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ST. PETERSBURG EVEREST - 2003 JUBILEE EXPEDITION

This expedition is devoted the 300-th anniversary of St. Petersburg and the 50-th anniversary of the Mt. Everest first ascent

St. Petersburg Everest - 2003 - more detailed information in Russian Andrey Ershov Anatoly Moshnikov Dmitry Pryutts Nikolay Totmyanin Marina Ershova
Vladimir Gaigamak Andrey Dulskiy Vladimir Belous Thomas Masterson Oleg Nasedkin

EXPEDITION PROGRAMME:
day 1
(01.04.) - arrival in Kathmandu
day 2 (02.04.) - Kathmandu
day 3 (03.04.) - drive Kathmandu - Zangmu (2350 m)
day 4 (04.04.) - drive Zangmu - Nyalam (3750 m)
day 5 (05.04.) - Nyalam, acclimatization
day 6 (06.04.) - drive Nyalam - Shegar (4310 m)
day 7 (07.04.) - Shegar, acclimatization
day 8 (08.04.) - drive Shegar - Everest Base Camp (5300 m), pitching Base Camp
day 9/10 (09.04./10.04.) - BC, acclimatization
work up to North Col and pitching Camp 1:
day 11/12
(11.04./12.04.) - hike with yaks BC - Interim Camp (5800 m) - Advanced Base Camp (6500 m)
day 13/15 (13.04./15.04.) - work up to North Col and pitching Camp 1 (7000 m)
day 16 (16.04.) - Camp 1 - ABC - BC
day 17/18 (17.04./18.04.) - BC, rest
work up to 7500 m:
day 19
(19.04.) - BC - ABC
day 20 (20.04.) - ABC - Camp 1
day 21/22 (21.04./22.04.) - work up to 7500 m
day 23 (23.04.) - Camp 1 - ABC - BC
day 24/26 (24.04./26.04.) - BC, rest
pitching Camp 2:
day 27
(27.04.) - BC - ABC
day 28 (28.04.) - ABC - Camp 1
day 29/30 (29.04./30.04.) - pitching Camp 2 (7800 m)
day 31 (01.05.) - Camp 1 - ABC - BC
day 32/34 (02.05./04.05.) - BC, rest
pitching Camp 3 and 1st summit attempt:
day 35
(05.05.) - BC - ABC
day 36 (06.05.) - ABC - Camp 1
day 37 (07.05.) - Camp 1 - Camp 2
day 38 (08.05.) - Camp 2 - Camp 3 (8300 m), pitching Camp 3
day 39 (09.05.) - Camp 3 - summit (8848 m) - Camp 3
day 40 (10.05.) - Camp 3 - ABC
day 41 (11.05.) - ABC - BC
day 42/44 (12.05./14.05.) - BC, rest
2nd summit attempt:
day 45
(15.05.) - BC - ABC
day 46 (16.05.) - ABC - Camp 1
day 47 (17.05.) - Camp 1 - Camp 2
day 48 (18.05.) - Camp 2 - Camp 3
day 49 (19.05.) - Camp 3 - summit - Camp 3
day 50 (20.05.) - Camp 3 - ABC
day 51 (21.05.) - ABC - BC
day 52/56 (22.05./26.05.) - reserve days, evacuation of ABC
day 57 (27.05.) - drive Base Camp - Zangmu
day 58 (28.05.) - drive Zangmu - Kathmandu
day 59 (29.05.) - Kathmandu
day 60 (30.05.) - departure from Kathmandu


Andrey Ershov - expedition organizer and manager
- born in 1956, St. Petersburg (Russia)
- organized expeditions including:
1992-2002 - to Elbrus (5642 m), the Caucasus (several groups every year)
1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002 - heli-ski and ski tours in the Caucasus
1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999 - to Lenin Peak (7134 m), the Pamirs
1993, 1994 - to Korzhenevskaya (7105 m) and Communism (7495 m) peaks, the Pamirs
1993, 1995, 1998, 1990 - to Khan-Tengri (6995 m) and Pobeda (7439 m) peaks, Tien-Shan
1994, 2002 - to Belukha (4506 m), the Altay
1996 - to the Arctic Urals
1996, 1998, 2000-2002 - to Muztagh-Ata (7546 m), the Kun-Lun
1997 - to McKinley (6194 m), Alaska
2000 - to Cho Oyu (8201 m), the Himalayas
2000 - to Kongur (7719 m), the Kun-Lun
2001 - to the Kuksay Glacier, the Kun-Lun (several first ascents)
2002 - to Shisha Pangma (8012 m), the Himalayas

Anatoly Moshnikov - climbing team leader
- born in 1953, St. Petersburg (Russia)
- high-altitude climbs including:
1983 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1987 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m, two climbs)
1988 - Pobeda East Peak (7060 m), traverse Pobeda West Peak (6918 m) - Pobeda Peak (7439 m) - Voennykh Topografov Peak (6873 m)
1990 - Everest (8848 m, without oxygen)
1993 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m, three climbs)
1994 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1996 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m), Dhaulagiri (8167, without oxygen)
1998 - Everest (8848 m, without oxygen), Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1999 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m)

Dmitry Pryutts - expedition doctor
- born in 1963, St. Petersburg (Russia)
- work in high-altitude expeditions including:
1986 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (first winter ascent)
1986 - South-West Pamirs
1987 - Central Tien-Shan
1988 - Central Tien-Shan
1990 - Lenin Peak

Nikolay Totmyanin
- born in 1958, "snow leopard", St. Petersburg (Russia)
- high-altitude climbs including:
1982 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1983 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1984 - Pobeda Peak (7439 m)
1986 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m, first winter ascent)
1988 - Communism Peak (7495 m)
1990 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m), Communism Peak (7495 m, 28 hours), Lhotse (till 8350 m)
1991 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1993 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (till 7000 m), Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m, three climbs)
1994 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m, two climbs), Communism Peak (7495 m, two climbs)
1995 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m)
1996 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m, two climbs), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1997 - Lenin Peak (7134 m), Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m, 14 hours 03 minutes), Pobeda Peak (7439 m)
1998 - Pobeda Peak (7439 m)
1999 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m, two climbs), Pobeda Peak (7439 m)
2000 - Lenin Peak (7134 m), Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
2001 - Lenin Peak (7134 m), Lenin Peak (7134 m, 12 hours 46 minutes 4200-4200)
2002 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m), Pobeda Peak (7439 m)

Marina Ershova
- born in 1961, "snow leopard", St. Petersburg (Russia)
- high-altitude climbs including:
1989 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1990 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m)
1991 - Lenin Peak (7134 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1992 - Lenin Peak (7134 m), Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m), Pobeda Peak (7439 m)
1993 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
2000 - Cho Oyu (8201 m)
2002 - Shisha Pangma (8012 m)

Vladimir Gaidamak
- born in 1958, Omsk (Russia), lives in Germany
- high-altitude climbs including:
1988 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1990 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m)
1991 - Pobeda West Peak (6918 m)
1993 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m, 15 hours), Communism Peak (7495 m)

Andrey Dulskiy
- born in 1969, Irkutsk (Russia)
- high-altitude climbs including:
1993 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1995 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1999 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m)
2002 - Communism Peak (7495 m)

Vladimir Belous
- born in 1969, Bratsk (Russia)
- high-altitude climbs including:
1993 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
1995 - Lenin Peak (7134 m)
2000 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m)
2001 - Pobeda Peak (till 7000 m)
2002 - Shisha Pangma (8012 m)

Thomas Masterson
- born in 1944, Quebec (Canada)
- climbing experience including:
Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m)
Communism Peak (7495 m)
Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m)
Pobeda Peak (till 6800 m)
McKinley (6194 m)
Aconcagua (6959 m)

Oleg Nasedkin
- born in 1958, Moscow (Russia)
- high-altitude climbs including:
1992 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m)
1995 - Korzhenevskaya Peak (7105 m), Communism Peak (7495 m)
1997 - Makalu (till 7600 m)
1999 - Khan-Tengri Peak (6995 m, two climbs)
2000 - Cho Oyu (8201 m)
2001 - Pobeda Peak (till 7000 m)
2002 - Shisha Pangma (8012 m)

EXPEDITION NEWS:
May 30, Andrey Ershov:
Our expedition is finished successfully - Nikolay Totmyanin summited Mt. Everest without supplementary oxygen and sherpas! - and our team is coming back to Moscow on May 31.

May 23, Dmitry Pryutts:
Tom Masterson and Vladimir Gaidamak will stay at 8300 (camp 3) due to high winds. Perhaps they will try tomorrow! Siberian climbers are descending to ABC because of frostbite (1st and 2nd degree). Anatoly is trying to make a decision about weather. Oleg may try to go for a summit attempt, it all depends, again, on the weather.
We just checked the weather forecast, and it appears that the wind will remain until next week.
ABC will be evacuated on the 25th.
Jon Miller (hello Marina!) and Doctor Dmitry

May 22, Andrey Ershov (message from our doctor from BC):
Radio contact, 15:00 Chinese time
Nikolay Totmyanin is standing on the top of Everest without oxygen!!! He will wait for 30 minutes on the summit to welcome his teammates Vladimir (using oxygen) and Andrey (not using oxygen), both from Siberia.
From Doctor Dmitry, Everest Base Camp

May 22, Andrey Ershov:
Yesterday Nikolay Totmyanin, Vladimir Belous and Andrey Dulskiy reached Camp 3 on 8300 m. Today they will try to reach the summit of Everest.

May 16, Tom Masterson:
Starting tomorrow, Saturday May 17, we head uphill in three waves (Sat, Sun, Mon) hoping for an adequate window in the weather. Winds aloft have been life-threatening. To date, no one has made it to the summit. Our thoughts and prayers are for everyone's safety.

May 16, Andrey Ershov:
New expedition photos (part 10) you may see here .

May 11, Marina Ershova:
Yesterday Nikolay Totmyanin, Vladimir Gaidamak and Anatoly Moshnikov reached Camp 2 on 7800 m, despite very strong wind could reinstall our tent and spent a night there. Right now they are going down to ABC. Vladimir Belous and Andrey Dulskiy reached 7800 too but they could not find good enough place for the second tent and very strong wind forced them to go down. Tom Masterson could reach a destroyed camp on 7500 m and spent a night in the broken tent there. Now they all plan go down to BC for rest and preparing for the summit bid.
Oleg Nasedkin and me decided to spend one more day at ABC because of very strong wind. We plan to go up tomorrow if the weather is a little better.

May 10, Marina Ershova:
I am calling from ABC, 6400 m. Yesterday Oleg Nasedkin and me came to ABC from BC, tomorrow we will go up to Camp 1 on the North Col and then will try to reach Camp 2 on 7800 m. The other our members - Totmyanin, Gaidamak, Belous, Dulskiy, Moshnikov and Masterson - started one day earlier. This night they spent on the North Col and now they are trying to reach Camp 2 on 7800 m. They say that our tents on the North Col are in good enough order after the storm and they hope that our tent on 7800 was not blown away.
Our tents here in ABC were not destroyed too much by the storm. Now the weather is better but it is difficult to say that will be tomorrow.
After our third acclimatization climb and during the hurricane a half of our team spend several days at Zashixong - the village that is about 60 km from Base Camp. The wind there was not so strong and it was good for rest and recuperation. So now we are in good physical conditions and all will depend on the weather.

Andrey Dulskiy in Zashixong with Russian Adventure team in Zashixong

May 06, Tom Masterson:
(Monday, 5 May 2003)
Still the wind blows! We visit the British Navy camp and the summit weather forecast is for 110 knots (130 mph, 190 km/hr) winds on the summit which will diminish only to half that value by Friday, North Col winds decreasing from 80 knots (95 mph, 130 km/hr) to about a fifth that value by Friday (Thank you, Royal British Navy/Marines, for the convenient units).
Here, our mess tent blew down once, but one of us was inside and able to get help to rebuild it quickly before damage was done. Sometimes when such gusts hit, you can see them moving down the valley and attempt to find shelter before they hit. Other times, it sounds like there is a jet plane overhead and it gets closer & closer until it hits.
We visited a French group, who are also waiting for better weather before heading back up and knew a friend of Volodya (G's) from Argentiere in France. We visited with another British group who said that all the tents on the South Col on the other side of the mountain had blown away.
Xinmin Yan from CCTV, the Chinese national TV, visited with us. She is trying to coordinate an all-group event on the 11th of May as a start for the official week of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Hillary's first ascent. They are planning a week-long program (2 hours/day) with 2 hours of live coverage from base camp on the first day (during which they wish to interview someone from each group) and concluding with live coverage of the Chinese team arriving on the summit. We mentioned that Hillary did not arrive on the summit alone, and that very few of the groups heading to the summit could possibly get to the summit without Sherpa help. She admitted that there was very little attention paid to the efforts of the Sherpas (and others who have helped immensely). We talked extensively about the Chinese treatment of minorities, especially Tibetans, and indicated ways in which that could be helped without jeopardizing her job. She also asked telling questions about Russian treatment of Chechens. She stayed for lunch with us, and enjoyed borsch which Dima had just taught our cooks how to make. She has also travelled extensively and worked close to my home in Canada as well as done an extensive interview with my neighbour, Gary Neptune.
The interesting change in the Chinese logistics is that the summit day is postponed by about a week from the original plans. It is still interesting that they are trying to plan a summit bid to coincide with a TV program, but, as we have seen, they are not without precedent... Stay tuned.
Volodya & Andrey returned from lower elevation today and some climbers may head up to ABC tomorrow to check on status of our upper camps. As that happens, communication will diminish from this end.
(Tuesday, 6 May 2003)
Unabated ferocious winds all night long. The prevailing wind direction is W to E, but the direction here is from S to N in the Rongbuk moraine glacial valley. Summit wind speeds this morning clocked at just under 200 km/hr. More than half our tents tired to blow down this morning, requiring extensive maintenance and rebuilding. We hope that the winds will abate enough tomorrow that we can make our way up to ABC and assess where we are.

May 05, Andrey Ershov:
New expedition photos you may see here .

May 04, Tom Masterson:
Boredom in base camp (but the weather has a field day). Here in base camp, the winds were blowing 50-80 km/hr, with significantly higher gusts. Sand and dust screamed down the moraine. Most folks were trying to put enough rocks around their tents that they would stay there for the night and not get totally shredded. One British tent got blown a kilometer or so downstream and was rescued by one of their cooks, who chased it all the way. Several Chinese tents had problems and we helped rescue one of them. One American tent started down moraine spewing contents along the way with climbers in hot (if chilled) pursuit. Fine silt and sand had no problem going straight through the walls.
Two more of our members went 50 km out along the Everest Base Camp road to enjoy a bit of lower elevation and some fresher food. People returning from the intermediate camp said that the wind and snow were intense there. People coming down from the North Col and higher say that many tents have not survived the storm at that altitude. Around the middle of the night, the winds quieted for half an hour, and then picked up as intensely as before but with a finer sound hitting the tent - yes - we were now in the middle of a blizzard. That did afford a chance to shovel the dust out of the tent. The snow stopped about 9 a.m. but soon returned as an intense blowing sandstorm. We re-anchored many tents as they again filled up with dust. The Indian group returned from ABC where their kitchen and mess tents have been blown away. They tell us that ours are still o.k., even though they are only separated by a few feet (and supported by the same agency). Our chief is very worried about what might be happening to all of our equipment and the consequences for the entire expedition. Tomorrow one of the agency staff responsible for tents and food will go up to check out our ABC status. We will not be able to ascertain status on higher camps until Thursday or Friday as the storm is expected to intensify for the next 3 days.
We are able to make reasonably accurate summit wind speed estimates by measuring the time it takes a cloud starting at the summit to traverse the 2 km summit ridge line. Today, after things opened up a bit, the speed was about 150 km/hr! In base camp, cooks try to make food edible but somehow everything has the flavouring of sand or silt.
Many climbers visit other base camps. The St. Petersburg camp seems to be known for its hospitality if not for its cooking. Last evening, with 2 of our 9 absent, we had 14 in the tent. The sharing of BC resources is common and appreciated (especially battery chargers). Our power generator is one of the few that has functioned reliably amongst all the smaller expeditions. But the face of base camp has changed immensely over the past few years. The mess-tent is humming with ultra-sophisticated equipment. Our chief, Tolya, is an excellent photographer, has a very fancy digital camera, and is always sorting through and editing his photos as well as documenting the expedition in Russian. Another climber is trying to keep a powerbook operational and send out e-mail through an Iridium system (which seems to work much better for voice than for digital). Someone else is transmitting photos and web videos through a Bgan/Inmarsat system as well as editing the web videos on site. And almost everyone has sent and received e-mail. All this has enabled our expedition leader, Andrey Ershov, to keep the Everest web site (http://www.ersh.sp.ru/news/evrst.html) quite up-to-date. Most of the computer systems seem to be at their limit of operational capabilities. A great deal of time has been spent getting and keeping them operational and none have gone above base camp. The British Navy group found that none of their Panasonic hard drives would work at this (5100 m) elevation and had to specially order in hard drives that would work here.
All-in-all, base camp today is quite a contrast to a few years ago when we were quite happy for gas lanterns, candles, and radio-telephone communication within the group. This FM radio-telephone has not gone away. It is used extensively when line-of-sight communication is possible and usually limited to 1 W broadcasting power, and done at pre-arranged times during the day to keep batteries from expiring too soon. It is also still usually more reliable and much cheaper than a satellite phone link. However, when line-of-sight is not available, even those with five times as much power cannot establish communication.
What else has been going on in this 2.5 m x 3 m tent today? Dr. Dima was operating on someone from another camp even though under the effects of wind and altitude all day himself. And, of course, the world's social, economic and political problems were being solved by fiat, manifesto, and "I told you so". And the wind blows, and blows, and blows.

May 04, Andrey Ershov:
New expedition photos you may see here .

  • EXPEDITION NEWS, PART 3 (April 24 - May 03)
  • EXPEDITION NEWS, PART 2 (April 08 - April 19)
  • EXPEDITION NEWS, PART 1 (March 23 - April 07)
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