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 Mt. Everest 2005: Singapore Mountaineer Dr. Robert Goh, the leader of the Premier Taxi Everest Expedition without oxygen, abandoned his summit bid this morning.


Update: June 1 -- Everest Base Camp

 

Singapore Mountaineer Dr. Robert Goh, the leader of the Premier Taxi Everest Expedition without oxygen, abandoned his summit bid this morning.

 

He was weakened after spending two nights at Camp 4 (7,900m) without oxygen, as well as two nights at Camp 2 earlier on.

 

Last night, when he was preparing to mount his summit bid with climbing mate Edwin Siew, the winds were whipping at 60 to 70 knots, gusting occasionally at 80 knots.

 

"It was too dangerous to go up under those conditions," he explained. "So we decided to postpone our ascent by one day."

 

That meant a second night without oxygen at altitude with little or fitful sleep which left his weakened and tired.

 

"I am certainly disappointed," said Dr. Goh, 39, a research scientist, "especially when Ed and I had climbed up to Camp 4 in good time."

 

"But I also know it would not be wise to go ahead with the summit bid in my condition," added the mountaineer who had previously summitted Mount Xixabangma (8,002m) in 2002 in alpine style and Cho Oyu (2,200m)last year without oxygen.

 

"It could compromise the expedition if I got into difficulties and Ed and his Sherpa had to help me down."

 

It has been a particularly difficult season at Everest, with the winds blowing hard and relentlessly for several weeks. The weather had also been unpredictable with no clear summit window with milder winds.

 

If the wind speeds are lower tonight than last night, Mr. Siew will  try for the summit.

 

"I feel good and positive," said the 36-year-old head of training at the Outward Bound School. "If the winds tonight at not too strong, I will go for the summit.

 

"I feel my chances are 50-50; I will do my best."

 

Mr. Siew summitted Everest with oxygen in 1998, the first man from a Singapore team to do so. If he succeeds this time, he will be the first Singaporean, indeed the first South-east Asian, to summit Everest twice, and to summit without oxygen.

 

A third member of the team, Mr. Lim Kim Boon, an outdoor instructor, had difficulties acclimatising and had abandoned his climb.

 

Lulin Reutens

 

 

Dispatches

 

 

 

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