September 20, 2010
IMG Leader Mike Hamill reports from ABC that “the weather has improved and the IMG team is still resting at ABC. Our plan is to summit on the 25th, so another rest day tomorrow and then we’ll head up. We had a rope fixing meeting with all the other teams at the TMA [Tibet Mountaineering Association] camp yesterday. The TMA fixing team is in shambles. A few of their seven rope fixers were injured in the avalanche but the rest that are OK are traumatized, including the 4 that weren’t even up there, and they have all left the mountain and won’t help anymore with the fixing. We have now been able to secure enough fixed rope, gear, and Sherpa power at the meeting amongst the other groups to finish the fixing and Ang Pasang [IMG sirdar] and Pema [Jagged Globe sirdar] are going to be organizing that. The rope and gear is coming up from base camp today, to C1 tomorrow, and up to C2 the following day. Summit fixing will hopefully get done on the 23rd but it might not happen until the 24th. The weather is great now and it sounds like it will only get better on the 23rd and 24th ”.
From the IMG standpoint, we are glad to see the various expedition teams again working together to get the fixing done. This is how it has been accomplished for many seasons on both Cho Oyu and Everest, and we feel strongly that it is in the best interest for teams to work together. Fixing the route on Cho Oyu is straightforward and requires maybe 3000 meters total rope. IMG brought 1300 meters of rope and many anchors and since we were the first team we fixed most of the way to C2 and were prepared with Jagged Globe and Adventure Consultants (who both also brought plenty of rope), along with other teams, to finish the job. Without any advance notice this season the TMA tried to take over the rope fixing for profit, charging an exorbitant amount of money ($100 per climber = over $30,000 if everyone had paid!). Teams that were reluctant to pay were subjected to harassment, verbal abuse, and physical threats by the Tibetans. The snow and weather conditions were terrible when the TMA climbers went up to try to fix the Yellow Band and it was obvious to everyone on the mountain that the avalanche conditions were very high up there with all the recent snowfall. This whole episode has been poorly handled by the TMA and they are very fortunate not to have lost several of their climbers, who owe their lives to the good efforts of other teams that worked hard to rescue them.