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Receiving News
from the North Side

May 13, 1997
By Liesl Clark
Previous Newsflash: Five Climbers Presumed Dead on the North Side
Interview with David Breashears and Tony Kahn of The WORLD, May 13
(RealAudio available)


While rumours have circulated that up to seven climbers have perished on the north (Tibetan) side of Everest, our radio communications with expedition members in Tibet continue to suggest that only five climbers have died. What we have been able to confirm about the accidents of May 8 is as follows. Three Kazakh climbers left the high camp at 27,500 feet and never returned. It is presumed that they reached the summit. One of the Kazakhs managed to return to within 100 meters of the high camp and collapsed there; his body is visible from the camp. We have not received any reports of the names of the dead Kazakh climbers. One Sherpa, who left the high camp for the summit, fell several thousand feet down the North Face. It is not known whether he reached the summit, but it has been confirmed that his body has been sighted at the base of the North Face.

In addition, one Austrian by the name of Peter Kowalsick was last seen late in the afternoon of May 8, climbing towards the summit without supplemental oxygen. He has not been seen since this sighting and could not have survived what has now stretched to five days without returning to the high camp.

Our reports of May 11 and today are based on information gathered through radio communication. Guy Cotter's New Zealand team at our Base Camp has a multifrequency radio and they have been able to dial into the frequency of Russel Bryce's expedition radio on the north side, specifically to obtain information regarding the recent accidents.

Geographically, Everest Base Camp on the north side is in Tibet, approximately 20 miles as the crow flies from our Base Camp on the south (Nepalese) side. The two Base Camps are separated by the highest mountains on Earth. Hence, communication is difficult and has only been possible through the use of radios. It is possible to drive to Base Camp on the north side, which sits at 16,500 feet, from Kathmandu or Lhasa. Geographically, the Base Camps are separated by a massive alpine rock and ice wall, including the peaks of Lingtren (22,137 feet), Khumbutse (21,861 feet), the Lho La pass (19,765 feet) and the West Shoulder of Everest (23,973 feet).

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)



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