As most of you probably already know, it was an incredibly busy weekend on Everest, with a steady stream of climbers going to the summit, taking advantage of the what looks to be the final weather window of the season. Those that jumped the gun, and moved up the mountain early last week were rewarded with great weather on Saturday and Sunday, but high winds moved back in late on Sunday, and are now playing havoc with teams that were hoping to avoid the traffic jams.
Two of the climbers who are holding on to hopes that they’ll still have a chance to summit are mountain guide Dave Hahn and Leif Whittaker climbing with First Ascent. The duo were hoping to go up last night, but a snow storm moved into the area, and preventing them from making their summit bid. In his latest dispatch to GreatOutdoors.com Dave says that the weather has now shifted, and things are looking good for their final push from the South Col today. He is hoping to earn his 12th summit of Everest.
They aren’t the only ones who will be moving up. Others were also trapped in place at Camp 4, waiting for the snow storm to move on, and are now eager to joint the dozens of other climbers who topped out over the weekend. Obviously, the two names that got the most press over the weekend were 13-year old Jordan Romero, who set a new record for the youngest person to reach the summit, and the legendary Apa Sherpa, who claimed the 20th summit of his illustrious career. But plenty of other notable summits were made as well, such as Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner reaching the top, sans oxygen, to earn her 13th 8000 meter peak. First Ascent’s other team, consisting of Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton, also topped out, for their third and sixth summit of the mountain respectively, and Simone Moro stood on top for the 4th time as well.
Summits weren’t the only story of the weekend however, as ExWeb is reporting that Willie Benegas had to rescue an unnamed climber on his descent when they were caught out in the snow storm. The rescue took place above the South Col and in 50+ mph winds.
ExWeb and Alan Arnette are both reporting that some unscrupulous teams were also stealing oxygen bottles at the South Col as well. Climbers were arriving at that point and finding their equipment caches had been raided, with O2 bottles missing. Fortunately, some of the teams returning from the summit had extra bottles left over, and were able to help to equip those who were still going up. It is sad to hear these kinds of stories, as it would be absolutely devastating to not be able to summit because someone else took your oxygen. It is good to hear that most of the teams will work together to support one another however.
It seems that with the weather improved once again today, there will be one last big push to the summit. Expect updates throughout the day from those teams as they go for the summit from both the North and South side of the mountain.
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