Tragedy Strikes – 5.21.2012

Sadly, Nepali officials report that there are four confirmed deaths high on Everest from the 5/19-20 summit push with an additional three confirmed missing.  The majority of these appear to have occurred during the latter stages of this weather window as conditions deteriorated in the early morning hours of 5/20.  This is a very sad turn of events and my sincere condolences go out to the families of the deceased climbers.  This is very sobering news, to say the least, especially as we depart base camp for the upper mountain.  These are in addition to the four previous Sherpa deaths that have occurred thus far this season, making this indeed a very sad and tragic season on Everest.

This most recent tragedy appears to have been the worst since the tragic events of 1996 that we all know all too well.  Certainly, now that this news has hit the blogs, it will be a matter of days, if not hours, before the mainstream media begins its frenzy over this and analyzes the “whys” and “hows” and opines endlessly on the merits of climbing the world’s tallest rock.  I just wanted to prepare those of you closest to me that will undoubtedly be asked innumerable questions on this situation over the next week or so.

The reality of my situation is that I’m climbing with a very strong team and with the undisputed best organization on the mountain with the best logistics and safety nets in place.  Our weather window of 5/26 looks excellent, which is a huge determining factor, and we will continually assess ourselves, the conditions, and the weather with each step we take upward.  Of course there are never any guarantees, but I have the utmost confidence in my team, my support and my abilities, so it is with this confidence that I head off for my summit attempt in roughly 12 hours.

IMG’s site (link in the previous blog post below) will be the best source for information on my team’s progress over the next 6-7 days, while Alan Arnette’s blog (links to his website in below posts as well) will be the best source for information on any of the other developments on the mountain.

I will post about my experience on the upper mountain upon my return next week at some point.  In the meantime, my best to everyone.  The adventure continues.

12 thoughts on “Tragedy Strikes – 5.21.2012

  1. Not sure if you will even get this before you begin your lifelong goal but I wanted to let you know I have been following your progress over the past few weeks and with your latest post needed to make sure you knew what a great friend you are and that our whole family eagerly waits to hear about your success of everest. I worry for you as many do but i know this is a dream of yours and as a friend want you to fullfill your dreams and goals. Having said this be safe and i will see you in Chicago!!!

  2. I send my deepest condolences to the friends and families of those who lost their lives pursuing their dreams. Jim – we trust your lifetime of climbing experience along with your strong IMG team to make the best possible decisions this week. You are in our thoughts and prayers, as we watch the weather and hope for your successful summit and most importantly safe return. You are a tremendous brother and my best friend. Stay focused and enjoy the experience of a lifetime!


  3. Happy 39th birthday a couple days early, since you will be on your summit rotation on your actual birthday. We will celebrate when you return.

    • Thanks, will be spent in the cold of Camp II and accompanied by bad food. Perfect! Nowhere else I’d rather be though… see you in Denver in a few weeks!

  4. In an effort to make myself feel better I’m going to state the obvious: Be safe and be well, friend. And kiss Bob on the lips for me and say that was from Dylan. Best to you, Jim.

  5. A safe round trip is all that we ask for. Happy birthday (early), enjoy your moment at the top of the world, and we are all look forward to hearing you tell us about accomplishing one of your lifelong dreams.

  6. Hey Jim! I’ve been following you all the way through also and if for me its an amazing experience to have someone I know take on this challenge, I can’t even imagine how this must feel for you. I bet hearing these sad news definitely puts things in perspective and makes you realize how real this all really is, but all I can say is best of luck as you prepare for your final ascent. We hope to see you back safely in Denver for the summer season of the Steamy Piles!

  7. Jim: you will not get this until you return but wanted you to know that Bill and I are thinking of you every day. I’m sure this climb will be the thrill of a lifetime for you. You’ve been working toward this event for a long time.

  8. Wooks…I just climbed Mt. St. Helens and while it is nothing in comparison, I thought about you on Everest and us on Adams with every freezing cold step, popping Cliff Blocks into my mouth because my hands were too cold to take my gloves off. And then that ridiculous descent where you had to rescue my axe. 🙂 I am so proud of you for doing this and for always going after what you want. We’re watching your progress closely and will be with you every step of the way. I can’t wait to hear stories, look at pictures, and see that huge grin on your face after you complete the finale to something that less than 400 people in the world have done…not 7 summits, but 8. Go get it done…

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