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Everest & Himalaya wrap: How Anselm found Cleo in the snow, face down

Posted: May 30, 2011 06:45 pm EDT

(Tina Sjogren/story corrected May 31) Virtually bulletproof year after year; this season the Everest weather window was not. Initial days of sun and calm transitioned into hard wind and cold preventing seasoned climbers such as Andrew Lock, Ueli Steck, and Don Bowie to summit.

The biggest story though this memorial weekend was a rescue report from Kanchenjunga. An unconscious woman climber - left head down on a slope by her Sherpas - was rescued by her team mates in a turn of events that are anything but flattering to the Nepalese climbing outfit on the peak.

Posted Saturday by Anselm Murphy, it tells of his and Ted Atkins' rescue of injured Brazilian/American Cleo Weidlich. The two climbers try to get help from Sherpas in place:

"We found one sherpa who had a completely full bottle and said we needed this to help Cleo. Ted owned another full bottle that was below us in Camp 2, and we offered this in exchange. This would mean the sherpa lost nothing, and saved having to carry the bottle down. Unbelievably, and with a woman’s life in danger, he refused to let us have the oxygen unless we paid him $400 (normal price $280).

Condemning their behavior Alex Gavan was reportedly attacked by the Sherpas in base camp. When Pawel Michalski came to his aid the situation escalated into downright brawl*. A must read (and likely to debunk some naive views of Sherpa in the west) the report should be taken very seriously by the Ministry and local climbing agencies.

(*A few corrections by Anselm to this ExWeb blurp:
1 - You say Ted found Cleo in the snow, but in fact it was me who found her. Ted arrived 5-10 mins later.

2 - The fight at BC. When Pawel came to Alex's aid things did not 'escalate into a downright brawl' as you said. As my account states, this actually got everyone out of the dining tent to see what was going on and everyone's presence calmed the situation down. Things then started up again briefly when the sirdar lunged for Alex and he was restrained by Blair. Then they 'young sherpa' hit Blair, who then hit him. The sherpa then ran off. There was no mass brawling.)

#Mountaineering #topstory

How Anselm found Cleo in the snow, face down.
Image by Unknown courtesy Mingma Sherpa/Anselm Murphy, SOURCE