The next morning I had to consider whether I climb up or down. It was only me who planned to use supplemental oxygen from the camp; the Polish were supposed to fix hundreds of rope whenever dangerous section come up. I did not have a clear knowledge of the route to the top, so I initially thought just follow others. But they would not use oxygen bottle, which perhaps make them slower than me.
But, I found that they only had brought up there 200 meters of rope, that is never enough to fix sections on the route where usually at least 800 meters needed. It seemed that they would climb roped-between (anseilen). I felt I was not strong enough to climb by myself the steep icy gully. I decided and started to come down, ten in the morning.
"Big accident! A Polish member has dead!"
It was next early morning, however, a surprising news heard from my Ngaa Tenji, who were climbing up to camp four of Mt. Everest, via the walkie-talkie. At the camp two, I tried to contact the Polish leader and was able to tell him the news, but he did not know what had happened and suspect the Sherpa's report, since at the camp four, he could see all the members with him.
The dead body, as Ngaa Tenji found first in the early morning, was proved as of Pemba's, not of any Polish member's. He fell the sheer Lhotse face 1,500 meters long down to the western cwm glacier. We, a few Koreans as well as our team Sherpas, decided to carry "him" down to a snowfield near the camp two in order a rescue helicopter might be able to bring back to Kathmandu.
On the other hand, another Polish Sherpa, Tenzin, had a severe frostbite in his both hands, which resisted him to climb up on the mid-way up to the summit of Lhotse with the Polish leader. Two other Polish had gone back to lower camp earlier; The Russian, although he could climb closest to the top, had also had to forgive his second journey near the top.
With Ngaa Tenji (right) and Tenzin (middle) at the base camp.
That day we could help Tenzin to come down to the base camp. The next day I also came down. It looked no hope to be able to climb further at least for me. Things went harder. I decided to fly out to Kathmandu the next day, with two Sherpas -- the dead Pemba and the frostbitten Tenzin.
winds on the summit of Lhotse