Everest 2012: Nat Geo Team Abandons West Ridge, Everyone Else On Schedule

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The waiting game continues on Everest today, where the early teams have gotten themselves into position to have a go at the summit, provided the weather window opens on schedule tomorrow. That means that most of the teams are in Camp 2 on the South Side and ABC on the North, but will likely be moving up today and tomorrow, as they wait for the winds to die down and the ropes to be fixed to the top.

The biggest news today is that the National Geographic/North Face team has abandon their attempt on the West Ridge. Conditions were simply too dangerous for the team to attempt to go up that route and apparently the Hornbein Couloir was particularly precarious. The dry and windy conditions on Everest this season have left little snow and ice on the mountain, and that has made the climbing all the more dangerous. The team will now turn its focus over to the regular South Col route, which certain members were already going to try anyway. Conrad Anker is working to get his name added to a climbing permit so he can go up that route with the rest of the team once the summit push begins.

We haven’t heard much from Simone Moro so far this season, but he is still planning on attempting an Everest-Lhotse double-summit without descending. He tells Planet Mountain that he will begin that climb on the 23rd or 24th of the month, which will put him well after the big rush that will come this weekend. Simone is no doubt looking to avoid the traffic jams, although he’ll also have to watch the weather. There are some forecasts that seem to indicate that this could be a narrow window.

The remaining teams are now spread out from BC up to Camp 3, depending on their eagerness to get to the top. The more patient squads are keeping a close eye on the weather and biding their time, but others are hoping to be in the right spot at the right time, so they can dash to the summit during this break in the winds. On Everest you never know how many opportunities you’re going to get at the summit and it is important to be ready to take advantage of them when they come.

Things should be a lot clearer tomorrow, but it’s looking like Friday and Saturday will be very busy days.

Kraig Becker