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  Mexican-Canadian Mt Everest Expedition 2004: Update

Mexican-Canadian Mt Everest Expedition 2004 lead by Andres Delgado

Andres Delgado is sponsored in part by:

Camp 2 installed. We came down from Camp 2 yesterday noon.  We spent three days up there.  This is how the story went.

On Saturday, April 10, we had breakfast at 4 in the morning at Base Camp...  Having breakfast at that time doesn't always bring the best faces or the best moods, I would have liked a good Express coffee... for my good mood there was just instant coffee...  Around 5 in the morning we all left (Luís, Alejandro, Juan Pablo, Tom, Martin, Richard and I).  The plan was to get to Camp 1, pick up our sleeping bags, mattresses and all the stuff we had there and continue to Camp 2. The Sherpas had already climbed to Camp 2 a day before us and had installed a tent; we would have to install the rest of the tents they had carried there.  They had not brought up stoves or gas or pots for cooking, so we had to carry those from Camp 1. 

It took us around four hours to get to Camp 1, and when we got there the heat was infernal, so Martin and Richard decided not to continue to Camp 2, they preferred to spend the night at Camp 1 and continue the next day to Camp 2.  I grabbed my stuff as soon as I could, packed my backpack and left in a hurry towards Camp 2.  I carried my sleeping bag, my feather suit, three pairs of gloves, mattress, video camera, still camera, sponsors flags, stove, food, extra clothing, blank video tapes, batteries, lamp... and last but not least, chapter 68 of "The DaVinci Code" at last...  Chapters 1 through 67 were left at Base...  Yes, in fact I cut the book.  My backpack weighed around 18-20 kilos.

Alejandro, Luís, Juan Pablo and Tom took some 15 or 20 minutes more to leave to Camp 2.  After walking for a while Juan Pablo decided to go back to Camp 1 and spend the night there.

Four hours later we arrived to Camp 2.  We all got there a bit dizzy, the sun hit us hard and we were very dehydrated, but despite the sun the wind was cold.

When we got to Camp 2 Luís and I went into the tent, we put on dry clothes and coats and then we installed another tent along with Alejandro, who was just arriving, where Tom and Alejandro would spend the night.

That night was cold and a bit uncomfortable because it was our first night at 6,400 meters.

The next morning, the 11th around 10:30, six of our Sherpas and a cook arrived, loaded with equipment up to their ears.  Four of the Sherpas went back that same day to Base Camp, two Sherpas and a cook stayed with us at Camp 2.  Martin, Richard and Juan Pablo also arrived that day to Camp 2.  We all installed a tent for the kitchen, a diner and three small tents to sleep in them.  Basically the whole day was spent settling down.

On the next day, the 12th, we gathered to have breakfast at six in the morning.  Tom made the mistake of getting there for breakfast at five!!! 

After beeing one hour in the cold he saw us entering the diner one by one.  We had a delicious salted rice with milk mixed with tons of sugar, instant coffee capable to wake up a drug addict and "porridge" for the braves who dare to have cement for breakfast!!

We took aprox. 300 meters of rope, some ice screws, stakes and courage to head up to the base of the Lhotse wall.  Nobody had gone there so far, there was no marked path through the crevasses, so it took us an eternity to get to the base of the wall, sometimes we found dead ends by the crevasses and we had to turn around to look for another path.  The sun and the heat did not make the feat easy.  We were tied by fours in each rope: Da Nima, me, Luís and Alejandro in one; Richard, Martin, Juan Pablo and Tom in the other.

Around 10 in the morning we got to the base of the Lhotse wall, the rimaya (the crevasse at the foot of the wall where it meets the glacier) didn't look difficult, it had a little pass with a cornice (hard snow) that looked like it was going to give us trouble.

I tied myself to the end of the rope and asked Da Nima (the leader of our Sherpas) to secure me up, I took two stakes, four ice screws, four snap links and a spectra ring.  I grabbed my two Petzl-Charlet Aztar piolets and started walking on the snow bridge which hanged on the crevasse between the glacier and the wall...  While I was walking on the bridge I thought:

"This is what I like, this is climbing"...  "No room for errors here, although I am tied to a rope, this is when I can't mess things up, I shouldn't fall...  There is nothing else...  My piolets, my crampons, the ice, the snow and I...", "I exit here from above...  Concentrate"

I stuck a screw and a stake in the ice, with every kick in the snow and the ice I realized that the climbing was not asdifficult as it looked, the section of hard snow was very firm and I could put my hands under the cornice to grab it... 

Two solid hits of the piolets above the cornice gave me the security to hang from them...  then I realized I had passed the most difficult part.  Kicking and finding support on the piolets very slowly for 50 meters, I got to an ice ramp where finally I was out of rope, I put an ice screw and fixed the line, I had finished with the job of that day.  Da Nima climbed next and left 150 meters of rope to be installed the next time we climb there. 

Alejandro, Luís and Juan Pablo climbed using the fixed line for their acclimatization, Richard and Martin decided not to climb anymore that day.  When everybody was back to the beginning, we started the descent to Camp 2.  Lakpa, our cook at Camp 2 greeted us with a delicious noodle soup; we rested for the rest of the afternoon, had spaghetti with tomato for dinner and went to sleep. 

Next morning (Tuesday 13) Alejandro, Luís, Tom and I went down to Base Camp.  Martin, Richard and Juan Pablo decided to spend another day at Camp 2.  They wanted to go up to install a bit more of fixed line on the Lhotse wall towards Camp 3, unfortunately it snowed enough during the night of the 12th to make them hesitate about climbing on the 13th, so they spend the 13th walking around Camp 2 allowing their bodies to adapt to the altitude.

Today, April 14, they arrived to Base Camp around 9 in the morning.  Now we are all together at Base Camp resting.  We plan to spend some 4 days recovering and preparing for the next ascent.  We hope that the next time we climb we can install all the lines up to Camp 3 and a couple of tents in Camp 3.

Until the next time! Andres Delgado

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera


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