The climbers have spent another day jockeying for position on the world’s tallest mountain. The teams that missed out on last week’s weather window are now getting into place to take advantage of the next one, which forecasts indicate will open tomorrow. As of now, most of them are either in Camp 2 or Camp 3 with an eye on summiting on Friday or Saturday.
Included amongst the commercial teams that are now working their way into position are the IMG and Mountain Trip squads. The IMG climbers report cool temperatures on their hike up the mountain, which comes as quite a relief considering the Western Cwm is well known for becoming quite hot in the afternoon sun. They’ll stay in C2 today for a rest day before proceeding up to C3 tomorrow. The Mountain Trip group is already in C3 however and will head up to C4 tomorrow, where some of the team will split off and head towards the summit of Lhotse. They report improving weather conditions and few climbers on the mountain, which means less chance of a traffic jam this time around.
Also in Camp 3 at the moment is Kenton Cool, who is on his way up to the top for the tenth time of his illustrious career. Yesterday Kenton posed a brief video of his view from C3, which judging from the excitement in his voice, never get old. You’ll find that video at the end of this post. Judging from his track record, I would be willing to bet that Kenton will be amongst the first to summit once this weather window opens in a couple of days. (Update: I barely had this posted when we received word that Kenton is now in C4. Definitely ready for that dash to the summit!)
Joining Kenton at C3 today is Dave Hahn and the RMI squad. They took a rest day at Camp 2 yesterday, where they ate, hydrated and prepared to move up. Dave is going for his 14th summit of Everest, the most of any non-Sherpa, and he reports that everyone is in good spirits and feeling good heading into the final summit push.
Simone Moro is also on the move, looking to summit Everest without oxygen. No word on whether or not he still intends to make an attempt on Lhotse as well, but my guess is that he’ll wait and see what the mountain, and the weather, allow him to do in the next few days.
Ueli Steck hasn’t posted a full report on his Everest without oxygen climb from last weekend, but he has shared some great photos. Check out his gallery of shots by clicking here. All of the images are quite striking and I love the one that shows all the oxygen bottles stacked up and ready to be used.
Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to know what it is like to climb from the North Side then you’ll want to read Mark Horrell’s first hand account of his recent summit. He shares some scary details of what it is like high on the North Ridge, including a knife edge approach to the summit, with the trail barely the width of a boot. On either side is a 3000 meter (9842 ft) drop that is impossible to ignore under the best of conditions. It is quite a good read.
Tomorrow should give us a good indication of how wide this weather window will be and what conditions will be liking heading into the weekend. It appears that everything is on schedule on both the North and South Sides and that this will indeed be the final summit wave for 2012.
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