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More Details on the Summit

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

The following is courtesy of Billi Bierling, Himalayan Experience:

Summit Success

On Friday, 20 May, 2011, eight Himalayan Experience clients, three guides and 10 Sherpas reached the top of the world between 5.50am and 7am. “The weather was great and fortunately the team did not have to deal with a lot of wind,” Russell said looking tired after having been up for most of the night following his team on the radio.

The team left the South Col at 12.25am and being a very strong group they were quickly confronted with other expeditions that had left hours ahead of them but were still inching up towards the first landmark, called ‘Balcony’. “Unfortunately, we could not really use the rope that was fixed to the Balcony as our team was stuck behind some slower climbers. So the Sherpas short-roped each individual client and overtook the others,” Russell explained.

The first radio call from the summit came from David Tait and Nawang Tenjing, who reached the top at 5.50am. “Congratulations on your fourth summit David, and Nawang, well done for your first time,” I heard Russell say on the radio while I saw Phuri, one of our cooks, chanting around our Buddhist ‘Chorten’ and burning incense for the team’s success. A few minutes later, our guide, Adrian Ballinger, and Dorgi Sonam Gyalgen came on the radio from the summit. “The weather is clear and the wind is only about 5km/h,” we heard them say from the top.

The next lot to arrive was Matthew Gabriele and Son Dorjee, closely followed by our guide Mark Woodward, Adam Parore, Naoki Ishikawa, Nima Tenzing and Pasang Nima, who checked in with our basecamp between 6.05am and 06.15am. At 6.18am the next radio call came in – this time from Alan, who had reached the summit together with Pasang Kami.

Down here at Base Camp, we were lying in our sleeping bags following the events of the morning very carefully. “Have you also been listening to the morning show?” Narly asked me while I was crawling out of my tent.

At 6.54am we heard that Rene Bergsma and his Sherpa Lakpa Nuru, Jim Holliday together with another Lhakpa Nuru, Phurba Tashi (his 19th summit), closely followed by Martin Frey, our guide Shinji Tamura and Tashi Chhiring had reached the top, which made the summit team complete. We were all very excited for the successful summits here at base camp, however, Russell reminded us that the team had only made it ‘half way’ so far. “I can only relax once everyone is back at the South Col.”

By 9.45am all climbers, guides and Sherpas were back at Camp IV, where they are currently resting. Some of them, who still have enough energy, will probably carry on to the lower elevations of Camp II while others will stay at 8,000m for the night and continue down tomorrow morning.

We would like to congratulate everyone on their amazing achievement and we are looking forward to celebrating with them before the Lhotse climbers make their final trip to the icefall for their summit bid.

List of summiteers

5.50 David Tait and Nawang Tenjing

5.56 Adrian Ballinger and Dorgi Sonam Gyalgen

06.05 Matthew Gabriele and Son Dorjee

06.12 Naoki Ishikawa and Nima Tenzing

06.15 Mark Woodward

06.15 Adam Parore and Pasang Nima

06.18 Alan Millard and Pasang Kami

06.54 Renee Bergsma and Lakpa Nuru

06.54 Phurba Tashi

06.55 Jim Holliday and Lhakpa Nuru

07.09 Shinji Tamura

07.09 Martin Frey and Tashi Chhiring