All the speculation and waiting is over. According to this article from Reuters, the Chinese summit team have topped out on Everest, and the Olympic Torch has shown it’s light at the top of the world. According to the article, the summit team consisted of 31 people, including 22 Tibetans, 8 Han Chinese, and 1 from the Tujia minority.
The story confirms what we heard earlier. Heavy snows and high winds delayed earlier attempts, and damaged routes to the top over this past weekend. The team had to spend time repairing the route before they went up today. Technically, the Torch reached the summit on Thursday local time.
Having reached the top at long last, I think we could all hear a collective sigh of relief coming from the South Side where the other teams waited for their opportunity to climb the mountain. We’ll have to wait and see if the ban on teams going past C2 will be lifted tomorrow, a couple of days ahead of the May 10th deadline. Hopefully it’ll also open communications from Base Camp where we can finally get more news and information from teams waiting there.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ban stays in effect until May 10th as scheduled. I’m guessing that there are some members of the Chinese Team that didn’t have the opportunity to go up to the summit today, and over the next few days they’ll have their chance to top out as well before the floodgates open on the South, and the teams there begin their assault.
I’ll post more on the Chinese climb as it becomes known.
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