Everest 2012: The Window Is Open

Everest kalapatthar crop

For more than a week now we’ve been hearing predictions that the weather would change for the better on the 17th of the month and that the winds would die down at last. Those forecasts have proved to be accurate and as a result, the Sherpa fixing teams are now on their way to the summit and paving the way for everyone else to follow. It now seems clear that we’ll have our first summits of the season today and that the commercial teams will start to follow behind tomorrow.

Peak Freaks team leader Tim Rippel is reporting that all is a go for his squad and that there is a great air of cooperation with all the teams as they schedule their summit bids with one another. This will help to alleviate some of the traffic jams up high and hopefully will make the experience better for all involved. The weather window appears to be open at least through the weekend, which means if everyone stays to schedule and does what they should, they’ll all get a shot at the top.

Similarly, Eric Simonson checked in with the IMG team and he says that Camp 2 is abuzz with activity right now. Everyone has been waiting around for so long, they’re now eager to get climbing and burn off some of the nervous energy. Eric says that winds are very low up above the Col and it is a “perfect day,” which is a sure sign for everyone to move up and to get into position.

The Adventure Consultants are reporting no wind on the mountain as well, which means their team was free to proceed up to Camp 3 today as planned. They’re all reportedly in place and resting there now, with plans of going up to C4 tomorrow for a brief stop over before their summit bid begins.

Over on the North Side things are proceeding just as smoothly and quickly. The Altitude Junkies moved up to a higher than normal Camp 2 earlier today and will have a short hike up to C3 tomorrow. From there they’ll rest and prepare for the final push, looking to top out on Saturday.

The 7 Summits Club are on a similar schedule although they’ve now broken their team into two groups, the first of which will go to the summit on Saturday as well, with the second team eyeing Sunday as their summit day. In their latest dispatch the team reports that nearly everyone on the North Side of Everest plans to summit this weekend.

Among those planning to head up is Bill Burke, who now plans to summit on Saturday as well. The 70-year old still has some plans to try a double summit, but it’ll be tough going for him to get up and down on the North Side then return to Nepal and give it a go on the South, particularly if the weather window is a narrow one. Bill reports (via wife Sharon) that it was very long and draining climb up to ABC yesterday, but presumably he has moved up to Camp 2 to day in order to be ready for his final push as well.

The next few days are going to be incredibly busy but this is what we’ve all been waiting for. There will be a steady stream of climbers going to the top of the world over the next few days, and as long as the weather holds we’ll be getting summit reports. Once again, good luck to everyone headed to the top. Climb safely!

Kraig Becker