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Heart Attack at 25k

October 28, 1955

I’m sitting here in my tent, two days after returning down from the Lhotse Face. Up there, now I can see 100-125 mile an hour winds tearing across the Face, as well as the summit of Lhotse and Everest. My ears still ring of the winds at Camp 3 and 4, my fingers and toes still ache from the minus thirty degree cold. Such are the elements which drove us from so near our goal. As we stood at the 26,000-foot level, unable to move higher because of the wind, I think tears came to our eyes. After the months of preparations, the hopes of all those at home, the several months of struggle to reach Lhotse… to be so near… yet so far from the summit.

I must say, on behalf of the three Americans, that the down clothing and sleeping bags provided us by Eddie Bauer proved so extraordinary that words can’t be found to praise them...

The crux of the test of your down garments came when Dr. B Spirig at Camp 5 (25,600 feet) had a heart attack, and became snowblind! He was finally evacuated to Camp 4 (24,600 feet) by two Sherpas and there, without sleeping bags or air mattresses spent the night wearing Eddie Bauer down pants and down jacket! (Lent him by the Americans.) To think of a man, weakened almost to death and able to survive one night under such conditions! During the long night the wind ripped part of the tent away, filling the remaining with snow. The temperature thirty below zero!…I can hardly thank you enough for your help and interest in our attempt on Lhotse, not as a firm, but as a friend and fellow sportsman...