The rope-fixing team started from Camp II, pushed through the South Col and starting fixing the route to the summit last night. The winds died down as forecasted and progress has been good. They will likely return to the South Col soon and finish fixing the route to the summit on Friday, 5/18. There are many teams nipping at their heels as it is anticipated that there are over 200 climbers waiting at Camps II & III that will try to summit on 5/18 and 5/19. It should be fairly chaotic, but we wish them all well as none of us would ever wish a fellow climber any ill will, and also because the more success that is had this weekend the fewer climbers that will be left on the mountain when we make our attempt. This will make our summit attempt safer and more enjoyable (at least theoretically — only time will tell). Alan Arnette has a good blog entry on this today: http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2012/05/16/everest-2012-timing-is-everything/
So, here at base camp we continue to wait. The next really good weather window appears to be 5/25-28, so the earliest we’re likely to leave base camp for the upper mountain is 5/21 unless the forecast changes greatly in the next couple of days. My best guess is that we’ll depart on 5/21 and try to summit on 5/25.
The schedule would look like: move to Camp II (21,300′) on 5/21 from Base Camp (17,400′), rest at Camp II on 5/22, move to Camp III (24,000′) on 5/23, move to Camp IV/South Col (26,300′) on 5/24 and arrive there by ~11am, depart for the summit (29,035′) around 9pm on 5/24 arriving at the summit early in the AM (preferably after sunrise — around 5am) on 5/25 and descend all the way to Camp II, and then descend to Base Camp early on 5/26 arriving by 7 or 8am. After that, we all head for home as quickly as possible…
Yesterday, we passed the time by hiking to Pumori upper Camp I (21,000’+) to stretch the legs and maintain our acclimatization. It was a nice morning and the views are spectacular (pictures posted in the blog entry below from my first trip up there). There are terrific views of the Khumbu icefall, Western Cwm, Lhotse Face, South Col, the Southeast Ridge and upper portion of Everest. It is awe-inspiring and provides the opportunity to ponder what lies ahead for us. There’s a lot of work left to do!
Today, we are preparing all of our gear for the final push which includes packing meals for Camps III & IV, reviewing oxygen systems, documenting high-altitude meds (who has what and where) in case they’re needed at any point, etc. We’re on a hurry-up-and-wait protocol now and will be ready to head-up in a moment’s notice for our summit bids. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later, as we’re all eager to get moving, but likely it will be in another 3-4 days. I’ll let you know when I know…
I love you, my brother from another mother. We are on the edge of our seats here hoping for a clear window for you. Here is a chant invoking Ganesh to remove the obstacles in your way: Ganapati Om, Jaya Ganapati Om, Ganapati, Ganapati.
Your sister-in-law, Caroline