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Photographer's Note

On the day we walked up to Island Peak (6189m) Base Camp huge lenticular clouds were spinning over our heads as high velocity jet-stream winds pounded the tops of the peaks.

Lenticular clouds are a portent of very bad weather and any mountaineer fears the sight of them, any sign and you would get the hell off the mountain very, very fast. Anyone up there on this particular day would have little chance of survival.

This cloud above Lhotse was spinning around and around at a considerable speed whipping plumes of snow off the high ridge.

The shot shows the huge South face of Lhotse taken from near Chukkung it towers over you at a height of 3300m, more than 10000ft of near vertical rock and ice. Many world-class mountaineers have attempted to scale it including Reinhold Messner and it has claimed many of their lives. Very few have ever made it to the top.

Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world standing at 8516m and it's eastern peak Lhotse Middle was until 2001 the highest unclimbed peak in the world at 8414m, it being of such extreme technical difficulty, at extreme altitude making it desperately dangerous.

At 2am on the next day after I took this picture we were to leave Island Peak Base Camp and attempt to reach the summit and return that afternoon. Island Peak is right next to Lhotse and the appearance of such threatening clouds made us worry about what we were going to be in for. Fortune smiled on us and we summited the next day at 10am in perfect crystal clear, azure blue, skies

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Additional Photos by Richard SG (escher1) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 30 W: 5 N: 240] (1268)
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