It has been an interesting week on the world’s highest mountain, to say the least. All week long the teams have been moving up the mountain, and attempting to position themselves for an opportunity to take advantage of a possible weather window that could arrive on Sunday. There are conflicting reports as to when, or even if, that window will open, and for how long, but right now, it looks like climbers will be at the South Col tomorrow, hoping to go for the summit on Sunday.
Today a number of teams moved up to Camp 3 in anticipation of the move to C4 tomorrow. They report that high winds are still buffeting the mountain. Jaime Clarke of the Hansebrands Climb With Us Team sent out a tweet earlier today saying that the climb to C3 took several hours longer than expected thanks to those winds, and surprisingly cold temperatures. They did make it to their destination however, and just in time for a hot cup of tea it seems.
The race to the summit that we’ve heard mentioned a few times these past few days seems to be off, at least for now. You may recall that two women, Carina Raiha and Anne-Mari Hyryläinen were both vying to become the first woman from Finland to tag the summit, and each was positioning themselves to make a run at the top. Well, it seems that discretion is the better part of valor, as the Altitude Junkies have announced that they are uneasy about the high winds, and feel they will not dissipate over the weekend, so they have elected to bring Anne-Mari back down the mountain out of concern for her safety. Carina, who is climbing with the Peak Freaks, remains at C3, waiting for the window to open. If it does, she’s likely to stand on top, and win this “race”, but if it doesn’t she’ll go back down as well, and await a second, longer window, which is due next week.
While all of these teams on the South Side scramble for position, on the North there is very little to report. We know that a large Chinese team set out for the upper portion of the mountain a few days back, presumably to fix the lines to the summit, but whether or not that work has been completed remains to be seen. Alan Arnette is reporting in his excellent Everest Blog that David Liano has set off on his summit bid, and it is likely that other climbers are following, hoping to take advantage of this same weather window that the South-Siders are eyeing. If the lines are not set as of yet, those climbers will have a slow slog to the top to say the least.
Finally, the First Ascent Team is one of the top teams that is leading the way up the mountain these past few days. They arrived at Camp 3 yesterday and plan on resting there until tomorrow, when they’ll go to C4. After that, Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton plan on standing on the summit, provided the weather cooperates. Check out the video below in which Melissa discusses their final acclimatization rotation.
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