Everest 2010: North Side Summit!

Over the past week or so, we’ve all been a bit fixated on the South Side of Everest, where a projected weather window caused a flurry of activity. That window opened as some predicted, giving the teams that reached the summit yesterday the opportunity they had been waiting for, and as a result, as many as 60 people were able to complete their climbs and stand at the highest point on the planet.

But on the North Side, things have been a lot different. Poor weather hampered the ability of the combined Chinese-Tibetan team to fix the ropes to the summit, keeping climbers lower on the mountain, and preventing anyone from going higher than Camp 3. Patience was the name of the game, and it looks like that patience will finally be rewarded. Over the weekend, the fixed ropes were finally completed, which means when the weather cooperates, teams will finally get their chance from the Tibetan side of the mountain too.

One climber already took advantage of the new ropes being set down, and avoided the inevitable traffic jams, by having a go at the summit yesterday. American Julio Bird, who is climbing as part of the World Records Expeditions and Treks Team, set out from Camp 2, along with several Sherpas, and after 14 hours of climbing, reached the summit, topping out at 7 AM local time. He was already back in Camp 2 later in the day, and is expected back in Base Camp today. Congrats to Jose.

High winds returned to both sides of the mountain yesterday afternoon, effectively cutting off any further summit bids for now. But a number of the larger commercial teams, such as Alpine Ascents and Himex are gearing up for the next round of summit bids, which is expected to come this weekend.

Likewise, teams on the North Side of the mountain are now eying that same time frame to make their first serious attempts on the mountain too, including 13-year old Jordan Romero, who was in Advanced Base Camp the last time we had an update from his team. Presumably he is still there, resting, and waiting for the climb to begin.

More updates soon I’m sure. It is going to be a busy week in the Himalaya.

Kraig Becker

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