The latest dispatch from the Annapurna IV Team indicates that their attempt to summit, and then make the first ski descent of the mountain, is over. Poor weather and plenty of snow made the decision easy for Josh and Ben, who were camped at 20,000 feet, and have been poised to make the final push today.
The original plan was for Ben Clark, Josh Butson, and Tim Clarke to summit the 24,680 foot Himalayan peak, and then ski it’s North ridge back down, some 9000 feet of near vertical wonderland. Tim took ill a few days back and was forced to go back down the mountain to base camp, but Ben and Josh tried to give it another go. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate. The area has been plagued with storms since their arrival in a soggy BC several weeks back, and the snow has continued to fly pretty much ever since.
The men turn back a bit let down, but still very happy for the time they spent on the mountain together. They enjoyed the technical challenge of the climb, and still got to ski plenty of the mountain as well. The dispatches, written by Ben, generally showed that they were in good spirits, and that they had a sense of wonder and excitement about the place they were visiting. That’s not always the case in these kinds of expeditions, and it was always fun to read Ben’s upbeat words.
Thankfully they’re coming home safe and healthy. Sure they didn’t bag the summit, but sometimes it’s more about the journey rather than the destination. They seem quite content with their efforts, and happy for their time together. In the end, can you ask for anything more?
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