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Jet Stream Winds Blast Camp II
May 16, 1997
By Liesl Clark

Even from Base Camp you can hear the roar of the winds up high. "Some tents flew away like kites," said John Tinker, leader of an Everest expedition. John is among climbers at Camp II who are stranded in the highest winds there this year. Gusts up to 90 and 100 miles per hour are knocking people over. "It's hard to stand up," radioed in John Tinker. He reports that some of the kitchen tents up there have completely blown away. The full extent of damage at Camp II will not be known until our climbers go up and have a chance to see for themselves what remains of the camp, also known as Advance Base Camp.

The daylong winds continued to batter the remnants of Camp II. Many of the camps are unoccupied, so in an enormous cooperative effort, teams and Sherpas that are up at Camp II have been trying to salvage tents belonging to neighboring expeditions. Tents which had survived the initial wind blasts of the morning were taken down by climbers at Camp II and then covered with rocks.

Those who were at Camp II spent the day inside their tents trying to hold them up. There was the fear that if they left their tents, the structures would blow away completely. Late in the afternoon, we received reports that climbers were abandoning Camp II, due to continued and increasing winds. Without kitchen tents for cooking or personal tents to protect them from the winds, climbers have to abandon what were once their well-stocked Advance Base Camps. All retreating climbers are roped together to prevent themselves from being blown across the glacier.

Unfortunately, the winds are expected to continue for the next few days. Satellite weather reports show a large cyclone is moving up from the Bay of Bengal, which could be responsible for this strong weather system. Climbers are worried about deep snow conditions that could be caused by the arrival of the cyclone system.

"We'll have to go back up and rebuild camp," said our expedition leader, David Breashears while hiking back from nearby Gorak Shep, a trip that was much needed by us all for exercise and morale. Joining him were Jangbu Sherpa, Dave Carter, Ed Viesturs, Veikka Gustaffson, Guy Cotter, and Tashi Tenzing. David continued, "The kitchen tent we're sharing with the Canadians has completely blown over. Luckily, we think our personal tents are intact, but we won't be able to go back up for another few days because our cook has abandoned Camp II with all the others who are coming down from the high winds."

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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