I received a recorded phone message from Bill in the night. Here is what he said:
It’s Bill calling from Camp 2 and there has been a terrible accident on the Lhotse face, which is where I was headed today. A Sherpa from one of the other teams fell to his death. We don’t know quite what happened, but apparently he was going up to fix lines, (which is where we were headed) on his way to Camp 3 with his team and did not have an ascender hooked to the line. An ascender is a device that you hook your rope to so that you can go up but can’t come go down and then you fix it to your body so that if you let loose or anything like that, you can’t fall. You will not come down . He was not using an ascender and apparently slipped and fell. He was hooked to the line with a carabiner, but he fell quite a ways, like 100 ft. and he hit his head on a ice serac, a terrible accident. We were coming up to the line when it happened and they were burying him in the snow. Even today the details are sketchy, no one knows for sure what happened, but he took a fall and was killed. His name is Dawa (sp?) Sherpa, not the same Dawa I was originally assigned to. The team he was working for was an Italian team. Everybody is very sad, this is a very sad day. We just decided to come down and we are probably going to go up again tomorrow and fix the lines.
I actually have 2 ascenders, they are also called jumars. You only use one, but you hook up to the line and to your body and it will not come down, you can go up, but will not go down. These Sherpas are so experienced and are daredevils that a lot of times they don’t use this equipment, they should. You see a lot of the Sherpas on the mountain without crampons (the devices attached to your boots).
Anyway, that’s about it, I’ll leave it to you if you want to mention it in my report in any way, shape or form, it’s probably going to be on Everestnews.com, you might want to check,
We will head up again tomorrow and then to Base Camp.
Bill Burke, via a voice message transcribed by Sharon.