ongoing. Mr. Tso Mo, CTMA vice secretary general, clarified that he cannot do anything as much as he would want to help because this guideline came from Beijing. The new fee has to be applied to each climber.

Fausto de Stefani back for Lhotse Italian Fausto de Stefani, whose claims to have summited all 14 8,000ers was rejected by staticians after an unclear climb on Lhotse back in 1997, is back to clean up his resume and properly enter the list of high altitude masters. Fausto is climbing with younger Roberto Manni; long-time friend Sergio Martini is joining them for most of the ascent but then heading for Everest.

The route to the South Col is fixed IMG's and Ice 8000's Sherpas ended up fixing the last 400 meters of rope into the Col. Other Sherpa teams have been supplying the camps during the week, while climbers spent their first nights in C3, on the Lhotse face.

Its over for Mostafa Jordan climber Mostafa Salame, climbing in Mountain Madness team, is abandoning the expedition for health reasons. I want to stay, but my body wont let me, he said, unable to recover from the Khumbu cough.

Dhaulagiri: Serio Dalla Longa lost in accident Italian Sergio Dalla Longa, a member in Mario Merellis team, fell to his death on Dhaulagiri last Sunday. Sergio was reportedly meters away from the summit when he slipped and suffered deadly injuries to his head. Mountains have been cruel to the Dalla Longa family: Sergios brother Marco died on Nanda Devi (Indian Himalaya) two years ago.

Dhaulagiri: Urubko summits, but aborts speed ascent to help a climber down On his speed climb up the mountain, Urubko met Boris Korshunov, a 72 years old veteran and fellow speed climber, in trouble on the peak. The night had caught Boris below C3, at 7,300m Denis reported to Russian Climb. He was alone and with no tent. I felt I had to abort my summit push, and instead helped him down. Denis Urubko summited Dhaulagiri the next day instead.

Dhaulagiri: Jorge Egocheagas close call Jorge is home and surprised to be alive. The climber was swept 800 meters down the mountain by an avalanche, continued his descend almost blind, fell into a crevasse, got out with no gloves or ice-axe, and managed to find Camp 1. All in one night, with a major storm raging. Find the lucky Spaniard's debrief at ExWeb.

Dhaulagiri: More summits Romanian Horia Colibasanu called his home team from the summit of Daulagiri Tuesday. Also achieving the summit through the week were Russians Serguey Samoilov, Svetlana Sharipova and Evgeny Shutov; Italians Gian Paolo Casarotto and Cristina Castagna, Swiss Joelle Brupbacher, German Richard Brill and Spaniards Josep Noguera and Roger Sellent.

Mondinelli & Confortola: Cho Oyu training done Broad peak next up Silvio Gnaro Mondinelli and Marco Confortola summited Tibetan Cho Oyu on Tuesday.

Andrew Locks Shisha Pangma summit bid report: Things didnt go as planned He reached 7,800 meters, climbing alone from C3, but bad conditions on the mountain forced Australian Andrew Lock to abort his summit bid on Shisha Pangma. Andrews team was the first to launch a summit push on the peak. Lock is now moving to Nepal and Annapurna.

K2 deja-vu: Czerwinska and the Hungarians back for more Americans Chris Warner and Don Bowie are returning to Broad Peak and K2 this summer after a previous attempt in 2005; and so is Fabrizio Zangrilli. And there will be even more familiar faces from 2005 as it turns out. Anna Czerwinska will be back again with regular mate Dariusz Zaluski, and so will the Hungarian team led by Lajos Kollar.

Kazakh Extreme Chefs at K2 It was all about the Kazakh's this week which prompted American Chris Warner to email a funny short story from K2 anno 2005.

North Pole trip: Rosie half way there Rosie Stancer has finally skied by the mid point on her North Pole trip, although she is reportedly tired and suffering from hallucinations of sorts, seeing ghostly lights and smelling inexistent toasts.

Ousland & Ulrich: Destination, the 86th degree for now Norwegian Borge Ousland and Swiss Thomas Ulrich departed the North Pole on May 1. Good weather and ice conditions have allowed pretty good daily mileages. However, red tape may force the team to change plans. Right now, Borge and Thomas are heading for a point on the 86th degree of latitude, where back in 1995 Nansen abandoned his quest to reach the North Pole by ship. Once there, they will decide on the route they will follow in order to reach Norway. The team is going unsupported, hauling food and gas for three months.

Global Warming 101: Viesturs sweating along On his first dog-sledging expedition, American 14x8000ers summiteer Ed Viesturs is learning that mushing is not an easy task. We had to push and pull and get the sleds up these hills and rolls, and they weigh about 800 pounds, and so with two people on each sled, the first five miles up today was quite the full body workout. I felt like I was an NFL player at spring training camp, he said.

Tara expedition: New crew on board After a hectic month of April, calm has returned to the Tara, reported the team of scientists on board boat Tara, still iced up at the Arctic Ocean. The first rotation has been completed, with some crew members leaving, some others coming from the first time, and Herve and Audun returning to the ship with a load of supplies and gear.

Arctic Arc: Alain and Dixie on the hard side of the Pole The expedition is far from over despite the euphoria of attaining the Pole in 54 days, Alain and Dixies home team reported. And now the conditions are getting more difficult,. Alain added: we are about 70 kilos heavier since the resupply of our goods. But also, several passages of fallen ice were really hard to cross..

Erden Eruc headed for June launch on Pacific row Erden Eruc is mounting his bicycle back home in Seattle for a ride to the dock in San Francisco from where he will row across the Pacific Ocean to Australia.

Back to Gibraltar for Werner, but trip goes on Werner Stoltz is back in Gibraltar again. The 25-year-old left London on June 8, 2006, hoping to kayak 16,000km to Durban, South Africa. But ten months later, Werner was stalled by red tape in Morocco.

Read these stories - and more! - at ExplorersWeb.com

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Maxut (left) and Vassily are fresh from a bold ascent on Everest. The two climbers were the first non-sherpa climbers to reach the summit this season. They topped-out without O2, and reportedly refused to sip gas during their descent, in spite of having spent over 48 hours in the death zone. Should they summit K2 it would become their 12th 8000er. Image courtesy of 7Summits-club (click to enlarge).