Everest 2010: The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

everest west view
For most of the teams on South Side of Everest, the acclimatization process is done and they are resting in Base Camp or further down the Khumbu Valley. Team leaders are keeping a keen eye on the weather at the moment, and they are weighing their options for when it’ll be the best time to head up the mountain, and begin their summit pushes. There are some indications that those pushes are likely to begin later this week.

Jamie Clark, team leader for the Hanesbrands sponsored Climb With Us Team sent a tweet out from his Twitter account earlier today simply saying: “We’re on! Departing for Summit push in 8hrs. Looking for window on 15/16th.” That statements hold with some of the time frames we were hearing last week of teams setting out on the 13th for the summit, with an eye on topping out late this week or early next.

Various teams, including the Altitude Junkies and the Alpine Ascents Team are being a bit more cautious with their approach. The reports are that the winds are quite high on Everest at the moment, so these teams are waiting for those winds to die down, and have a 3-4 day weather window open before they begin their push. The Alpine Ascents climbers are back down the valley, breathing in the thicker air and eating plenty of good food while they wait for their turn, while the Altitude Junkies are in BC, and watching the weather closely.

In addition to the weather, the Peak Freaks are dealing with some other interesting conditions. While they were happy to welcome a team of trekkers to Base Camp, they had a completely different, and entirely unwelcome visitor, show up at their camp as well. It seems that a dead body, undoubtably from a former climber, has begun peeking out from the ice near where they are staying. They’ve alerted local authorities, and placed a tarp over the body, while they wait for a team of Sherpas to come claim it. Ah… the perils of Everest.

While these large commercial teams sit and wait for the proper weather window, Simone Moro and Denis Urubko, two of the top climbers in the world, are weighing their options for their cilmb. ExWeb is reporting that the duo are hoping to open a new route on Lhotse, and if they are successful there, and feeling strong, they may go after their long planned Lhotse-Everest traverse. If they are feeling strong and healthy, the duo would proceed from the summit of Lhotse across the saddle between the two mountains and make an attempt on Everest in the same go. The traverse has never been done before and would be a pretty epic accomplishment. These two would most likely want to make this attempt ahead of the main crowds, so don’t be surprised if they don’t get underway in the next day or two as well.

Finally, Alan Arnette has some great insights into what is going on inside the minds of the climbers in BC at the moment, with updates from a number of climbers on the mountain. Basically, at the moment, they are all resting, waiting, and watching the skies.

Alan also says that we shouldn’t be surprised if there are summits from the North Side this week, despite the fact that the ropes are not fixed all the way to the top yet. He notes that there are a number of experienced climbers on that side of the mountain, and they may get tired of waiting, and just make a push on their own. Bad weather have stalled out the rope fixing process on that side of Everest, and as a result, the teams have had to be even more patient than usual.

Stay tuned. It’s bound to be a busy and exciting week on the tallest mountain on the planet.

Kraig Becker