NOVA Online
Everest
Site Map

Rescue Season Begins
April 14, 1997
By Liesl Clark

This year, teams have been setting the route early and there is news that Camp I was established as early as mid-March. Calls for help are also coming in early. "This year we have already been radioed by climbers with altitude sickness at Camp I asking for a helicopter rescue," said Colonel Madan K.C. from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport.

Colonel Madan was the Nepalese Army helicopter pilot who volunteered to rescue American climber Beck Weathers and Taiwanese climber Makalu Gau from Camp I last year in an Ecuriel AS350 B2 helicopter. It was the highest Himalayan helicopter rescue in history. "Because of what we did last year, I'm afraid we've set a precedent for climbers who want to be lifted off the mountain from near Camp I with only minor problems," said Madan.

Colonel Maddan assured us, however, that he is refusing to rescue anyone who is able to walk down to Base Camp or who can be safely evacuated via stretcher. "It is our duty to help when we can, but we must consider the safety of the helicopter and the pilots when determining the necessity of these extremely dangerous high altitude helicopter rescues." Last year's rescue by Madan was perhaps the only hope for Weathers and Gau, who were assisted down the mountain from the high camps by David Breashears, Ed Viesturs, and Pete Athans, among others.

As this newsflash is being written, NOVA Everest Expedition's Sirdar, Jangbu Sherpa, and Deputy Expedition Leader, Pete Athans, are in the Icefall, descending from Camp I. Check back tomorrow to hear Pete and Jangbu's impressions of the route through the Icefall.

June 10, 1997: Back Home (27)
May 25, 1997: Climbers Return to Base Camp (26)
May 24, 1997: Descending Toward Base Camp (25)
May 23 PM, 1997: NOVA Climbers Safely Off the Summit (24)
May 23 AM, 1997: NOVA Climbers Reach the Summit! (23)
    Hear the archived live audio broadcast from the summit
    Read the transcript of the broadcast from the summit
May 22, 1997: Bid for the Summit (22)
May 21, 1997: Helicopter Crashes at Everest Base Camp (21)
May 20, 1997: Moving On Up (20)
May 19, 1997: Poised at Camp II (19)
May 18, 1997: Departing for Camp II (18)
May 17, 1997: Dead Sherpa Found on Khumbu Glacier (17)
May 16, 1997: Jet Stream Winds Blast Camp II (16)
May 13, 1997: Receiving News from the North Side (15)
    May 13, 1997: RealAudio Interview with David Breashears
May 11, 1997: Five Climbers Presumed Dead on the North Side (14)
May 10, 1997: The Waiting Game (13)
May 9, 1997: Pulmonary Edema Evacuation from Base Camp (12)
May 8, 1997: A Hasty Retreat to Base Camp (11)
May 7, 1997: Sherpa Falls To His Death On The Lhotse Face (10)
May 6, 1997: Spin: A Passenger to the Summit (9)
May 5, 1997: Delayed at Advance Base Camp (8)
May 4, 1997: NOVA Climbers Leave Base Camp for Their Summit Attempt (7)
May 1, 1997: NOVA Team Prepares for Summit Attempt (6)
April 26, 1997: Indonesian Expedition First to Summit in 1997 (5)
April 23, 1997: Expedition Leader Dies at Everest Base Camp (4)
April 22, 1997: Japanese Expedition Pulls Out (3)
April 16, 1997: Traffic Reports on Everest (2)
April 14, 1997: Rescue Season Begins (1)



Lost on Everest | High Exposure | Climb | History & Culture | Earth, Wind, & Ice
E-mail | Previous Expeditions | Resources | Site Map | Everest Home

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site