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Asia, Nepal, Everest, Basque Expedition

Everest, Basque Expedition. Our expedition was composed of Juan Ignacio Lorente, leader, Juan Ramón Arrue, Xabier Erro, Xavier Garayoa, Luis María Saenz de Olazagoitia, Angel Rosen, Emilio Hernando, Enrique de Pablos, Felipe Uriarte, José Urbieta, Ricardo Gallardo and me. We left Lukla on February 24 and set up Base Camp on March 18 after several acclimatization climbs. After failing to open a route in the center of the Khumbu Icefall, we advanced close to the slopes of Nuptse and placed Camp I at 20,000 feet on March 27. A Sherpa was injured in the icefall and had to be evacuated by helicopter. Camp II or Advanced Base was established on April 3. Despite high winds, ropes were fixed on the Lhotse Face, where Camp III was placed on April 11 at 24,150 feet. We reached the South Col on the 19th and stocked Camp IV there in the next days. On May 4 Rosen, Gallardo, Garayoa and Sherpa Nima Temba got to the south summit but were driven back by bad weather. On May 7 Erro and Pemba Tsering were halted on the very col by the weather. On May 14 Lorente, three Sherpas and I set out from the South Col at 3:30 A.M. Two hours later Lorente had to give up because of not being fit. Pasang Temba and I continued on, sometimes in knee-deep snow, and got to the south summit at one P.M. Hillary Step caused no particular problems other than the soft snow and at 3:30 we reached the top. Our oxygen gave out on the descent at the foot of the Hillary Step. Pasang Temba had a frightening and exhausting fall when a cornice broke just below the step, but he was unhurt. We bivouacked in a crevasse in a snowstorm near the south summit. We spent a long night without food, water or bivouac gear but descended unharmed the next day to the South Col.

Martín Zabaleta, Euskal Herriko Mendizale Elkargoa, Spain