Report from Fredrik Schenholm
Fredrik Schenholm, the team's photographer, reports from Everest. He was at the North Col when Tomas and Tormod were on the mountain:
Tomas and Tormod summited Everest at 12 o'clock May 16th local time. The weather was beautiful and they didn't seem tired at all at the summit. Tomas let me know they would ski the Norton couloir. Wow, I thought.. this is gonna be pretty amazing to shoot and film.
They didn't start the descent until 1.20 pm, when they got off the top pyramid and down to the balcony. Tormod started to trevers to the skiers left on the balcony, about 200 meters, Tomas skied second. They got to a gully, narrow and steep, skied down to a snowpatch above the rockband that is above the Norton couloir. Tormod skied first and when Tomas came down they saw that Tomas left ski was broken behind the binding. Bad new on Mt Everest North side. According to Tormod, Tomas got a bit stressed about this and they tried to fix it with climbing gear and ducktejp.
Well, they got to get down so they started to look for belay points for the abseil. Not easy, the rock was very solid and there was no ice under the snow patch. The solution was 2 snowsticks and one ice axe as anchor for the abseil rope. Tomas had the broken ski so he abseiled first (cause he would be the slower one in the Norton couloir). After 30 meter abseil, the anchor snapped and Tomas fell the 10-15 meter left down to the Norton couloir. This was about at 5 pm. Tormod tried to catch the anchor after it snapped, but of course for no use. Tormod did not see Tomas fall cause of bad weather and the rock was slab.
A few minutes after this accident Tormod broke his oxygen mask, so from now on Tormod was with out O2. Tormod down climbed the rockband with an abseil rope he didn't trust. Then he skied down the Norton couloir, and found Tomas ice axe and crampons. We think Tomas lost consiouness when he hit the ground after the fall from the abseil, cause Tormod did not see any trace of Tomas trying to stop his fall in the Norton, no trace what so ever in the snow. So, Tomas probably fell 2500 vertical metersdown to the mid Rongbuk glaciar.
Tormod skied down to the North Col. This was a sad day for us, and we are still very, very sad, but we must not forget that Tormod still did something no skier ever has done.