Himalaya 2011: Alan Summits Everest, North Side Teams On Top Too!

280px Everest kalapatthar crop

As predicted last week, the weather window on Everest this past weekend was a good one, an many climbers went up to the summit. There are some indications that as many as 100 people stood on top on Friday and a similar number may have gone up on Saturday as well. One of the first to top out on Saturday was Alan Arnette, whose expedition we’ve been following closely for the entire season.

As regular readers of this blog know, Alan has been climbing Everest as the third leg of his 7 Summits for Alzheimer’s  campaign. Alan’s mom was afflicted with that horrible disease for eight years, and since her passing, he has dedicated his life to helping educate the public about it, while also raising funds for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Everest was the biggest hurdle to him reaching his goal, and the mountain had thwarted his efforts on three occasions in the past. So with all of that backstory and challenge, it was with a lot of emotion that he sent this audio dispatch from the summit a few days ago. He has also posted an excellent report of his climb that makes for a great read as well. You can find that report by clicking here.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Alan personally. I know exactly what this means to him and it is a gigantic step towards knocking off the Seven Summits and more importantly achieving his goals for spreading the word about Alzheimer’s as well. Listening to his dispatch from the summit brought a tear to my eyes on Friday night when I heard it, along with a swell of happiness for my friend. It has been a struggle, but on the fourth attempt, he finally stood on top of the world. Well done Alan!

On the North Side of the mountain, the climbers finally got the break they were looking for as well, and many took advantage of it by going up over the weekend too. Alan reported that there were three climbers from the North on the summit when he arrived, and they were apparently part of the 7 Summits Club team, who were amongst the first to top out. Expect a regular string of summits on the Tibetan side of the mountain this week, as it appears that many of the teams are in place to make bids on Thursday or Friday. Amongst them are Ueli Steck and Don Bowie, who are in Advanced Base Camp and are weighing their options on when to make their move.

Back on the South Side, it appears that Edurne Pasban and her team have backed off their summit bid, at least for now. She was hoping to make the summit without the use of oxygen, but the team abandoned their attempt in Camp 4 when two of the Sherpas developed respiratory issues and the winds picked up again on Saturday. They hope to have another go of it later this week.

I’m sure we’ll have more news from the mountain all week as reports come in about the climbs. The window is now coming to rapid close, as June is looming. I expect Base Camp on both sides of the mountain to be empty in another week and a half. But for now, there is still plenty of excitement in the Himalaya.

Kraig Becker