Monday, May 22, 2017

Great News! Anders on his way home and safe at C2!

We just talked to Anders.  He and Brent made the call (correct one in my view) to head down.  They left C4 about 3pm and descended all the way down to C2 in just 3 hours.  C2 to remind you is at the bottom of the Lhotse Face--very good to have that behind them.  Anders said he was sweaty and he was also a bit out of breath.  They down climbed with oxygen, which no doubt helped them move quickly down the Lhotse Face.  They just took their masks off so their bodies were readjusting to breathing the thin air at 21,500 feet.

Brent was also doing well and the two of them were joking around.  Judy told Brent how impressed she was with him and Brent said that was because she hadn't met him yet.....

Anders shared with us a bit of what happened yesterday.  He described it as the most intense and extreme 24 hours of his life and he is very much looking forward to sitting down with us and going through it.

The Balcony was very challenging.  The four of them made the decision to scrap their summit push to help the guy (a Slovakian) get down.  It was clear he couldn't make it on his own and he wouldn't last long if he didn't get down.  They tried to secure some support from others there but were unable to do so and so the four of them decided to take him down.  Garrett Madison got on the phone and arranged for one of the Madison climbing Sherpas to pitch in and Brent made the call that they could safely and quickly get him down with just two people.  Brent decided it made the most sense for him to go with the Sherpa (he was the most experienced and had summited Everest before).  This is an extraordinary sacrifice on his part (thank god there are people in the world like Brent, Geoff, John and Anders that make the right call).

Brent and the Madison sherpa escorted (carried) this fellow down but unfortunately he later died at C4.  Heartbreaking.  Also, it's hard to imagine the physical effort necessary for Brent and the Sherpa to bring him down....

Meanwhile, Anders, Geoff and John, after having spent almost two hours at the Balcony started climbing up again.  They had started relatively late the night before (11pm) because they had anticipated being relatively fast.  Now the late start and the rescue effort at the Balcony put them behind many, many (slower) people climbing up.  Anders said they climbed aggressively and had to frequently unclip to pass folks.  During this process, Anders became separated from Geoff and John and ended up ultimately getting to the summit by himself, about 30 minutes ahead of John and Geoff.

However, a ways off from the summit Anders ran out of oxygen.  This had a profound physiological impact on him but he could see the summit and then HE PROCEEDED TO CLIMB ON HIS HANDS AND KNEES to the summit.  (As his parents we are thankful that we did not have real time coverage of this!).

Of-course he was exhausted when he arrived on top of the world and it was very cold (and he needed to find oxygen) so he only stayed for 2 minutes or so (its a crazy thing this mountaineering--50+ days of effort in Nepal plus literally years of training for that 2 minutes!)  As he headed down he crossed paths with one of the Madison Sherpas and was able to get another tank of Oxygen.

We'll share more of the details later when we talk with Anders at more length.

The plan is for Anders and Brent to get up early and head down through the Ice Fall (for the 8th time) and get to Base Camp early.  Judy and i are trying to arrange for there to be a helicopter there and have it fly the two of them down to Kathmandu tomorrow afternoon and from there, if all goes well, back to the states on Wednesday or Thursday.  I don't have any pics from his summit climb, but here are a couple to remind you of our Everest summiter and some of his journey:


Mark Parsells said...

Randy, what an incredible relief! Great news to read that they reconsidered the "double", as it were, and trekked back down. Still sending prayers for safe descent across the ice face and a safe trip home. What an astounding accomplishment by a fine young man. It did not surprise me that he was ready to give up his attempt to summit to save another. You and Judy have done such a great job with Anders and all of your kids. Well done Anders!!! Best, Mark

Jon Anderson said...

Awesome...It is so Fragile this Life we are given..... Feel sad for those who didn't make it home...

.They were doing what they Loved.... They were living life extreme.. on the edge.. exciting Life that they choose.... Happy and relieved for Anders!! May God keep him safe all the way home.. MUCH Love Jon