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  The Story of Success and Death on Everest by George Dijmarescu

©George Dijmarescu from his 2003 climb

Dear EverestNews.com, Today I reached computer and E-mail and I rushed to inform you, friends, fans of the mountains and most importantly the family. Lakpa also rushed to call Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa, the owner of our expedition provider, Asian Trekking and the president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, sure enough he also knew about her and our success. How fast travel the word, we made it to ABC in the same day we summited, all of us, sherpa and members. I must tell you that the conditions of climbing on May 20th, the day we summited were anything but climbable, well, you might said: suicidal, no we were not, with Dawa Nuru Sherpa on the lead and me taking turns, the rest of the group just minutes away, we were a tight group in control, the only thing we couldn't control was weather and mother nature put us to the test. The Connecticut Everest Expedition 2004 performed flawless, we reached the summit first in that day in just 7.5 hrs from last camp at 8300m. What's most important to look at is that we had two members who never reached 7000m before and two sherpa who never reached the summit of Mt. Everest. Dave and Chuck performed beyond my expectation, they pushed themselves to new heights, confident and strong. My sincere admirations for these guys. The sherpa team: Dawa Nuru Sherpa of Thame who made his fifth summit and third on this side of the mountain was our man to lean on, clever, experienced, and far too strong to compare myself with. Mingma Gelu Sherpa of Makalu and Lakpa's brother made his second summit with his sister.

Mingma is still learning, with his 23 years of age he sure can make his village and family proud, one thing I know he won't stay behind his sister Lakpa who now crown four summits of Mt. Everest, more than any other women in the world. We walk together on the summit, just seconds after Dawa Nuru, he kneel down in front of the photograph of Lama Rimpuche, Lakpa and I stood back for a few seconds and let Dawa finish his prayer, I did the same, I hug Dawa and thank him for the invaluable support he give me not only on the summit push but for his friendship and all advise he give over the years.

Such friend we all want to have. For me Dawa will remain a friend for life. Ang Dawa Sherpa, also Lakpa's cousin and from Makalu region, I called him "The spider", this guy of 110 lbs, 5'3'' with Japanese eyes and wonderful smile could climb everything, his athletic abilities well demonstrated in BC. I was amazed how flexible body he has. He could made a darn good gymnast. Dawa was swift in the mountain staying ahead of most sherpa. Dawa made his first ascent of Mt. Everest and he assured himself a permanent job in the climbing industry. He is also very young, only 22 years old. Rinjing Sherpa, the most quiet sherpa I ever met, he is also Lakpa's cousin. It seem to me that he always carry the biggest pack, never complained. Rinjing also made his first Everest summit but made many eight thousand meters summits including the one in his backyard, Makalu. Rinjing served Chuck Boyd this year but also served the whole expedition. Without these four sherpa I will informed you that none of us would have made the summit. You will find more writings about them because they deserve more. Simply as that.

For me I won't brag about it, I treat this expedition with the same seriosity as first, the mountain offered me many surprises this year and I want to take some space and once again scream to the climbing community about the safety in this part of the mountain. Just before going for the summit I sent a dispatch expressing my concern about the ropes and I am talking about the new ropes being fixed especially from last camp up and the most crucial part from first to second step, the most exposed part in my opinion. When one of the Greek sherpa came in our kitchen tent and he started to brag about their expedition going to "fixed" the mountain on the same day they were pushing for the summit, I look at him and he looked like  the most stupid sherpa I ever met. He went on and talk about his uncle (the the sirdar being one of the most experienced sherpa. If he indeed came up with that idea, he too must be in the slow mind also. The Indian Navy team also bragged they will "fix" the mountain so were other expeditions. They went to Russell Brice's meeting and told him off on paying for fixing the ropes up high. It is amazing how can these "Mickey mouse sherpa" school a man who came in Everest first in 1974 time when most sherpa were not born. I was almost certain they will find the task monumental and went with their members exposed to total danger. As I said only Russell's sherpa have the experience and abilities to efficiently fix the ropes and Russell have the experience to coordinate such difficult undertaking. When price with double zeros came to the table, most were spooked out. Is it too much to keep a safe climbing environment up there when you are already committed for the summit, too high to bail out when you find out that those ropes are so old, they won't hold a chicken. And up we all went, if the guy ahead went, why can't I? My mind is not good anyway so I have a good excuse. I admire Russell's effort to keep people safe and alive. No one has fallen on these ropes yet, but I assure you that climbers take double or triple time to cross those sections therefore slowing their ascent and descent, add their times and you end up with already casualties in the mountain.

I was at the last camp when Dawa Nuru informed us in the tent from his friend Ang Mingma that they met two Korean climbers just at the top of the snow pyramid, perhaps 30-45 min on going up and just 20 min on going down from summit. One Korean man asked Ang Mingma if he had a radio, Mingma show his radio but was not compatible with what the man wanted, so he thank him, then Mingma asked him if he is going down, the man answer, he was blind, snow blind that is, he said he will stay, clear indication that his mind was a step to the heaven. Mingma also said he met the second Korean lower and he asked if his friend was coming down, Mingma assured him he was sitting and he wasn't coming down. The second Korean also thank Mingma for the information. While I was going up at the top of the snow pyramid I noticed something rather large dark object, coming closer I noticed the unmistakable shape of a man laying on his back, snow drift on his face except his eyes, part of the body was also cover in snow, his "One Sport" booths red color clearly visible. The man had no gloves on his hands but his mitts were on his chest, a clear indication of heat sensation when hypothermia hits, the victim feel hot and he remove all he can. He was clipped on the main line and the weight of the body pulled the rope in a "V" shape. I sat down and I realized that this man cannot be other than the Korean, Ang Migma described talking with the day before. I felt so vulnerable. Just yards away a bottle of Oxygen attached to a mask and regulator was laying down, perhaps empty, useless. Also closer to the body was a back pack of a black color, some snow was drifted on top of it. The pack didn't seem to have anything in it.

Since I was first on the snow pyramid, I waited for Dawa Nuru who was just 10-15 minutes away and this only because he was carrying the heavy load of Oxygen. He came and sat down next to me. I removed my mask and asked Dawa (who was a Buddhist monk for 14 years and a very religious man) what should we do. "Are we cut him loose and free the rope or else", Dawa answer was "No, no touch, maybe family want to claim the body and bring down", what a monumental task, the cost would be very high and full of risk. Mingma also told us that in the night they were prepared to go for summit at about 10:30 PM on the night of May 18th he saw two lights close to the summit. But that would be so unusual, no body summits at that time, this begs the question and speculation, perhaps the Koreans spent the night of the 18 to 19th high up. One of the Korean asked for water but the four climbers, Dan Lochner, Dan Meggitt, Ang Mingma and Man Bahadur Tamang were out of any drink, so they told him they have none.

Why these climbers were late coming down, why one of them was snow blind? Well, we might never know. Why the Koreans kept their sherpa down the mountain and not with them. The Japanese and Koreans have different culture and when they come in Everest they have their mind set or programmed almost irreversible, I am not generalizing, I like Japanese just I like Americans, however I noticed in seven years of Everest a pattern clearly distinctive. Another incident I noticed this year was at the top of second step. While we were waiting to descend, a sherpa and a Japanese woman were coming up. At the top she sat down, the sherpa pulled a radio out and started talking, which I thought a ridiculous conversation with the climbing sirdar. From what I understood he was informing the sherpa leader that the woman was to slow and they were not making realistic progress. The woman understood what the sherpa was trying to do and kept on showing the sherpa up no down. The sherpa checked her Oxygen and told her that she was to slow and must go down, she gestured and mumbled something behind the mask but always pointed up. I heard the sherpa leader saying on the radio: Bishtare, bishtare" and I know that means slowly, slowly. Sherpa's patience with the Japanese woman was running thin, then he said: You wana going up, OK follow me, then the woman said, OK, she stood up and she almost fell down, her legs were like cheese only her will was like still, the sherpa made almost 20 steps and didn't look back, the woman was agitated and she try to keep up with her sherpa, only the fatigue made her stop only after two steps. For any person who cannot make few steps without seeking rest and still wanting to go to the top of the tallest mountain in the world, must be insane. Every mountain is a round way trip. Once a good climber said that the best climbers are the one who make it back.

Several more people are reported dead, I never wanted to jump the gun or to be the one who break news, contrary I pray for their safe return and if that's not going to happen, then I pray for their souls. I was on the summit with a Bulgarian who made the summit without the use of Oxygen but the way he climbed, sitting almost after every twenty steps is not what I call mountaineering and having fun. He decided not to topple the third step but to go around it, I try to tell him that this is the way (he was asking me previously if one of the little incline was the first step), He run in trouble and couldn't find an exit to the snow pyramid. I was at the top of third step and I saw him sliding couple of times but he managed to regain his balance, then he wiped the snow from a ledge with his arm and he was pounding his head against the rock, not very hard, then he started to pound his fist on the rock, he looked at me and his look was in desperation and sounded like :"I screwed up", down climbing was out of the question giving the snow condition. I yelled at him to go to the right, I had a vantage point and I saw a little snow gully to the right and the only option for this Bulgarian strong man or strong mind. He managed to exit and be at the summit with us. His face look like from horror movies, he laid on his back at the summit and we left him there, is a report he never made it back. The celebration of Bulgarians turned sour and this is not the end. Climbers remember Prodanov and his legendary climb 20 years ago, this man worked so hard to climb without Oxygen, was it worth It? I don't think so and I don't think his family thinks so. He try something different, I always admire people who try the hard way but is so much waist of spirit and give so much pain. There is much to tell about this year expedition, I will end here and when my fingers thaw and the generator works, or perhaps sitting in a comfortable cyber cafe in Kathmandu I will tell you more. In the mean time please tune on to EverestNews.com , they have all you need about this mountain and they might have valuable information for your needs.

Stay tuned, so long. Six summits in six consecutive attempts, do you need a guide for Mt. Everest?

Best regards George Dijmarescu, Everest ABC Tibet.


Lakpa Sherpa is the only woman to have summited Everest three times. This year she will climb Everest again, trying for a record fourth summit, and George Dijmarescu will go for his sixth summit in six years. These are remarkable mountaineering feats for any individual, but above and beyond this, the couple will attempt to reach the summits of both Everest and K2 in the same season to complete the Top of the World Double Header -- together. George and Lakpa are sponsored for 2004 in part by Sabia & Hartley, LLC of Hartford CT.

To offer support or assistance for Gheorghe and Lakpa’s historic climb, please contact us at

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