Report from Base Camp
by Audrey Salkeld
May 10, 1996
Stop Press! (Friday 10 May) Taiwanese Victim
We regret to record that Mr. Yu Nan Chen of the Taiwanese expedition has died.
It appears that early yesterday morning he left his tent at Camp 3 on the
Lhotse Face without wearing crampons and slipped on icy terrain. He fell into a
crevasse, from which he was hauled free by a Sherpa. At the time his injuries
did not seem too serious, and although he was not up to going higher he assured
his companions he was all right and they continued climbing.
Later in the day Sherpas of our team, returning from ferring loads to Camp 4,
found him in need of assistance and began accompanying him down the mountain.
They, too, formed the opinion that his injuries were minor. However, at 3
o'clock in the afternoon they radioed down to Camp 2 that his condition had
deteriorated. Half an hour later, they called again to say they now believed
him to be dead. They were still above the Bergschrund.
David Breashears, Robert Schauer and Ed Viesturs set off at once, in the hope—vain as it
turned out—that the victim might be only unconscious. A blizzard was blowing, but they
battled through it to successfully bring the body down to the vicinity of Camp
2. It was a melancholy and strength-sapping exercise which, not surprisingly, made them
decide to put in another rest day at
Camp 2. Our Summit Day is now expected to be the 13th.
The Yugoslavs made their bid for the summit on this day (yesterday, 9th May),
but were turned back at the Hillary Step. It was seven in the evening when
they arrived back at the South Col, absolutely exhausted. In fact one of their
members ran out of energy a few feet from the tents and had to be hauled inside
bodily. Shortly afterwards three South Africans arrived at Camp 4 on the Col,
and they too were very tired. They are resting today and may launch their
summit attempt at midnight. If they do not feel up to it, they will probably
give up and go down.
First Summitters of the Season
Today (10th May) Rob Hall with two other guides and three of his clients (John
Krakauer of Outside Magazine, a Japanese woman, Yasuko Namba and Doug
Hanson), along with three Sherpas; and nine members of Scott Fisher's group
(who include Sandy Pittman) reached the summit. This was the first ascent from
the Nepalese side this spring. We understand Makalu Gau, leader of the tragic
Taiwanese expedition, also made it up. However, all the ascents were around 2
in the afternoon, which is very late in the day. We are now anxiously awaiting
news that all of the climbers make it safely back to the Col tonight, and
beyond in the coming days.
With her ascent, socialite Sandy Pittman (41) also completes her 'collection'
of the Seven Summits, the highest points on all seven continents; Yasuko
Namba (46) becomes the second Japanese woman to climb Everest, twenty-one
years after her predecessor.
Araceli Segarra: Correction
In our report of May 2, we mistakenly gave the impression that
Camp 3 on Everest was the highest Araceli Segarra had ever climbed. This is
not true. She reached the top of Shishapangma (8008m) in 1992 and attained
7800m on the north side of Everest last year. What Araceli actually said was
that she had done harder climbs than the route she is currently attempting on
Everest, but not so high.