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New Zealand expedition pulls out of Everest

May 30, 2005

New Zealand expedition pulls out of Everest

New Zealand expedition pulls out of Everest in rare withdrawal for safety reasons

The New Zealand expedition on Everest led by Mike Roberts has made a rare withdrawal because of safety reasons.

Roberts had been on Everest for two months to lead a team of 12 climbers to the summit of the world’s highest peak.

Today the Adventure Consultants party made a decision to withdraw from Everest as the monsoon approaches.

Expedition organiser Guy Cotter said today the weather window on Everest never opened for climbers on the south side (Nepal) this season.

``This is unprecedented in my experience. I have been going to Everest or organising expeditions since 1992 and this has never happened before,’’ Cotter said.

``No one has summited from the south side this year. But we feel if you are not prepared to fail in this game you put yourself at undue risk.

``We see it as a hallmark of a successful operation to pull out in these conditions of severe winds because we have standards to keep.

``We go to Everest every year and we want to maintain a good relationship with the Sherpas, and to force them to keep working in dangerous conditions goes against our beliefs,’’ he said

Three of the NZ expedition party had planned to traverse Everest from south to north following the ascent.

But one of the climbers in the party Luis Benitez said other teams going for the summit today were putting their lives at stake because of conditions on the mountain.

``They are ignoring all weather reports, putting lives in jeopardy. All the independent weather reports we had said there were high summit winds.’’

Adventure Consultants was founded by the legendary climber the late Gary Ball and pioneering Everest guide Rob Hall of Christchurch. Hall died near the summit of Everest in May 1996.

The company was passed on to Wanaka high altitude climber and expedition leader Guy Cotter later that year. Cotter has climbed four 8000m peaks and has twice stood on top of Everest. Thirty New Zealand climbers have reached the summit of Everest since Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top of the world in 1953. Half of the ascents by Kiwis since then have been by climbers on Adventure Consultants’ expeditions.

ENDS

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