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  Mt. Everest 2005: Dirk Stephan and Keith Woodhouse: To climb or not to climb!


Update: Decision time! To climb or not to climb? That is the question. Weather forecasts are contradictory but general view is that no summit attempt will be possible before 20th and maybe later!
This presents me with I think 3 options!
1. Take the most optimistic forecast and try and persuade a team to have a go!! Realistically I think that this would border on suicide. Even if I could convince a Sherpa team to support such an attempt, it would be considered foolhardy given that there is not a single team above BC at the moment and given the forecast temperature and wind chill the loss of fingers or toes would be almost inevitable!
2. I could call it a day and head for home. I can't tell you just how much this option appeals but to take this option would be reduce to zero the effort, personal discomfort, physical and mental stress, the likes of which I have never experienced before to this extent. To give in now would probably mean it would haunt me forever!!
3. I stick it out, miss my plane home and beg forgiveness from Sue, my family friends and work colleagues who have been so tolerant of me on this personal challenge. At BC like the rest of the people here, I'm slowly wasting away, exercise is becoming more limited as the Ice Fall becomes more dangerous and unstable. So another decent to Dewoche or somewhere similar will be necessary. Depending on who would agree to such a plan will determine whether I can continue to do regular updates! So what to do?

After lunch today we are going to do a detailed analysis of the different weather forecasts and likely scenarios. Following that, I will make my decision!

On a separate note one of the climbers who was hurt in the avalanche at C1 and who turned out not to have a permit, was allegedly fined $20,000 and banned from entering Nepal for 10 years. Ouch!!!

Last night we had quite a bizarre evening watching the Imax Everest film of 1996 with the Sherpas on a portable DVD player. Apart from recording Sherpa Tensings son following his fathers' footsteps, it also recorded the worst tragedy in Everests' history. A timely reminder if I needed one of how serious this climb really is - still the Sherpas seemed to enjoy it!!

 Dispatches

Background

Dirk Stephan and Keith Woodhouse, a small German/English team of two will attempt Everest in Spring of 2005 via the normal southeast ridge route. Keith is in his fifties, Dirk 39. "Both of us have extensive mountaineering experience, I am in a lifetime project of the seven summits, already started with Kilimanjaro, 20 years ago. My expeditions have been self organized whenever possible. I soloed Aconcagua and Elbrus - if you can call it this way on this beaten tracks. Everest and Carstensz are still missing. Keith and me climbed Denali together the year before. Keith works for British Telecom as Manager Global Solutions. I am Pilot for a German Charter Company. My aim is to support a cancer charity. This has a personal background, as my wife has cancer herself and I am greatly involved in researching things and supporting people with the same fate. Everest is a good opportunity to raise funds things like this. Every support is welcome!"

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