October 13th-16th, 1997
Evacuation of Per Lyhne (Michael K. Jørgensen).
After the tragic death of Per Lyhne, Jan Elleby had to wait for two hours
till the planned radio contact with ABC. Here the sad message was received with
disbelief, as no-one could imagine such an accident a calm night in Camp 1. But
as the shock abated, a fast action was taken, and in less than an hour three
sherpas were sent with equipment for a stretcher, followed by Per Bager and
myself. At the same time a mail runner was sent to the next village, four stages
away in the next valley, to inform the local authorities.
In a record-breaking speed the rescue team climbed up the long way to Camp 1, and here it overtook the evacuation while Jan broken-hearted descended to Camp ½ in 18.050 ft., where Erik and Henning was waiting. The transportation from Camp 1 with the makeshift stretcher was impeded by the steep climbing- and ice pitches. However, half way down the Australian expedition came to help in lowering the stretcher down the cliffs, as well as supplying hot tea and juice in Camp ½.
It was by now getting dark, why the improvement of the old helipad near Camp ½ had to wait till the next day, when Erik together with the sirdar prepared the site for the expected helicopter.
October 15th at 7.20 a.m. the helicopter was to arrive in Camp ½ to pick up Per Lyhne. Jan and the sirdar went up to meet the helicopter, but in vain, as the pilot did not dare to land in such high altitude. Thus a second evacuation had to be planned, from Camp ½ to a lower altitude. A grotesque situation evolved when the sirdar tried to hire two local porters for the transportation down. The porters demanded five times the normal pay - for a start, and when finally we accepted the price, after complicated negotiations by means of radio to expedition leader Per Bager still in ABC, the porters requested an even higher pay, and in the end we had to pay seven times the normal pay. In addition to this we had to supply the porters with shoes, socks and food to make it go smoothly. As the transport was passing ABC Erik and Shere, our cook adjoined the group, and by their united efforts they succeeded in reaching our Base Camp before nightfall. The Base Camp is as low as 15.250 ft., and having a regularly used helipad. October 16th Per Lyhne was finally flown to Kathmandu.