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Mazeno ridge in focus: team splits up

Posted: Jul 13, 2012 04:02 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) According to the latest the Mazeno ridge climbers have decided to split up: Cathy and the Sherpas will descend through an unknown route while Rick and Sandy will try a second summit push.

The move follows yesterday's 18-hour long summit bid, that took the mountaineers to the foot of the pyramid at 7950 meters (Cathy turned back to high camp earlier).

Now remained a difficult descent, Cathy said in an audio dispatch: "It will be interesting getting down from the mountain [...] they (the four climbers) will be shattered after this summit day."

Coming down

The ridge is more than 10 km (6 miles) long with eight 7000 meter (23000 ft) peaks to pass along the route. Steep walls on each side make pulling out hard.

It's unclear where descent will take place. If encountering problems before Mazeno Peak, the climbers originally planned to retrace their steps back. For there on going backwards is very difficult and the plan then was to push on to the shoulder and descend via a traverse onto the Diamir face.

The ridge is not fixed, there are no fixed camps and the climbers use no supplementary oxygen.

The expedition commenced the climb on July 4th with 7 days of supplies, that could be stretched to 10. Cathy reported yesterday that they have almost run out of food and gas.

Tracking at the time of this publishing showed the team still on the ridge, although it's unclear who now carries the tracking unit.

A previous summit claim was attributed to translation difficulties by the social media team. The correction said the climbers reached high camp at 7200 meters, from where the final summit push took place.

In Cathy's audio dispatch posted yesterday she said the team left high camp 1 am for a final summit bid. They knew it was going to be a bad day in terms of weather but went for it anyway as they have almost run out of supplies.

The GPS navigation took the climbers straight up a rocky pinnacle and lots of technical rock climbing. At 7 am Cathy returned alone to the camp, exhausted. A later update said that the other four turned back after an 18 hour climb in poor snow.

The first woman to summit Everest from both South (1996) and North (1999), Cathy O'Dowd is attempting the climb, considered the longest ridge on any 8000er - with Rick Allen, Sandy Allan and three young Sherpa.


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Sandy and Rick are reported safely back in BC.
Image by Cathy O'Dowd courtesy Cathy O'Dowd, SOURCE