Note this update is from the Dutch part of the team....
Operation ‘Saving Fabian’
Today, Tuesday July 13, Rooz
and Frits are busy moving camp 1. Our old camp was in need of a thorough
renovation, partly due to the melting of snow under and around our tents.
Building the camps brand new is even better, especially when there are three
new free spaces in the ‘official’ camp 1, around hundred meters (330 feet)
So Rooz and Frits are busy
packing the two tents and all the personal belongings which were carried there
the past few weeks. After that, they will bring all the material up in a
couple of walks and establish camp 1 again. It was ‘very good work according
to expedition-leader Roland.
The days before these were
less happy. The planning of all climbers was quite mixed up by an incident on
Sunday. Wouldn’t the four Dutch climbers be in camp 3 already after all?
It is Sunday July 11, 0700
hour. Rooz, Frits, Bob and Menno are slowly waking up. Today they will ascend
to camp 2, but then a request for help comes by radiotelephone, the start of
operation “Saving Fabian”. A French climber is in an emergency situation. He
has been brought into camp 2, more dead than alive. Doctor Deb, who is in camp
2 with Paul, Jef and Gary, examines him and concludes he has HAPE. He has to
go down immediately! The four climbers of our expedition cancel their plan to
go to camp 3 and prepare the evacuation. At nine o’clock Bob, Frits and
Menno climb towards camp 2 to wait halfway up, while Paul and Jef put the
Frenchman named Fabian, in a sleeping bag and start to lower him down the
mountain. It doesn’t take long before a handy system is worked out to let him
slide down the mountain, safe and secure. Around 1100 hour Paul, Deb and Fabian
arrive at the point where Bob, Frits and Menno are waiting for them. Bob takes
over the lowering from Jef, while Menno takes over the caring of the injured
climber. He holds his hand and talks to him the whole way down. “If he dies
right now, there will at least be someone holding his hand”. Frits takes care
to maintain a safe situation for the whole team. He keeps an eye on the
surroundings and warns for possible avalanches which could come down. He also
takes over the backpacks of Menno and Bob. In a dazzling pace they descend
further in stages of sixty meters (190 feet), the length of the rope.
Fabian is noticeably
recovering while he is descending. He crawls out of his sleeping bag several
times and starts making sounds. A good sign!
Around one o’clock they
arrive at camp 1. There he is examined again. He is by now also a bit
hypothermic from the dragging through the snow. Rooz has made warm tea, but be
doesn’t drink. Because of that she tries to rub his feet warm. She also
changes his wet socks for dry and warm down slippers. Deb gives an extra
injection DEX. By now there is also an extra bottle of oxygen carried up. It
turns out nice that our team has oxygen ready at base camp, Fabian’s
expedition doesn’t seem to have that. Later on the team of Dave Pritt
(Adventure Peaks) would also supply a bottle of oxygen.
Then there is a meeting. The
slope from camp 1 down to base camp isn’t very safe. It has snowed a lot the
last few days and avalanches aren’t an unfamiliar sight in the afternoon.
By now it is 1400 hour,
really too late to go down. But if Fabian stays here, he will probably die.
The decision is quickly made: We continue to descend to base camp. Everything
is being prepared for the final stage and within half an hour he is already
prepared to leave. Even faster than before Fabian is sliding down. Screaming
and fighting with his arms. At the ‘half camp’, at the top of the couloir, Bob
and Menno hand over their task to a climber of the expedition Fabian belongs
At 1630 hour he is carried
into a tent, which serves as a small emergency hospital at the bottom of the
glacier. Especially Paul and Jeff deserve a lot of honor. They descended with
Fabian all the way from camp 2 to base camp. In the tent he gets a drip and
are his eyes are nursed. Even though his rescuers have tried to cover his eyes the
whole day, the extreme intensity of the sun gave him snow blindness. After his
clothes were changed and another dose of DEX was administered, he was put in a
pressure bag for the night. The air pressure in such a bag can be increased,
which simulates a situation on a much lower altitude.
The next morning the Godwin
Austin Glacier is woken by the sound of a helicopter. After Fabian is loaded
in the chopper, it leaves - the pilot clearly has difficulties flying this
high – to the hospital of Skardu. According to Doctor Deb he has a big chance
to survive without lasting injury.
In the late afternoon, Bob
and Menno climb to camp 1 again where they spend the night. The next morning
(Monday) they leave with Rooz en Frits towards camp 2. Everyone is very tired
of the rescue operation the day before. Menno decides to turn around at 5850
meters (19200 feet): ‘My legs feel like I have cycled a stage of the Tour de
France’. Rooz, Frits en Bob slowly ascend to camp 2, to bring some ‘groupgear’,
while Menno descents to base camp. He is just in time at base camp to join the
party. Cook Abbas had invited all his friend from the base camps in the
vicinity for a little party ‘To celebrate the luck’. ‘Because fellow climber
Fabian has survived’.
International Broad Peak
Mr. Roland Hunter
Broad Peak 8047m
Coming on 15/6/2004
Bios on some of the climbers:
Frits Vrijlandt (36), climbed
everest via the Notrthridge, the Seven Summits and many other peaks around the
Rozemarijn Janssen (35), climbed 5 of the Seven Summits and many peaks in the
Alps. She is a mountain leader for the Alpine Club.
Menno Boermans (26) is climber and a photographer. He climbed Cartsensz
Piramide and several hard routes in the Alps and other areas. His pictures are
published in many magazines (like Outside Magazine).
Bob de Kort (23) is a mountain leader for the Alpine Club. He climbed several
hard routes in the Alps and other areas. His climbing partner is often Menno.
Deborah Robertson MD, is an emergency physician in Portland, Oregon, USA. She
has volunteered for the Himalayan Rescue Association and provided medical
support on several climbs. This is her first 8000m expedition.
Pippa Curtis, when not at work on sustainable development Pippa can be found
climbing British sea cliffs, in Scottish winter conditions or on bigger
mountains in Europe and beyond. In the 5 years Pippa has been climbing she has
climbed ice in Colorado, on expedition in the Himalaya and hosting on
international meets in Scotland and north Wales.
Noteable in her climbing resume was her first Alpine season in Switzerland,
where she summited 11 peaks in 11 days (including 6 of the 7 highest in the
European Alps), and in the Karakoram being one of three to make the high point
on an attempt on Drifika and then to descend from a previously uncrossed pass
at 5500m. Pippa climbs at WI V, Scottish winter IV, and onsight f6a+.
Pippa has independently trekked extensively in Europe, New Zealand, Nepal,
Patagonia and her native Australia. She has recently set up self-catering
apartments in a beautiful old farmhouse in Briancon in the French Alps
Leaders: Roland Hunter (UK) and Paul
Jeff Lamo (US)
Deb Robertson (US)
Nick Stopford (UK)
Pippa Curtis (UK)
Gary Pfisterer (US)
Simon Williams (New Zealand)
John Dunlop (Aus)
Frits Vrijlandt (NL)
Roze Vrijlandt (NL)
Bob Kort (NL)
Menno Boermans (NL)
Mick Parker (Aus)
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.