Despite sketchy weather reports that are predicting a rather narrow weather window to open up over the weekend, more teams seem to be lining up to take their shot at the summit. At the moment, high winds on Everest are preventing anyone from going too high, but that hasn’t stopped teams from jockeying for position none the less.
Take for example the First Ascent Team. The latest update on their blog indicates that they have jumped the line and moved up to Camp 3, while most other teams are still in Camp 2 waiting for the winds to drop. Two members of the FA squad, Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton, moved up to C3 today despite those conditions however, and they are now in an even better position to go for the summit if the window opens as expected. They also report that there are Sherpas higher on the mountain preparing the way for those to follow, and a fresh blanket of new snow over the blue ice, should make the climbing a bit easier.
The Hanesbrand sponsored Climb With Us Team is spending another day in C2 while they watch the winds. Team leader Jaime Clarke and Photographer Scott Simper report that their tent was pounded by high winds all night, and they estimated that higher on the mountain, those winds exceeded 100 miles per hour. But, they are planning on heading up to Camp 3 tomorrow, and then on to Camp 4 on Saturday. Once there, they’ll sit tight on the South Col for the expected window to open, then make a dash to the summit.
The Peak Freaks posted an update on their plans earlier today as well, and they are now eyeing the narrow weather window as well. It seems that they will send a small portion of their squad up to try to take advantage of the window as well. The climbers who will be making the bid are also in Camp 2, waiting to move up, while the Sherpas who are supporting them are already up in C3, where they report that conditions are good, despite the winds.
Interestingly enough, the two Finnish women competing to be the first from their country to summit Everest, are both in Camp 3 as well. Carina Raiha is climbing with the afore mentioned Peak Freaks, while Anne-Mari Hyryläinen is with the Altitude Junkies/Sky Climbers team. In the latest dispatch from that squad, we get the word that while this is an important competition between the ladies, the guides won’t push Anne-Mari if the conditions are not right. They also note that their are varying weather reports at the moment, with one predicting lower winds and another saying they’ll stay dangerously high. Like everyone else, they wait to see what Mother Nature has in store for them.
Yesterday, I suggested the two girls make their final push together, but apparently that won’t be the case. The two teams discussed the option, but they couldn’t come to an agreement, so now it’ll come down to a good old fashioned foot race, with the strongest and smartest coming out on top. Quite literally. Good luck to both of the women.
Not all of the teams are making their bids this weekend however, as the Alpine Ascents squad is just now making it’s way back to Base Camp. They’ll rest up, eat plenty of food, and prepare for the much larger weather window that is expected to open next week. Most of these early summits are to avoid the inevitable traffic jams of the main rush that is yet to come.
Finally, if you want to know what kind of thought and planning goes into finding the proper weather window, check out this blog post over at ApaSherpa.com. It is a brief, but interesting read with some good insights. The post also notes that Apa and Dawa Sherpa, who between them have 35 summits of the mountain, feel that the current winds are unacceptable for making a summit bid. Hmm… interest.
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