Self portrait, yeah was cold up there
Climbing the slopes
of Mt. Everest is sometimes as dangerous if, not more dangerous than going for
the summit. Last year while climbing towards the camp at 8300m or the last camp
on the North side of Everest, I walked into a very unnerving situation. Only 30-45 minutes below
this camp is a place as
dangerous as climbing K2 and the danger is not from falling rocks or
sharp ridges but from missiles of Oxygen bottles. While I was descending from
the last camp after my first summit attempt with my wife Lakpa Sherpa and Slava Skripko (a Russian climber and friend) we sat down for a rest just
minutes below when I was hit directly on my back by an empty Oxygen bottle, my
luck was the large sleeping bag I was carrying inside my back pack, it took my
breath away for a few seconds but other than a little pain I wasn't hurt at
all. The moral shock was so great that
I made the rest of the descent looking up in
fear that another bottle might come down,
constantly thinking if it would hit me just few centimeters higher would have
hit me exactly behind my head with serious circumstances or death.
On my second attempt
on May 30th, I was climbing in the same area, luckily with my eyes toward the
last camp when a bottle came straight toward to my head, I only had time to move my
head slightly to the right and it missed by few centimeters, the bottle picked
up speed at every bounce and went down towards the two climbers just 100
meters bellow, I had time to yelled: "watche [watch out]" but the speed of the bottle was
greater than the sound of my voice and went just less than a half meter on
right hand side of an Irish climber, he had no chance to react since he was
climbing with his eyes down on the ground, the bottle went strait down the
North face and on the main Rongbuk Glacier.
I was angry at the
Tibetan sherpa climbing above me, thinking he was responsible for sending the
bottle down the mountain, I scream in anger but he couldn't hear me.
Approaching the last camp I notice many empty bottles resting precariously
only behind little pebbles of rocks, totally irresponsibly abandoned by
climbers or sherpa. I realize this is a serious problem and a tragedy waiting
to happen and I know will happen unless some awareness and education takes
After the summit I
share my experience with two sherpa from Russell Brice's team, Phurba Tashi
Sherpa and Chhiring Sherpa, both summited twice last year and are incredible
strong and dedicated true guides, they informed me that one of the members
from Russell team was also struck by an Oxygen bottle in the head and bled
seriously. While Russell knows very well the terrain and place this ballet of
flying bottles takes place, there is little one can do to prevent it.
A sign planted at
the left turn below the snow slope (8150 m) can make climbers aware of
danger, those who might not be able to read English or French or other
international language might not benefit from the sign, therefore this can be
mentioned at the regular meeting Russell and other commercial expedition hold
and try to educate climbers of the ever waiting danger of carelessness. I
truly believe this will save lives and prevent making Mt Everest an dangerous place
far from its summit.
Will see you on
Everest, again. George Dijmarescu
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assistance for Gheorghe and Lakpa’s historic climb, please contact us at
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