Big success for Eric Larsen

Published on 23.10.2010 - Save the Poles

The route to the south col

The route to the south col

© IPF, michel brent

Last spring we have followed Eric Larsen leading an expedition of three to North Pole. This trek was only a part of a wider project: to make the three poles in less than 365 days. Few days after he summitted the Everest (with oxygen and sherpas) on 15 October, one can say that his challenge is a big success.

This is thus the end of a three legs adventure initiated by polar guide Eric Larsen from Minnesota who wanted to complete the three poles within the periode of one year. On 4 January 2010, he reached the geographic South Pole with two clients, the Canadian Liu Dong Sheng and Irishman William Hanlon. Two months later he reached the North Pole on 23 April with two other people, Darcy St laurent and Antony Jinman. And a little more than one month ago, he went to Nepal to climb the Everest with the help of oxygen, sherpas and via the south col route.

Mount Everest : 8 848m the highest peak in the world

Mount Everest : 8 848m the highest peak in the world

© IPF, michel brent

He nearly didn't make it...

On the night before 15 October, the Larsen's team was waiting for a good weather window to go for it. At 7pm a first group of two sherpas left the tent first to climb towards the summit and put the ropes along the way. At eleven, two other sherpas started the climb also. And a little after midnight, Eric with the last sherpa (Passang Sherpa) start the final push for the summit.

Here is Larsen's story :  "About the same time we were to reach the South Summit two things happened. One, we ran out of rope. Two, the clouds started rolling in - both did not bode well in my mind. To solve the rope situation, we cut some of the fixed rope from below us and relayed it forward. The impending whiteout, well, that just added to my stress."

"At the South Summit, I seriously considered turning around. I could see the summit, but it was getting late - after 11 and the weather was turning really sour. We still needed to get down and now that we had removed much of the fixed rope through several dangerous sections of the route a hasty retreat would be slow and arduous. I asked Chhering what he opinion of the devolving situation. 'No problem,' he said. Unfortunately, Chhering had slighty frost nipped his hand and therefore Nima (Kalla) led through the Hillary Step. I didn't think we would get up. Slowly, he kicked steps and cleared snow and eventually made it to the top. We followed slowly and carefully reaching the summit about 200 meters later."

"It was a relief more than anything, but more than celebrating success I was more worried about getting down in the impending storm. ..."

For more : please visit Eric Larsen's website.

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