Chief Scout's Commissioner Andre Bredenkamp summits Mount
Andre Bredenkamp holding the South African and World
Scouting flags on Mount Everest.
Picture: SA Scout Association. Not to be redistributed
It's Lonely at the Top
The Witness, 12 June 2004
"You get to the top, you feel particularly lonely. There
is snow everywhere. It's a blizzard. You have this mask on
your nose and your face, and a big hood over your ears. You
can't hear anything. It is completely silent, you can just
hear yourself breathing. You have such sensory deprivation.
You see people gesticulating to each other. You shake hands,
pat each other on the back.
"You take off your mask, you have no oxygen, you want
to fall asleep. You don't have the capacity to feel much,
you aren't thinking straight.
"Then you realise you have a job to do. You think about
putting up the flags. There is a country you are standing
up for, this flag of democracy. You really have to concentrate.
You have a strong bond with the nation whose flag you are
putting up there. You feel solidarity, patriotism. I have
done this for my country. You drink some water, put your mask
back on and turn around to go down."
This was how Maritzburg-raised Andre Bredenkamp described
how it feels to be at the top of the world's highest mountain,
Mount Everest. Bredenkamp, who cut his mountaineering teeth
in the Drakensberg, recently became the first South African
to summit Everest from the Tibetan side. He and 15 other climbers
made it to the top during a heavy blizzard, on the same day
that three other climbers died in their attempts.
Interviewed over coffee on his return, Bredenkamp described
how, having made it to the top, he turned around and walked
another seven hours back to his base, feeling "more physically
drained than I had ever felt in my life". But, said Bredenkamp,
it is at times like this that you see God "loudly and
clearly" and it is at times like this that the soul leaps
The softly-spoken 46-year-old Cape Town property developer
- who is the son of retired Maritzburg Varsity Professor of
Religion, Vic Bredenkamp and his wife Marie - spoke with emotion
about the 15 minutes he spent at the summit.
"I didn't cry at the top because my eyelashes were stuck
together. I took off my glasses and my eyelashes froze together.
I was trying to get them apart," he said.
During the interview, Bredenkamp described the close bond
he formed with his sherpa, Lakpa Chir, the wretchedness he
felt at having to leave an injured Korean climber to die on
the way down and the emotion he felt when he found that his
friend and fellow climber, Chris Drummond, who turned back
just before the summit because of frost-bite, had waited for
him at the 8 300 metre high camp from which they made their
bid for the summit, despite the fact that the camp had been
abandoned due to an avalanche warning.
Bredenkamp also described his pride at being a South African
on this trip, his commitment to a "life of service"
in the country and his passion to make the most of each day
and to fill his life with adventure.
A boy scout from an early age and now South Africa's Chief
Scouts Commissioner, Bredenkamp left two flags, one incorporating
the South African Scouts logo and the emblem of the International
Scouts movement, in addition to the South African flag at
the top of Everest.
He is passionate about the scouts and ascribes many of his
personal qualities and strengths to what he learned as a young
scout in Pietermaritzburg. Bredenkamp was largely responsible
for changing the rules a few years ago to open its membership
to girls. As the chief scouts commissioner, he voluntarily
spends about two hours a day of his busy life working for
the movement and can be found regularly walking with a group
of scouts on Table Mountain.
Bredenkamp's dream to summit Everest was born about four
years ago while he was trekking with two friends in Nepal.
They were Chris Drummond and Mike Nixon, both fellow property
developers in Cape Town.
"That was when we first saw Everest. It is such a beautiful
mountain and it was a moving experience. The three of us had
walked ahead of our group. As we stood looking at the mountain,
we told each other we would all be back to have a crack at
Having articulated their dream, the three then "read
all the books". They later joined up to climb the Acconcagua
summit on the border of Argentina and Chile - the highest
mountain on the South American continent and then, about nine
months ago, to climb Mount Elbrus in Russia. They had all
previously climbed Kilimanjaro.
Now, with Everest under his belt, it is a case of "four
down, three to go"', for Bredenkamp, who wishes to climb
the highest summits on each of the seven continents, a feat
that only one South African, Sean Wisedale, has accomplished
Explaining why he decided to go up from the Tibetan side,
Bredenkamp said: "About 70% of ascents are done from
the south, from Nepal. People tend to choose the easiest route
when climbing the hardest mountain. The north side generally
gets the worst weather. We chose to ascend from the north
because we had seen it from the south on our trip to Nepal
and enjoy travelling to new places. Secondly, we wanted to
get away from the hundreds of climbers who ascend from the
south. Thirdly, the cost of a permit for the north is considerably
cheaper. Nepal charges $10 000 a person from the south and
it is about half the price from Tibet. As it was, this trip
cost us R250 000 each, including the costs of flights, hiring
sherpas, yaks for transport, food and oxygen bottles.''
The trio left at the beginning of April this year on their
two month journey. After weeks of acclimatisation, Nixon had
to turn back after developing a lung infection. It was only
Bredenkamp and Drummond who made it to the 8 300 metre top
camp from which they made their summit attempt.
"We reached the camp at about 5 pm together with about
70 other climbers all hoping to take advantage of the good
weather forecast for the next day. After melting snow for
some tea, we went to sleep, only to be woken by our sherpa
at 11 pm to prepare to depart. It took at least an hour to
do the most mundane things, like putting on boots, because
of the cold and the shortage of oxygen. Every time you do
something, you have to stop and breathe for a minute or two.
Just tying your shoelaces is exhausting.''
They started their ascent just after midnight on May 19.
"We put on our crampons and started walking with torches
on our heads. We climbed for about seven hours in the dark.
Chris was still with us at this stage. Then we got to a section
at the top of a ridge, when a big gust of wind flung Chris
about 20 metres down the side. He was stopped by a wedge in
between two boulders and, in the process, he lost his ice
"When he recovered and got back on the path, he was
very shaken and had lost his nerve. We realised that, with
another seven hours to go without an ice axe, he would not
be able to climb the final slopes of ice - and then turn around
and walk for another seven hours back to the camp."
So Drummond turned back and left Bredenkamp to continue.
He reached the summit at about 2.30 pm - becoming one of 15
out of 70 to make it to the top.
After experiencing the exhilaration at the top, an exhausted
Bredenkamp turned around - only to be confronted by the most
traumatic event yet.
"A Korean man had made it to the top and was walking
down just in front of me. I noticed at a particularly difficult
climbing section that there was a big delay - and discovered
that he had fallen and broken his leg.
"He was lying in the snow with people around him and
he was begging them not to leave him. We looked at him and
we had to leave him and walk on. We simply did not have the
capacity to carry him or drag him. We could hardly keep upright
ourselves. Some people took out their spare jackets and covered
him and we told him to relax. He stayed there, nobody tried
to carry him down. Nobody was capable. It was ice cold, there
was little oxygen. They were really urging him to go to sleep
and die peacefully.
"You try to distance yourself. You tell yourself I must
just walk on, but you know that someone has just called out
for help and you have been incapable. I could do nothing,
I could barely stand up myself. You realise this is a vicious
After a gruelling climb down, Bredenkamp returned to the
camp at about 10 pm in the dark. "If I had been any more
tired, I would have died. When I arrived at the camp, I realised
that the entire camp was deserted. There had been a big build-up
of snow that day on the cliff above the campsite and it had
been evacuated because of an avalanche warning."
The only person who had remained behind was the frostbitten
Chris Drummond. "He had stayed to be with me," Bredenkamp
said. "I called out to him, 'I am back, but you are going
to have to put me to bed.' He undressed me, took off my boots,
hat and wet jacket and laid down a sleeping bag. He put me
into bed, made me tea, and fed me while I was shaking and
freezing in my sleeping bag. He acted as my nurse. Then he
lay next to me to keep me warm."
Clearly touched by his friend's brave act of loyalty, Bredenkamp
continued: "There is not much morality on Everest. You
come back thinking you should maybe stick to gentle hikes
in Newlands Forest."
Now that he is back home with his girlfriend, Bredenkamp
is still in recovery mode and is nursing a cracked rib.
"My recovery has been a lot slower than usual, both
physically and mentally. I am finding it difficult to concentrate,
and sleep. When we departed we were as strong as lions, but
we returned as weak as the Zimbabwe currency."
Asked who it was that helped instill a love of the mountains
in him, Bredenkamp did not hesitate to name Colin Inglis,
his former scout leader, who lives in Pietermaritzburg.
"He was a Cambridge graduate and a World War 2 pilot
in the SA Air Force. He was chairman of the Mountain Club
of SA and a great climber who did many first ascents of mountains.
He also became Chief Scout of South Africa. Every year, he
would arrange for our troop to camp in the Cape. I had the
opportunity at an early and impressionable age to climb in
the Cape mountains with him. He was a hero and I aspired to
do what he did."
Another person he admires is Ed February, "the first
black climber of international stature in South Africa",
who was part of the disastrous 1996 Sunday Times expedition
up Everest. "Ed is one of the most accomplished climbers
in the country and I have great admiration for him."
Bredenkamp's interest in mountains was further nurtured when
he was a boy scout. "I was a scout throughout high school
and ended up as a Springbok scout.
"Scouting teaches people skills they generally do not
learn at school, like leadership, the environment and good
"I am passionate about the movement. Formal education
lacks a great deal. I suppose that if family structures were
better, kids would learn more from their parents. But we are
a nation of many single parents and grandparents raising children.
"70% of our scouts are in black rural areas, so we are
somewhat faceless. In the past, we were very visible in urban
areas, but that is not the case any more. The growth is in
black rural areas. In KwaZulu-Natal, Mangosuthu Buthelezi
has been very supportive of the growth of the movement.
"The life skills I learned through my scouting days
have been more valuable to me than my formal education. In
my business, I am able to lead my staff because of the skills
I learned. They also taught us imagination and problem solving."
One of his favourite memories is a hike he did with two scouts
in the Drakensberg when he was 18 from the Mont aux Sources
amphitheatre along the escarpment to Giants Castle. "It
took 13 days and we carried our food from top to bottom without
Although he plans to get the seven summits under his belt
and would still like to summit Everest without oxygen, Bredenkamp
insisted that mountaineering is not an obsession.
"It is not all-consuming. I have a passion for life,
with many interests. Climbing mountains is just one of them.
I do a lot of sports. I cycle and have done a few Argus Cycle
tours in under three hours; I run a bit and have a silver
medal for the Comrades Marathon and I have done three-and-a-half
Duzi canoe marathons. In the fourth, we broke the boat in
the middle of the event.''
He is also a keen photographer and enjoys reading, particularly
biographies. Although he spends time with young scouts, he
does not have any children of his own. "That opportunity
passed me by," he said.
While at base camp, Bredenkamp and the other South Africans
took part quite a few political discussions. "We were
fascinated by the American contingent that was with us. None
of them seems to have understood that their country has invaded
a sovereign nation.
"One of the climbers on our team was a man from upstate
New York who was on the mountain the fatal day in 1996 when
Ian Woodall and the South African Sunday Times expedition
climbed. He had been in the base camp when the South Africans
were there. When he first met us, he said to us, 'I hope you
are not like the other South Africans we met.'
"But we were so proud to be South African to sit around
the dinner table in the tent and talk about how we have grown
together as a country in the past last 10 years. It gave us
pride to relay to people the spirit of forgiveness that exists
and the desire to break down racial barriers.
"I know the people we met were impressed by our performance
of working as a team. I believe we left the mountain leaving
behind a trail of goodwill. The British climbers we met, the
French, the Canadian, the Irish; they will all be coming to
South Africa to visit."
Bredenkamp places a deep value in being a servant of his
community - something he learned from, among other people,
his father and from the scout movement. "My father, being
a Methodist minister, was always working for no pay and is
the happiest person I know. I believe that doing volunteer
work is much more fulfilling than working for a salary. The
level of community involvement by citizens is a measure of
the level of civilisation of that community.
"For as long as I am in SA, I must contribute to the
growth and betterment of society and the environment."
Although as a child Bredenkamp was to be found sitting in
the pews of the Methodist Church, he is not an avid churchgoer.
"But I have a deep sense of religion. I find getting
out into nature and into mountains tremendously inspiring
and rewarding. God is not very visible in the city. But you
certainly see Him in the mountains. Being out there rejuvenates
my soul and it reorders my priorities."
Cape Times - 3 June 2004
On top of it: Andre Bredenkamp, the first South African
man to climb Mount Everest from the Tibetan side, is
held aloft by members of the South African Scout Association
at Cape Town International Airport. Full story Photo:
Leon Muller, Cape Argus
Capetonian André Bredenkamp helped cover an injured
climber with snow near the summit of Mount Everest where he
and fellow climbers had to leave the man to die.
Bredenkamp, who arrived back in the city on Wednesday, said
on the same day that he summited, three climbers died in their
attempt to scale the world's highest mountain of 8 848m.
"One of them, a Korean, fell and broke his leg. No one
was able to move him or do anything. We covered him up with
snow and he just went to sleep," he said on Wednesday.
It was one of Bredenkamp's more harrowing experiences on
his successful climb of the north face of Everest from Tibet
"It's difficult to try to help anyone at that altitude
because you're just trying to keep yourself alive." He
summited in almost a complete white-out of driven snow.
"You're just trying to survive, trying to balance and
concentrate on getting to the top. I just wanted to sleep
and for 10 or 15 minutes I lay down in the snow and slept
until the Sherpa woke me up. It was a very bad season. Nine
people died on the north face," Bredenkamp said.
"You get completely disorientated. I had to keep reminding
myself I was climbing a mountain. Every step of the way I
had to try to motivate myself. At that altitude I took at
least 10 to 15 breaths each time I moved one foot."
When he reached the top, he had unfurled the South African
flag and the Boy Scout flag, an organisation to which he has
belonged since he was a boy.
Fellow Capetonians, Mike Nixon and Chris Drummond, did not
reach the summit. Nixon developed a serious lung infection
and was forced to turn back at 7 500m - higher than any mountain
in the southern hemisphere.
Bredenkamp and Drummond pushed on to the top camp.
"Those three days were hell. You'd wake up with your
sleeping bag covered in snow and ice and icicles stuck to
"Then you'd pack up your wet sleeping bag and have tea
and porridge and walk all day."
"It took 45 minutes to climb 100m. It was absolutely
"When we arrived at top camp we had to collect ice in
a black bag and melt it in a cup on the stove. We spent several
hours just melting ice to make soup and tea."
The two set out for the summit at midnight wearing torches
on their heads.
Said Drummond: "It was a lot more difficult than I anticipated
and we came close to death on more than one occasion."
"On summit ridge there was a huge gust of wind and I
took off backwards like Mary Poppins. I hit a rock."
"I fell about 13m and landed on my backpack, which probably
saved my life. By that stage I lost my nerve. It would take
another seven hours to do the last 200m and I knew I couldn't
Drummond is still in pain from severe frostbite on his toes.
Nixon, back at advanced base camp, spoke of the harrowing
time they had watching the weather closing in over the summit.
Nixon said: "We were surrounded by groups from Bulgaria
and Korea. The Bulgarians lost one guy and the Koreans lost
two. So when we heard André had made the summit there
were huge celebrations."
This article was originally published on page 5 of The
Cape Times on June 03, 2004
Local Mount Everest conqueror back in town
2 June 2004
Andre Bredenkamp, the South African chief scout commissioner,
arrived in Cape Town today after climbing Mount Everest from
the most difficult route, the northern side of the mountain.
Bredenkamp was part of a three man South African team amongst
a larger international team.
Cathy O'Dowd was the first SA to summit Everest from Tibet
and Bredenkamp became the first South African man to do so.
Since 1922 almost 200 people have died attempting this feat.
A group from the South African Scout Association welcomed
Andre Bredenkamp at Cape Town International Airport after
his gruelling and difficult feat. He arrived with two other
South Africans, Chris Drummond and Mike Nixon, who could not
reach the summit due to illness and injury. Bredenkamp described
the climb as more difficult than anticipated.
Andre Bredenkamp, a Mount Everest conqueror, said: "...There
have been a number of fatalities, thankful to have made it
through the skills I have learnt over years as a scout. Its
just a South African who doesn't say no and all of those things
were necessary to get me to the top."
The three left for Tibet in April and are the only South
Africans to have been given permits to climb the mountain
this year. The trio had hoped to reach the summit, but Mike
Nixon came down with lung problems and Chris Drummond with
frost bitten toes fell and turned back.
At the end, Bredenkamp and 15 others were successful in achieving
the ultimate goal. He planted the Ten Years of Democracy flag
on Mount Everest after becoming the first South African male
to summit the mountain from the North side.
South African scales the North face
1 June 2004
Mr. Andre Bredenkamp, the fifth South African to reach the
summit of Mount Everest and first to successfully scale the
North Face of the world's highest mountain, arrives at Cape
Town International Airport (domestic arrivals) at 11am on
Wednesday, 2 June 2004. Andre, who fractured a rib in the
attempt, experienced four deaths from other expeditions on
the same day as his summit.
Andre is the Chief Scout's Commissioner (second most senior
official in the movement) of the South African Scout Association.
The Chief Scout, Mr. Nkwenkwe Nkomo, will meet Andre in JHB
upon his arrival there. Andre flew the national flag, the
South African Scout flag and the ten years of democracy flag
on the summit.
This is indeed another great achievement for South Africa
as it is reported that the conditions during the assault on
the summit were extremely hazardous.
Luke van der Laan
31 May 2004
I have just been informed by the National Office that Andre
will be arriving in Cape Town on Wednesday (2 June 2004) morning
at 11h00. We would like to give him a great scouting welcome
and would like to have as many scouts and scouters present
If you are able to assist by getting time off or arranging
for some of your scouts to be there please let me know by
Luke van de Laan will be taking care of the press. This an
opportunity for us to tell the world that our Everest Conqueror
is a Scout.
The Witness, 25 May 2004
PIETERMARITZBURG can be proud of one of its sons, Andre Bredenkamp,
for his achievements in scaling Mount Everest last week. He
is only the third South African to have accomplished the feat
and certainly the first to have conquered the world's highest
peak from the northern, Tibetan side
Thousands of climbers have conquered Everest since the epic
1953 achievement of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing
Norgay, over 100 this month alone. But the mountain remains
as forbidding and unforgiving as ever - on the day of Bredenkamp's
achievement, a Japanese climber and three South Koreans lost
their lives. The challenge and the dangers are in no whit
reduced by the frequency of conquest.
23 May 2004
Dear EverestNews, Here is the story of the first South African
man to reach the summit of Everest from Tibet (Andre is the
fifth South African to reach the summit of Everest, in total.
As anticipated life has been exciting. The three of us started
our summit bid about 10 days ago. On the first day above ABC
(Advanced Base Camp) we discovered that Mike's cough was a
serious lung infection. He generously decided to turn back
to allow us the best opportunity. We made the North Col on
the 16th of May. The following day we proceeded to the next
camp at 7,600 meters, which was the most difficult day experienced
yet. Lots of snow the whole way. We found that the tents were
pitched on very steep ground and even getting in and out of
the tents was a difficult undertaking. We spent a few hours
melting snow to create water and boiled up a hot packet of
The next day we proceeded to the highest camp in the world
located at 8,300 meters and predictably not a place for the
faint hearted! We arrived at camp at 1700 hours and left for
our summit bid at midnight. All the climbers attempting to
summit on this day probably numbered 70.At the end of the
day Andre and 15 others were successful in achieving the ultimate
summit goal. Unfortunately three lives were lost on the same
day. Summit day started at 12:00 midnight local time. It was
tough but progress was made until just before dawn when Chris
had a fall which left him some 20 ft below the fixed lines.
In the process he lost his Ice Axe. Although no bones were
broken his normally abundant confidence was shaken. Following
a group discussion, and although a mere 250vertical meters
from the summit the Sherpa indicated there was still a further
7 hours to go, Chris elected to terminate his bid and return
to camp. Andre proceeded with Lakpa the Sherpa and managed
to summit at 1410 hours on Thursday, May 20th. After 20 minutes
on the top in appalling blizzard conditions , they returned
to the 8,300 meter camp which they finally reached at 2230
hours, predictably absolutely exhausted. Chris had remained
in the camp although everyone else had left due to an avalanche
Andre and Chris then proceeded to rapidly descend back to
Advanced Base Camp over the next 2 days and arrived exhausted.
Chris has first degree frostbite on his feet which will take
many months to heal. Andre has a cracked rib together with
various bruises from numerous tumbles.
Mike has just started a summit bid as it is predicted that
the weather will provide a window. He is going with a group
of 8 climbers from our party who have all been waiting for
this opportunity. Chris had wanted to return with Mike, however
the frostbite prohibited this chance.
We have discovered this mountain is very challenging with
a great number of factors beyond one's control. Looking forward
to seeing everyone back home soon and if possible logistically
we hope to home 1 or 2 days sooner than anticipated.
Written By Chris Drummond and Andre Bredenkamp, Cape Town,
SA man reaches Everest summit
21 May 2004
Carel van Dyk
Cape Town - One of three Capetonians who have spent the past
month on the rockfaces of Mount Everest reached the summit
André Bredenkamp reached the peak on Thursday after
a gruelling 20-hour climb.
Initially, Bredenkamp had hoped reach the summit on Sunday
with Chris Drummond and Mike Nixon, but their plans were scuppered
when Nixon came down with food poisoning.
The trio decided that Bredenkamp and Drummond would tackle
the summit. However, during this attempt, Drummond fell and
lost his backpack. He was not injured, but turned back.
The three property developers left for Tibet in April and
they have attempted the northern approach to Everest. They
are the only South Africans to have been given permits to
climb the mountain this year.
But, all is not lost for Nixon, who will attempt the peak
this weekend. If everything goes to plan, he should reach
the summit by Tuesday.
21 May 2004
Dear EverestNews.com Thanks for all of the great work you
are doing in telling the story of climbing Everest.
Here are the dates, names, and local origins of the summiters
in our two succesful SummitClimb.com teams (so far, as we
plan to continue trying):
18 May, 2004:
- Thomas Haines, Colorado, USA.
- Ryan Waters, Georgia, USA.
- Franck Pitula, Lyon, France.
- John Mislow, Chicago, USA.
- Lakpa Temba Sherpa, Kulima, Nepal.
- Nurbu Tsipe, Tashi Tsom, Tibet
- Dorje Kasang, Old Tingri, Tibet
20 May, 2004
- Andre Bredenkamp, Capetown, South Africa.
- Lakpa Chiri Sherpa, Kulima, Nepal.
The last few days have been filled with many challenges and
achievements. After a number of days of patient waiting at
6400m, a group of us made an all-out summit sprint to take
advantage of a brief weather window. The team departed at
0130h on May 18 - brisk winds, pitch black, and nothing but
our headlamps to guide our way up from 8300m to the Yellow
Band. Daniel Mazur stayed in the high camp to help the team
on their way and coordinate the crucial Tibetan part of the
team. After negotiating the slick limestone of the Yellow
Band, we gained the summit ridge after the first step. The
Ridge is very exposed with cornices dropping off 3000m to
the left and 2000m on the right. Not a good time to slip,
and especially challenging since we were wearing crampons
(skittering across icy limestone in utter darkness is a very
sobering experience). Onward we pushed, up to the mildly technical
but quickly overcome second step. After picking our lines
carefully, we were standing on the top of the second step
and trotting quickly towards the third step. A few hours later
we (John, Lakpa Temba Sherpa, Frank, Ryan, Thomas) were standing
on top of the highest peak in the world; great views, exhaustion,
and elation. Nurbu Tsipe and Dorje Kasang followed a few hours
A quick stay at the top and we were ready to descend. As
we downclimbed the summit pyramid dihedral, we ran into a
number of climbers that were still making their way up to
the summit. We found out later that these climbers were members
of the unfortunate Korean team that tragically lost two of
their members that day. Our deepest sympathies go out to the
fallen climbers' loved ones. Soon after we descended to safety
at the North Col and ABC we were informed of another loss;
a Japanese climber. It is a sobering reminder of how ruthless
the mountain can be.
The second wave of climbers was not as fortunate with the
weather as the first - gale force winds, whiteout conditions,
subzero temperatures, and hostile surface conditions conspired
to make further attempts highly difficult and hazardous. However,
despite fierce weather, our Andre Bredenkamp from South Africa
became the first South African male to summit from the North
Face. Braving untoward conditions with the help of Lakpa Chiri
Sherpa, Andre has made it into the record books - and is currently
making his way down to ABC safely. Hats off to you!
The final summit assault teams are planning on making their
attack at the earliest sign of fair weather, perhaps in the
next day or two. Oxygen and other essentials are moving into
place and we send our very best wishes for a safe successful
Thank You Very Much, Cheers, Yours Sincerely,
from John Mislow, Thomas Haines, Duane Morrison, and all
of us at SummitClimb.com
21 May 2004
Latest news from the mountain. I received a SAT call from
Mike at 8.00 am this morning (Friday 21st May) and Andre,
Chris and Mike are all well.
Andre summitted yesterday after a extremely long day of about
20 hours of climbing. Chris had a fall and lost his backpack,
and is alright but decided to turn back. The weather was windy
and overcast with snow falling at certain elevations. Chris
and Andre were both together overnight at a high camp on returning
and spoke to Mike by radio (Mike is still at ABC) and are
both descending today.
They are all very excited about Andre's summit and Mike heads
off tomorrow for a possible summit on Tuesday. The weather
turned bad with unexpected storms, however the summit winds
are expected to remain relatively low for further attempts
at the summit.
Mike is recovering from being ill and is feeling somewhat
better, but he is unable to really improve while remaining
at ABC elevation. He will see how he feels while climbing
to the higher camps over the weekend.
There have been reports of fatalities on the North Side yesterday
involving a Korean team and a Japanese lady, as reported on
www.everestnews.com and www.mounteverest.net as well as rescue
of the Ladies of Everest Team on the North side where the
Italian team went to their assistance and ensured their safe
Our thoughts are with them all and thanks to all of you for
21 May 2004
The Chief Scout's Commissioner, Andre Bredenkamp summitted
Mount Everest yesterday. He is the only one from the South
African group of three in the expedition so far to have made
it. Mike Nixon will be attempting the last climb on the weekend.
I am sure you will all join me in sending out a huge "Bravo"
for Andre. Well done Andre, the Association is proud of you!
19 May 2004
We received the following message from Andre's Office
Today 5 Americans in Andre's party submitted. The weather
at the top is good and it is possible that the guys may summit
The most up-tp-date news is coming from the following websites:
(The expedition goes by the name of Summit Climb Everest 2004.)
Please hold them in your thoughts and prayers as we will be.
3 SA men on top of the world
14 May 2004
Cape Town - Three Cape Town property developers will try
to stake their claim to the world's highest summit on Sunday.
Chris Drummond, André Bredenkamp and Mike Nixon will
try to reach the summit of Mount Everest with six others from
an international team if the weather permits.
They are the only South Africans to have got permits this
year to climb the mountain. Only four other South Africans
have seen the view from this mountain summit.
The three men left for Tibet early in April. From there,
they ventured up on the northern precipice of the mountain
Over and above a stomach bug that left Drummond 8kg lighter,
the climbers withstood weather conditions during which temperatures
dipped to -10°C.
The group sent news about their progress via e-mail, but
the messages dried up when their laptop fell from the back
of a yack. They ordered a new one via satellite phone.
By the time they reached the base camp about 5 200m above
sea level, they had only 80% of the normal oxygen level in
Two forced to abandon attempt
"If you pitch up in this state at your doctor, he'd
probably have you thrown into an oxygen tent," said Bredenkamp.
The lack of oxygen forced two of the international team members
to withdraw from the attempt.
The three Capetonians have climbed to about 500m beneath
the summit, and hope to climb to the top on Saturday.
They will plant a South African flag they received from Marthinus
van Schalkwyk, who was premier of the Western Cape at the
time. He is now the new minister of tourism and environmental
The Chief Scouts Commissioner, Andre Bredenkamp, who
left early in April to climb Mount Everest, epitomizes the
adventure of Scouting. He is part of a three man South African
team amongst a larger international team led by Dan Mazur.
As Andre writes:
We have finally met Dan Mazur, our leader. He didnt
look anything like the athletic/mad mountain/bearded type
we had imagined. Chris aptly describes him as a balding,
slightly messy, typical history school teacher caricature.
Dan first burst onto the alpine scene about 15 years ago,
when in his early twentys he arrived in Katmandu and
talked his way onto a Russian expedition, heading for Everest.
Four weeks later he was on the summit! Since then he has climbed
nine of the 14 peaks that are over 8000 meters in the world,
including K2, which is perhaps the most difficult.
So it seems that Andre is in a team that is sure to succeed.
He was presented with the Associations flag and our
well wishes upon his departure. We also congratulate Mr. C
Reddy, the KwaZulu Natal Area Finance Chairperson, on climbing
From Scouting About,
16 April 2004
News from Everest
Andre Bredenkamp and his two companions left Cape Town on
1 April armed with a Scouting flag, which we hope he will
plant on top of Everest. They spent the first two weeks in
Nepal where they have met with up with their expedition leader
and the rest of the team numbering about 25. The first few
weeks were spent getting their necessary permits in order
and checking their gear. They encountered some problems with
strikes in Nepal, which caused a delay in their programme,
and this has resulted in them being three days behind schedule.
The latest news received (16/04/04) was that they had left
Kathmandu by helicopter and reached base camp (BC) at 5200m
and the temperature was -10 degrees C. They are all still
well. Once BC has been set up they will set of for advance
base camp (ABC) at 6200m which will take two days. The next
two and a half weeks they will spend acclimatising moving
up and down from ABC to BC and attempt to summit on 16 May.
If is not possible they will attempt a summit between 26 -
If you wish to find out what his team is doing, log on to
From Cape Western
Three Capetonians to carry SA pride on Everest
Three Cape Town mountaineers will carry the South African
pride to the world's highest peak, Mount Everest next Friday.
André Bredenkamp, Chris Drummond and Mike Nixon were
this morning presented with a "Ten Years of Democracy"
flag by Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the Western Cape premier.
The mountaineers are the only South Africans to be given
permits to climb Mount Everest this year. The three have already
been to the summit of two of the highest peaks in the world,
South America's Aconcagua and the 7 000m high Mount Elbrus
"In terms of preparedness, the three of us have (participated)
in the Oceans marathon, the Argus cycle tour, which will be
to our advantage," said Drummond.
The three, who were given the flags to carry with them to
the summit to celebrate the country's decade long freedom,
will endure the toughest conditions in their attempt - a lack
of oxygen, winds and cold. "You can never be prepared
for the unforeseen, for the extreme conditions of cold and
wind and isolation and the ice slopes are very severe,"
The three will join a team of seven international mountaineers
and spend six weeks on the slopes of Mount Everest preparing
to reach the summit in May. Sibusiso Vilane, who made it last
year, is the fourth South African to ever get to the summit.