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  Franck Pitula's gripping account of his Everest Summit ascent:  Summit Climb Everest 2004 Dispatch


5/23/2004: Dear EverestNews.com,  Thanks for the great work you are doing at EverestNews.com.

Here is Franck Pitula's gripping account of his summit ascent for your French speaking audience. I think they will enjoy it very much. Thanks again, you guys at everestnews.com are great!

On the 18th of May there were 5 people on our team who arrived at the summit of Everest via the North face: 3 Americans, 1 French (myself) and 1 sherpa, all with oxygen. We have seen uncertain weather windows, but it paid off. The second wave had little chance as ultimately all things said snow. At the end of a very long effort, a South African from our group has all the same arrived at the summit. The others had to give up en route. This is something, but it is for the best: we arrived at advance base camp alive and in near pretty good health. During these last days, several people died in the same places where we have gone. Everest is not reputed to be greatly technical, but it does not remain less dangerous. To come down, it took me 3 days; I remained very concentrated. A bad slide that happened 2 times without consequence can quickly turn dramatic. The place called the "Second Step" is particularly difficult, both going up and coming down. I implemented all of my knowledge as a mountaineer. A Korean chose the bad fixed rope, and he remains there! Everest is a terrible experience, and sometimes although one hears about its banality and ease, this is not true at all.

Today some others are again up high, but their chance of success is weak; there's a lot of snow. A third team waits, but the weather forecasts are pessimistic. In all, we have 24 candidates and Sherpas who would like to make the summit. For we 6 who have succeeded, it's over. The others wait with hope for a weather window. They can't wait more than 3 days to leave for high up because to make the summit requires about 5 days under 7000m.  But the motivation is waning because monsoons approach. One of the great difficulties on Everest is the waiting, while watching health and motivation. This might appear petty, but it is more difficult than speaking about the technique that one has or does not have, which is much simpler.

Little by little, I realize my climb. I believe that I am the 28th Frenchman to have summited Everest via the North, and the 60th overall (to be confirmed). It is nothing. I think that I will benefit better from all of this once the expedition is over.

Franck Pitula, direct from advance base camp on Everest, 6400m. Saturday, 22 May 2004, 11.46 AM. Peking.

Ca y est, le 18 mai 5 personnes de notre equipe sont arrivees au sommet de l'Everest par son versant nord : 3 americains, 1 francais, moi-meme, et un sherpa, tous avec oxygene. Nous avons mis a profit une incertaine fenetre meteo, mais elle c'est averee payante. La 2 vague a eu moins de chance, le temps au lieu de se degager est en fin de compte reste a la neige. Au terme  d'un tres long effort, un sud africain de notre groupe est tout de meme parvenu au sommet. Les autres ont du abandonner en route.

Ceci est une chose, mais il y a mieux : nous sommes redescendu au au camp de base avance vivants et en a peu pres bonne sante. Durant ces derniers jours,  personnes sont mortes dans les endroits memes ou nous sommes passe. L'Everest a beau ne pas etre repute technique, il n'en demeure pas moins dangereux. Pour redescendre, ce qui m'a pris 3 jours, j'ai du reste tres concentre. Une mauvaise glissade, ce qui m'est arrive 2 fois sans consequences, peut vite s'averer dramatique. L'endroit dit le "2eme step" est particulierement difficile, a la montee comme a la descente. J'y ai mis en oeuvre tout mon savoir faire montagnard. Un coreen a choisi la mauvaise corde fixe, il y est reste ! L'Everest est une experience terrible, et bien que l'on entende parfois parler de banalite et de facilite, ce n'est pas vrai du tout.

Aujourd'hui d'autres sont encore en altitude, mais leur chance de succes sont faibles, il a beaucoup neige. Une 3eme equipe attend, mais les previsions meteo sont pessimistes. En tout nous sommes 24 pretendants + les sherpas qui aimeraient faire le sommet. Pour nous 6 qui avons reussi c'est termine, d'autres attendent avec espoir une fenetre meteo, il ne reste plus que 3 jours pour partir en altitude car faire le sommet demande environ 5 jours au dessus de 7000m. Mais la motivation s'emousse car la mousson approche. Une des grosses difficultes de l'Everest est l'attente, en gardant la sante et la motivation. Cela peut paraitre anodin, mais c'est plus difficile que de faire parler de la technique que l'on a ou l'on a pas, ce qui et beaucoup plu simple.

Petit a petit je realise mon ascension. Je crois que je suis le 28eme francais a avoir fait l'Everest par le nord, et le 60eme en tout ( a confirmer ). Ce n'est pas rien. Je pense que je profiterai mieux de tout cela une fois l'expedition terminee.

Franck pitula en direct du camp de base avance de l'Everest a 6400m d'altitude, le samedi 22 mai 2004 a 11h46 heure de Pekin.

Dispatches

 
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