There has been a decided change in the tone of the dispatches from Everest today as the teams are now have a solid idea of when they’ll be going to the summit. Better yet, most are already on the move and getting into position, for what now looks like a series of summit pushes that will begin this weekend.
Peak Freaks team leader Tim Rippel lays out the plans on the South Side. He reports that his climbers moved up to Camp 2 yesterday and the are likely still there today. The winds remain high but are expected to dissipate in the next few days. If the forecasts hold true, rope fixing to the summit will likely be complete by Thursday, which could pave the way for the first teams to go up as early as Friday. Tim says that the weather reports seem to currently indicate that this will be a wide window, which means there will be plenty of time for all the teams to get their turn on top. He also reported that the trip through the Icefall yesterday was safe and secure, with few problems. That’s good news for those about to follow behind.
Eric Simonson with IMG is reporting nearly the exact same thing. Their squad is taking a rest day in Camp 2 today as well and the Sherpas responsible for opening the route are there prepping for the final steps. The winds should die down tomorrow and the first summits of the season should take place on Thursday when the fixing team reaches the summit. Everyone seems to be in good spirits and are simply waiting for their chance.
Similarly, the Altitude Junkies are reporting in from the North Side and say that their team has all moved to Advanced Base Camp. The report that the fixing teams on that side of the mountain are expecting to top out around the 17th as well, and that the first commercial squads will be hitting the summit by the end of the week too. After spending the day in ABC today, they’ll likely head up to North Col tomorrow and be in position by Friday.
On the West Ridge, things are bit more unsettled. You may recall that there are two teams attempting that route this year, one from Nat Geo and Northface and the other sponsored by Eddie Bauer. Both of those squads are weighing their options at the moment and evaluating the route, which doesn’t appear to be in the best of conditions. Hopefully they’ll still take a crack at it, but it is possible that no one will go up the West Ridge this season.
Finally, Alan Arnette, who continues to have the best coverage of Everest this season bar none, is reporting that a Chilean team on the South Side is moving to climb the mountain before the ropes are fixed to the summit. As you can imagine, that is a dangerous proposition but apparently the team feels that this is a very short weather window and that it may be the only one of the season, so they’re willing to take the risk. Lets hope that they don’t climb if conditions are not right and that they keep everything in perspective.
Good luck to everyone heading up the mountain on either side. The next few days are going to be very interesting to say the least.
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