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  The Full Summit report: Americans Dan Lochner and Dan Meggitt Summit Everest 


Update: The Full Summit report...

Dispatch Everest 2004 Team Endeavor

We departed ABC in good spirit for our summit push.  It was a great day out, the sun was shinning bright however it was a bit warm while ascending the North Col.  We made great time and arrived at our tent just above the Col at 4pm.  After resting and removing our crampons, I looked for the stoves to prepare some water but I couldn't find them anywhere.  For a bit I was worried someone had ripped us off.  However after making our scheduled radio call down to ABC, our Sherpa helped us find the stove and pots.  After cooking a few liters of water and finishing our MRE's, we slipped into our sleeping bags with our down suits on and drifted off to sleep. 

At 5am, the sun was strong enough that as it penetrated the tent it caused us to wake.  We laid there until about 5:15am, being a bit lethargic and at this time we finally summoned enough energy to pull ourselves from our sleeping bags and fire up the stoves.  After melting some food and downing a liter of water, I had some instant oatmeal while Dan had a half frozen candy bar for breakfast.  Once our stomachs were full and we were done making water it was about 6am.  By this time the sun had heated the tent enough that it was pleasant to lay in the tent without being in the sleeping bag. Being so comfortable now and having slept little during the night, this was a perfect opportunity to pick up an extra hour or two of quality sleep, so we dozed off. 

I can relate this quality of sleep to that kind which I experience in college after studying most of the night for a test, getting a few hours of sleep during the early morning then taking the test.  The sleep I can relate to is that which immediately follows the test, when I collapse in my dorm room and sleep like a rock until the afternoon. 

Once we woke again it was about 7:00am and we began preparing to push off for Camp Two, however we ran into a problem.  By 7:30 we were almost ready to head up and Meggitt, testing out his oxygen system, realized it wasn't working properly.  The problem was that when Meggitt attempted to screw on the regulator, oxygen began to rush out of the bottle and this only increased in intensity as he tightened it more.  After trying another bottle, he realized that the bottle wasn't the trouble.  In order to trouble shot the problem, he tried screwing on my regulator to his bottle and it worked perfectly, without an oxygen leak.  Perplexed, he quickly removed the regulator but forgot to turn on the regulator to relieve it of the pressure it was currently under, blowing the O-ring.  As he removed the regulator, we saw the remains of the O-ring drop out from the threads of the regulator and onto the tent floor.  As I sat there and stared at the broken O-ring, it became clear what the trouble with his regulator was.  Now it was 8am and it was time to begin climbing but we had two broken regulators and we were on our way to Camp Three for our summit push.  We realized as we played with the system that the regulator could be screwed past the majority of the oxygen leak but it still had a small leak, even after over tightening it. We thought this was a poor way of solving the problem so Meggitt and I agreed to wait until our Sherpas arrived at Camp One, currently enroute from ABC.  Once Ang Mingma Sherpa and Man Bahadur Tamang arrived, they both looked at the regulators and said this wasn't a big deal and swapped our regulators with theirs.  With this, was began heading up to Camp Two.

      The climb to Camp Two was endless, following a snow-capped rib from C2 to C3.  This section definitely tested one's patience since every time one reached the top of a hill, in hope of a scenery change or a sight of tents, another hill followed.  In light of this, Meggitt and I made good time at this section.  By the time we reached 7,500 meters, we were finally greeted with tents signifying the beginning of C2.  From here, the climb changed from snow to rock and some sections were a bit tricky as we ascended to the upper portion of C2 at 7,800 meters.  We arrived at C2 at approximately 4pm.  Our camp was perched on a rocky shelf that was steep enough that if one slipped upon exiting the tent, one could easily fall and/or tumble a considerable distance.  As a result, we were careful around camp and took over time when making our way to/from the tent from the fixed lines.  Once we were settled in our tent, we fired up the stove and melted water while taking some time to shoot photographs and video.  By 8am, we put on our oxygen masks and went to bed.  During the night, while in a daze from breathing the oxygen, I became convinced that someone was tampering with my oxygen system, believing that the regulator had been turned to 0 liter/min.

Believing this, I kept removing my mask and then putting it back on when I realized that nothing was wrong and that I was imagining it.  I still cannot understand why I did this but nonetheless it did occur.  Anyhow, I managed to at least inhale oxygen for half the night.  

      In the morning, we both felt refreshed and energetic despite our climb from C1 to C2.  We moved quickly this morning and were on the trail by 8:30am.  In terms of the weather, it was fairly chilling out and the wind was strong enough to be annoying.  From C2 to C3, the climb was almost entirely on rock with the exception of a few patches of snow and ice. Breathing oxygen, I cruised by several people that were without oxygen and saw firsthand what affect altitude had on such climbers.  By 1:30pm, I reached C3 and waited here till 3pm until Meggitt arrived.  We rested for a bit while we waited for our Sherpas to arrive.  When it seemed that they were going to be late, we searched camp and finally located our campsite on a shelf like C2, but much more pronounced.  We began sitting up camp on our own and around 4:30pm our Sherpas arrived and together we finished setting everything up.  By the time we finishing cooking and consuming water, it was 8:30pm.  At this time, we put on our oxygen and fell asleep for a quick nap. By 10:45pm, we were up again, in sort of a daze, and began our final preparation for the summit.  Meggitt and I were slow getting ready but by 12:00am, we were all outside the tent and ready to go.

      As we began to ascend, Man Bahadur Tamang led the way followed by myself, Meggitt and Ang Mingma.  We made good time to the ridge although there were a few sections that were a bit hairy.  The wind was stronger than I had anticipated and although the temperature was fair my feet remained rather cold until the sun rose around the second step.  I felt confident on the ridge and fairly confident on the first step, however the region between the first and second step totally wigged me out.  Here, the ropes were horrible, the exposure was huge and the climbing terrain was shadier and narrower than expected.  During this section one particular spot was very narrow, being about one and a half feet wide, situated on flat slate rock which angled upward and pitched downhill to the right.  I almost refused to cross this particular section of rock because when I first tried it my crampons slipped down to the right.  I thought if I slip off this section of rock, I am going to be seriously hurt or possibly die, so I backed off and waited for Ang Mingma Sherpa.  When he arrived, he convinced me that it wasn't as bad as it seemed. He crossed with ease after grabbing several ropes and then walked carefully between them as he transferred some weight from his feet to the ropes in both of his hands.  Seeing how gracefully and confident he completed this section, I followed behind in a similar fashion without trouble but I was truthfully scared.  The second step was not as bad as I imagined but it was still very tiring and I found the rightward move from the top of the ladder to the rock platform above to be tricky.  Above the second step, the terrain was straight forward until the third step.

However, enroute to the third step, I was taken back by the four or so bodies which I saw lying out like logs to the right side of me.   Clearly Everest was not a game and this definitely put things into greater perspective for me.  Just before the third step, my energy was running severely low so I had a box of raisins, a Power Gel and some water, which did the trick.  The third step was straight forward as well but it still required a sizable amount of effort given the altitude and my deteriorated stamina.   Once above the third step, the summit pyramid was the final obstacle, which was definitely steep in nature.  Third-quarters of the way up, we traversed around the right side of the summit pyramid on a narrow rocky ledge and then ascended back up the left hand side toward the upper limits of the pyramid.  Here one is met with snow again on reasonably flat terrain and just above this section appears at first glance to be the summit.  In reality, once I climbed to the top of it, I realized it wasn't the summit which saw off in the distance, slightly to the left.  In order to reach the summit from here, one has to walk up and down several unroped hilly sections which are somewhat steep and precariously slant toward the North Face.  The only life line here was your ice axe in the event that one slipped and began to slide toward the North Face.  Meggitt and I took our time on this remaining section and by 10:45am, we finally stood on the top of the world.  We finally made it.  I truly felt privileges to make the summit as there is definitely a component of uncertainty involved with it regardless of one's preparation.  Surprisingly, we remained at the summit for an hour, taking several summit photographs video and calling loved one's.  At the summit, I tried calling my Mom, Dad, and Brother which I was really looking forward to doing.  I had a great conversation with my Mom however I reached voice mail for my Dad and Brother, figures.

Dan Lochner

Dispatches

 
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