Ice Fall Collapse; Boukreev Talks About the Climb
Wednesday, April 30, 1997 -- 8:30am (Base Camp)
Click to hear Todd Burleson's audio dispatch recorded over sat-phone.
From Burleson's Satellite Call:
Hi, it's Todd. It's April 30th about 8:30 am. Some news to report today: Leslie, Eric and Greg were going up this morning through the Ice Fall, and there was a major collapse which turned everybody around, so the Ice Fall is closed at the moment. Hopefully sherpa and some other members will be up there repairing it very shortly.
This day has been kind of a stand-still. They had to turn around which is sad because it's such a hard push to get up to one [Camp I at 19,500']. A lot of sherpa up above the Fall are being held there because there is no way to get down right now. I guess it's quite a big collapse. I'll report to you later on how that's going. Looks like everybody will either head back to one or stay at either one or two until this collapse is repaired.
Anatoli Boukreev came by last night while I was here in the tent very late. We had a long talk, and he said it was a very hard summit for him. Figured that they would not make it back to the South Col, so they did carry gear to put in a high camp which really paid off for him. [Earlier reports speculated on the team's preparation for a Camp V above the South Col.] A lot of congratulations: a lot of thought went into that.
Apa Sherpa and Anatoli Boukreev at the South Col
They summited very late, got back to The Balcony [27,500'], set up a tent and all got in it; spent the night; next day went to the Col; spent the night again and then went down to two. He says that everyone is in good health and doing well. He looked pretty knackered, but he again was in good health.
He said that he buried Scott [Fischer] on the way up, and also Yasuka [Namba] on the South Col, with mini stones. [The two were among the dead still on the mountain from last year's tragic storm.] And he's found some of her possessions that he's brought down hopefully to give to her family.
Also he says it was a very frightening experience but where you climb to begin the Hillary Step... there is a body there. And most likely it's probably the South African from last year which you have to climb over to get on the Hillary Step itself. [A member of the 1996 South African team was last seen climbing alone toward the summit late in the day.] He said it was quite frightening actually. It's a very exposed place to have to deal with something like that. So, I guess hopefully that will be changed by the time we reach that point, and hopefully someone will let it go. [When bodies cannot be brought down (as from high on Everest), the tradition is to bury them in a crevasse.]
Talk to you soon. Bye.
-- Todd Burleson, Expedition Leader