Team EVEREST 2019: A Fall in the Icefall

Published Monday, 20th May 2019

Rich, Brendan, Joe, Scott and Tom returned to Base Camp after a successful push to Camp 3 but their descent through the Khumbu Icefall was not without some drama.

The recent heavy snowfall and intense heat of the late morning sunshine has contributed to a constantly changing icefall to become unstable in places.

As the team rounded a corner they were faced with the sight of someone dangling off a rope down a crevasse where a snow-bridge had collapsed.

Scott said:

“The situation was under control but it left us with having to find an alternative route across the crevasse. There was a natural snow-bridge to the right so Eli, our mountain guide, and Nema, our Sherpa, cut the rope to fashion a new life-line for us to cross the unchecked bridge safely.

This delayed our descent by about an hour which meant we were in the icefall longer than we would’ve liked in the heat of the morning sun.

As we got towards the end of the icefall we were all clipped onto the life-line and suddenly, as we reached a huge serac, I heard the sound of crampons scraping on ice, which turned out to be Rich falling down a crevasse... my immediate reaction was to take up the tension of the rope to stop Rich falling any further. By this point Joe had caught up and took the tension of the rope which allowed me to move towards Rich to help him.

Rich fell further again but managed to self-arrest and climb out... it took every ounce of energy left in us and we were exhausted by the time we reached Base Camp!”

The team will now spend some time resting and recovering while they wait for a weather window to attempt their summit bid of the World’s highest mountain.

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