Everest 2012: Another Season Nearly Done

towards south summit

While I was enjoying a long weekend here the States, the 2012 climbing season on Everest wound to a halt. On Saturday the final teams made their last summit bids as the good weather conditions provided them with an ideal window for topping out. While the final push mostly went as expected, there are certainly a few expeditions that are worth nothing.

As expected, the RMI team reached the summit on Saturday led by Dave Hahn and Melissa Arnot. It was a milestone for both of those talented climbers as Dave now has 14 successful Everest climbs under his belt and Melissa has four of her own. The group descended safely to Base Camp on Sunday and are now preparing to trek back down the Khumbu Valley. Congrats to Dave, Melissa and the entire RMI team for a job well done.

Climber Mkie Moniz pulled off a double-summit over the weekend, first topping out on Everest and then Lhotse the next day. After reaching the top of the world’s highest peak, he descended to Camp 4, rested for a short time, then skirted over to Lhotse and managed to knock it off in short order as well. Climbing two 8000 meter peaks in a season is always an impressive feat, doing it in less than 24 hours is incredible. Congratulations to Mike on such an impressive display of strength and endurance. Get home safe!

Unfortunately Chad Kellogg was unable to complete his speed attempt on Everest. While he hasn’t sent a dispatch yet with details, we do know that he turned back at about 8600 meters. He was hoping to climb without oxygen and set a new speed mark for going from Base Camp to the Summit and back, but apparently ran into some issues along the way. His sponsor, Outdoor Research, sent the following tweet on Saturday: “8600m. Things werent going well. Chad made tough decision to turn back. Is at S Col now. Kudos on great effort & a brave decision.” I’m sure we’ll hear more once Chad has the chance to collect his thoughts.

Alan Arnette is reporting that the team of female climbers from the Indian Army managed to put several of its members on top as well. The group was climbing without supplemental oxygen, which was a first for the squad. Alan also estimates that there have been roughly 527 summits this year through the May 26th push. That number isn’t likely to go up substantially, although there are a few climbers still on Everest.

That said, the season is nearly over and in the books. It has been an interesting one to say the least and I doubt we’ve heard the last of some of the stories we followed closely this season. By now, Base Camp on both sides of the mountain is nearly deserted and the climbers are starting to make their way back to Kathmandu and eventually home. Lets hope they all make it back safely and enjoy a great meal at the Rum Doodle before their adventure is done.

Kraig Becker