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 Giving up the summit of Annapurna for a Tibetan climbers' life: Piotr Pustelnik Annapurna 2006 Update

Two new dispatches

Hello, Piotr Pustelnik – mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006 – Annapurna. We are in the BC on 4130 m. Our first report was rather emotional. I would like to report some details about the last few days. As you know we have chosen the route through the east ridge. We had to go through the tough glacier earlier. There are a lot of seracs, slits and it is hard to find the way through. It took us a few days to pass the glacier. We had estimated the time of the climb for 6 days and we had a food reserves for 8 days. The himalaists from Tibet also had food reserves for 6-8 days. It took us too much time to pass the glacier and then to find the right place for the second deposit on the pass between Roc Noir and Glacier Dom. It appeared then that we should go down to the BC to complete our food reserves, but it would take us too much time. We had decided to take a risk and go up. Only one of the Tibetan himalaists, Lotse, joined us. We started the way from the edge, the route on Roc Noir is a steep slope and there was a lot of snow. Then there is a very sharp snow ridge. It took us two days to go through it to the plateau near the east summit. I would like to concentrate on the 21st of May. Piotr, Peter, me and Lotse had started the way to the east summit about 6 o’clock in the morning. Lotse used oxygen on that part. The weather was rather good, typical for Annapurna. Calm in the morning and wind with snowfall in the afternoon. It took us some time to climb there and then to find the ridge leading towards the middle summit. Peter Hamor, the best alpinist in the group had found the way. Lotse didn’t put his sun glasses on the oxygen mask appropriate, so the sun could reach his eyes for the whole day. It was about 8000 m. Probably then started his problems with eye nerve harmed by the sun. We had lost Peter, who went in the direction of the middle summit, from our sight. Lotse started to feel eye ache then. We were between the east and the middle summit. We knew then then Lotse’s problems will continue. We started to look for some good place for a bivac. We didn’t have any flash-light so Lotse couldn’t go to the camp alone. It was the end of our dreams of the summit of Annapurna. We had to go down before the sunrise. We came to the camp about 5 o’clock in the morning. At that time Peter was in the bivac on the ridge between the middle and the main summit. Lotse lost his sight completely. We had to forget about reaching the summit. There was no food, nothing to drink and Lotse who couldn’t see. We had to evacuate ourselves from the mountain. I think I am not ready yet to talk about it...Through the Plus GSM satellite phone, Piotr Pustelnik, thank you.

Day 65 – 25th of May: Good morning, Piotr Pustelnik, mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006 – Annapurna. We came back to the BC few hours ago. The first and most important news is that we are all alive. Everything is all right, though the climb was rather dramatical. There was no accident, but due to the bad weather we had a delay going on the edge, so we didn’t have enough food. On our route we had two camps, then we reached a place from which we wanted to start the final attack. We climbed on the east summit and started the way through the edge in the direction to the main summit. The conditions were very hard, Peter Hamor was leading, Piotr Morawski, Lotse – the himalaist from Tybet, and I were following. Peter reached the summit and settled a bivac on the edge between Main and Middle summit. We wanted to rest, so we started to prepare a bivac, and planned to reach the summit on the next day. Then something unexpected happened – Lotse informed us about problems with sight. We had to take him back to the tent. It took us about 8 hours. About an hour later Lotse couldn’t see anything. It was a beginning of difficult human, moral and ethical fight with Annapurna. We were starving, sitting on 7500 m. and waiting for some improvement of Lotse’s health. It was a fight for survival. We couldn’t count for help due to the difficulty of the route to the place where we had a camp. The fight with time started, because sitting there with Lotse could made it impossible also for us to go down. We finally decided for that. We were all exhausted and had problems with balance. The way down through the edge and then the glacier took us two days. It was a extremely difficult test of a human nature, important and valuable. Summing up – we made the route, the member of our team reached the summit, everyone is alive. We will talk about details later. I have to say, on the end of my career, that I have never made anything more dangerous and difficult. This is my good-by with Annapurna, a really nice one. Maybe it is like that in life that you overcome some barriers on the end, when you have to stop. Through the Plus GSM satellite phone, extremely happy, Piotr Pustelnik. Till the next contact.

mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006 – day 58 – the attempt to reach the summit of Annapurna.

Yesterday Piotr Pustelnik (HiMountain Team), Piotr Morawski (Marmot Team), Peter Hamor (Slovakia), Don Bowie (USA/Canada) and both himalaists from Tybet went through the walls of Roc Noir and Glacier Dome and came close to the Roc Noir pick. They settled the camp here for the night on 7000 m. Artur Hajzer and Janusz Majer from HiMountain Team, who did the route (with Jerzy Kukuczka) on Annapurna in 1988 expect that today (May 18 th) the team should reach the surrounding of Annapurna East, where they plan the next night. It should be on about 8000 m.

The long east edge shouldn’t be technically difficult for the team.  Polish expeditions (in 1988) didn’t even use any ropes on that part of the  route.

They will have to cope with the difficult section of the edge on the way from the East to Main summit (all climbs above 8000 m.). They will need to bo on rope all the time and belay each other very careful.

Best regards, Wojtek Jemiolo

Day 55 (15th of May)

Good morning, Piotr Pustelnik, mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006 – Annapurna. I have some good news this time, we have made the route through the glacier and we have approached to the edge. Our tents are on 6200 m. We came down now to the deposit on 5300 m. to have a rest and to complete the food reserves. It seems that the weather gets better. Tomorrow we will take some equipment to the deposit II on 6200 m. and we will stay there for the night. On the next day we are planning to go to the edge and, if the weather lets us, to reach the summit in four days time from now. We feel good, maybe apart from Don who is a little bit cold. That is a worry for us. Our friends from Tybet are very efficient and hard working, they bring a lot of help to us. We are greeting everyone. Best wishes to all our sponsors. With the help of Plus GSM, Piotr Pustelnik, thank you.    

Day 52 Good morning, this is Piotr Pustelnik, mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006 – part two Annapurna. Our plans have changed this morning due to the weather collapse. At five o’clock in the morning it started to rain. The air is warm and humid, and it is still raining so we have got one day of rest. Don didn’t feel well this morning, we will see how the situation with his health will develop. Today I am going to call Karl Gabl to get some more news about the weather. There is also a case of our deposit, we hope that there won’t be a heavy snowfall in the upper parts. We are going up tomorrow, of course if the weather lets us to. Greetings to everyone, through the Plus GSM satellite phone, Piotr Pustelnik, thank you.

Day 48 (7th of May): Good morning, Piotr Pustelnik, mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006 – Annapurna. We are in the BC, today we have packed our equipment. There was also Puja celebrated by two friends from Tybet who are going with us. We want to make a deposit tomorrow, as high as we can. It will not be c1, which we plan on 6400 m., because we have to come back to the BC tomorrow. We are waiting for the weather forecast, hoping it will be a good one. Everyone feel well. Greetings to all the listeners, we will contact in a few days time. Thanks to Plus GSM, Piotr Pustelnik.   

Update: Day 45 (4th of May): Hello, this is Piotr Pustelnik, mBank Lotto Himalaian Triptych 2006, part two – Annapurna, the South side, Sanctuarium. We are on the way to the ABC. We have reached Chomrung. We should get to the ABC tomorrow or the day after tomorrow before noon. The surrounding is not new for us, we have all been here. Everyone feel well. We hope the weather will be good. Now it is typical, heat till noon and a storm in the evening. The humours are very good. We will contact from the ABC, when we will know what are the conditions. Warm greetings to everyone. With the help of Plus GSM piotr Pustelnik, thank you.


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