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22.5.2009 The summit day and lot of thanks

Antti is having a break on the way to the South Summit
Antti and Tomi on a rock section
Summit Ridge and Hillary Step
Tomi is setting the Center lock to the summit
Jussi, Tomi and Antti on the summit
Arri is closing the summit
At first the expedition will thank very active and effective support
team. They have done a good job with web pages and with so many little
and bigger things back home.
Especially we want to thank the follow persons:

Jouni Rajala
The head of wilderness department of Airborne Ranger Club of Finland

Matti Mattila
Leader of the support team

Support -team:
Arto Suolanen
Jukka-Pekka Nurmela
Teijo Lehtinen
Tero Teelahti
Kari Kossila
Sami Johansson
Antti Pohjolainen
Mikko Auvinen
Sverre Slotte
Tero Jarvinen
Veli-Pekka Mölsä

In addition we would like to thank our sponsors and co-operators who have given a huge support to us to reach our aims. Thanks for all those numerous greetings we have received via the expedition email. And of course our families and other people who are involved in any level have earned our thanks, your support have been important.

Then about the summit day:

On Tuesday morning just after 6am Arri, Esa, Mikko, Tomi, Antti and me started our way from C3 (7100 m) to C4 (8000 m). In the beginning we were climbing further up Lhotse Face with steep snow. Some of us chose to use oxygen from C3 here but the others decided to save some oxygen and start using it only later. There were plenty of climbers pushing themselves towards C4 of Everest and Lhotse. Once the snow slope turned out to be rock face (Yellow Band) at around 7800 m the last fellas switched oxygen on due to heavy bags and lack of natural oxygen. There were three oxygen bottles, tent parts, food, gas, stoves in our back bags and our personal equipment. So total load of our bags were around 20 kilos. We absolutely felt this weight at 8000 meters altitude and going forward was like counting steps until you had to give yourself a chance to rest. Above Yellow Band there was a snow slope again until we reached the last hard part called Geneva Spur and soon after that we arrived to C4 at South Col at around 2pm.

Rest of the day was used for cooking and resting. Anyhow no much sleep was achieved, I slept maybe 45 minutes together and the others didn't sleep much more either. The most important thing was to eat and drink as much as possible and the best way to do that seemed to be eating berry soup. Those few who were able to eat some more serious food such as Reiter or Real dry food took all benefit out of that energy. Everybody used oxygen when resting and it was used half litres per minute during rest. In the evening around seven o'clock we heard the first sounds of  moving summit groups. We started to wake up at 9 and again prepared some food and hydration.

Finally well after 11pm we were out of our very comfortable sleeping bags and wearing down suits and other equipment. The sky above was clear and wind had settled down, so the summit weather seemed to be perfect. At 00:15 the expedition starts historical ascent to the summit of Mount Everest. After an hour of climbing we saw a thunder storm down the valleys that was a bit exciting but same time the view of the burning sky was amazing. The storm seemed to be far away and we felt safe to continue up. Tomi had an extra bottle of oxygen and was able to use higher flow and therefore he was a bit quicker. Antti and me followed next and decided soon to turn oxygen flow up. We reached Tomi having a break on Balcony and we stayed there a little while as well for drink and snack. Also we changed a half full oxygen bottle and left the old one wait for coming back down. So far it had taken three and a half hours to reach Balcony and we had gained about 400 vertical meters and we were well ahead of the schedule. As we were leaving Balcony Arri arrived there and told that Mikko has turned back for lack of energy due to last hard days. Later Esa decided to turn back on Balcony because he didn't feel well any more.

The route from Balcony continued on a ridge towards the South Summit. The ridge was mainly snow covered but there were some rock sections as well. Plenty of climbers were going up and down but passing wasn't a problem. Antti, Tomi and me climbed somewhat side by side and Arri a half an hour behind us. Tomi was a little bit ahead and was climbing Hillary Step when Antti and I arrived at South Summit some minutes after seven. Feeling was probably the most awesome just here because getting to the summit and reaching the long living aim of mine seemed most probable. And of course the view was more than perfect as Khumbu Region on our left and the knife sharp North-East Ridge on the right side. In front of us was the southern ridge which we would pass soon.

As photographing Tomi's progress on Hilary Step, Antti continued to the ridge. For my little harm a very slowly climbing team passed me and I was like jammed because it quite impossible to pass anyone on the rock section. Lucky enough the weather was pretty warm (only -25 C) and almost completely windless, so an extra 45 minutes wait wasn't any problem for me. In hard wind and temperature close to 40 subzero, like a day before, toes and fingers would have been in danger. Once getting on the summit boys had already set up the center lock of T-10 parachute on the summit and were just taking the summit photos. After asking Arri's situation we decided that I would stay to wait Arri and Antti and Tomi started to descent. After a short wait Arri reached the summit and we took a series of photos and soon were time to start descent.

Once back in C4 Esa had cooked some juice and berry soup to cover our dehydration. Our drinks had turned to be crushed ice already on way up and drinking them wasn't too comfortable. We took some drinks and packed C4 and continued down to C3. It felt hard to walk down with heavy packs in high temperature and windless weather. After 36 hours we were back in C3.

After cooking we were ready sleep but wake up was already 5:30am. Tired because of previous days work our morning basis were slow and we were lying in sleeping bags for good time but before sunset we were packing C3. Finally at 11am we were moving to basecamp. We were still tired and packs were heavy, maybe 30 kilos. Descending was done extremely carefully because it's easy to make mistakes as tired.

Arri and Esa stayed overnight at C1 but Antti, Tomi and me continued all way back to the basecamp. The last hours down Khumbu icefall felt desperately long. Juha, Sonam and Kedar made our last minutes a bit easier as bringing hot juice at the end of glacier and we reached basecamp at 7. Things had done... almost. Tomorrow Antti and I are going up to C2 to pick up some gear back down. Today Juha and Heikki were doing their part of that.

On 25th we leave for Lukla and further to Kathmandu on 28th. In Kathmandu we pack some cargo and check equipments and for sure we will celebrate. We are back in Finland on 5th of June at 13:30.

Everything is very well!
Best Regards Jussi