Comment on the text on Everestnews about the descent from camp 3
In his dispatches no. 8 and 9 on Everestnews.com, Gheorghe Dijmarescu reports about our way down from camp 3 to ABC. The report is very detailed, and it agrees to our view of the events to about 90%. However, there may be a couple of things where Gheorghe might have had a different view of the situation, or where some additional piece of information would make things much clearer. Therefore, I would like to comment on the issues of Gheorghe's report.
- The first paragraph together with the rest of the text could imply that we had not paid the Sherpas who had contributed to Hartmut's rescue. This is not true. We tried to find everybody involved in the rescue and express our gratefulness for their help.
- It is not unusual that Claudia is faster than I; on the high mountains in fact this was often the case. I arrived half an hour after Claudia, but his time of about 11 hours for the ascent to the summit is not extraordinarily long. Several people, including Gheorghe, were still ascending at that time. The Second Step was somewhat a serious obstacle because, after changing oxygen bottles at the Mushroom Rock, I forgot to readjust the regulator - so it was on 0.5 instead of at least 2 liters/min during the Step, a small mistake that cost a lot of time. We noticed this only after the Second Step and corrected it.
- On the way down from the ridge towards camp 3, I very quickly became extremely exhausted and became slower and slower. As the sun began to set, problems with the eyes added to that, obviously a kind of snowblindness. Unable to see the trace in the snow, I waited for somebody to help him down to camp instead of carefully trying the way down step by step (which of course would have been the better option, seeing it from afterwards).
- The situation at our resting point between camp 3 and camp 2 was not very clear for some time; since it would take a long time until Ang Mingma would come back we were not sure if we should begin going down before. But Gheorghe recommended to wait until Ang Mingma is back and would help us.
- I can hardly imagine not having thanked the two Sherpas for the tea.
- I regret the very slow speed and the many stops to which I forced my rescuers. I tried to go faster, but in that state of exhaustion it was not possible to go further than 10-20 steps at a time.
- It is simply not true that we didn't thank Hans, Jorge, and Gheorghe. We can hardly imagine why the other two should have given such a statement to Gheorghe.
- How much would you pay so a Sherpa can save your life? 40, 400, 4000? Any of these amounts could find a justification. We thought we had enough money with us on the expedition even for unexpected expenses. After having paid the two oxygen bottles and Mingma's bonus (the rates he considered to be usual were somewhat higher than those given by Asian Trekking), there was not much left. We tried to orient ourselves by the bonus rates for a day of carrying a load up to the high camps ($15, $50, $80 for camp 1, 2 and 3) - so we decided to give $40 to each of the three Sherpas for coming up from ABC to camp 1 and supporting us on the way down.
It is clear that in the given situation it would have very probably been impossible to reach the basecamp for the two of us alone. We do appreciate the immediate help and support which was given to us by everybody. In my exhausted condition, I might not have expressed my gratefulness to the appropriate extent in some cases. For this, I would like to apologize.
23 June 2002