Following the heavy snowstorms that Everest this past weekend, many of the teams spent the early part of the week either bedded down in Base Camp or trying valiantly to descend back to that point from either Camp 1 or 2. Reports indicate that more than a meter of snow fell on the area around C1, which has made it difficult to break trail or for the Sherpas to continue their efforts to fix ropes. But the skies have reportedly cleared – at least for now – and the climbers are once again on the move.
With a bit of a lull in the weather, and a forecast that calls for slightly improved conditions in the days ahead, the plan now is for the rope fixing team, comprised of the top Sherpas from a number of the larger squads, to get back to setting the lines above Camp 2. The current schedule says that they’ll finish their work on the Lhotse Face this coming weekend or next Monday at the latest. That will allow the climbers to begin heading up to Camp 3 for the first time as they continue their acclimatization efforts. It also means the Sherpas are on pace to fix the ropes to Camp 4 and the summit sometime during the first week of May, which would be right on schedule with what we’ve seen in the past few years. After that, the teams will finish their final rotations and watch the skies for their first summit pushes of the year, sometime around mid-May.
Amongst the those who are sending climbers up to Camp 1 today are the IMG squad, who are rotating their second team up the mountain, as well as the Adventure Consultants and Jagged Globe, both of whom are starting their first rotations. Meanwhile, RMI and the Peak Freaks are staying put in BC having already competed their first acclimatization round. They’ll rest and regain their strength before starting off once again in a few days. I’m sure they’ll want to head up to Camp 3 once it is accessible early next week.
With Billi Bierling down for the count with a case of altitude sickness, there hasn’t been much news out of the Himex camp. But fortunately David Tait is not only climbing with that team but doing an excellent job of sharing his experiences. He was amongst the climbers who went up to spend some time at Camp 1 last weekend and even climbed high enough to “tag” C2 before the weather turned really nasty and he had to descend back to BC. He does his usual good job of descriptively sharing the account of his adventure, which in this case was a harrowing descent in snowy conditions. You know the situation is bad when even the Sherpas take pause to consider which way to go down.
Similarly, Melissa Arnot shared a nice account of her first rotation, which she seems to have completed just as the heavier snows were setting in. She’s no stranger to the mountain having summited it four times in the past, so she knows what needs to be done to get her up to the top for a fifth time.
Chad Kellogg has also posted a detailed report of his last couple of days trekking into BC and then continuing all the way up to Camp 2. All of that took place last week, prior to the heavy snows. His was to head back up the mountain yesterday and continue his acclimatization while also fixing ropes on the Lhotse Face to Camp 3.
On the North Side, things seem to be proceeding very well. The Altitude Junkies have moved their entire team up to Advanced Base Camp as part of their acclimatization process. Their Sherpa teams have been busy carrying bottled oxygen up to the North Col as well as they prepare for the team’s arrival at that point further down the line. The climbers hope to go higher tomorrow to tag the Col itself, before descending back to ABC, but high winds are predicted, which could stymie those efforts.
Finally, Simone Moro and Ueli Steck are expected to arrive back in BC tomorrow after spending some days in Camp 2 and even attempting to move over to the West Ridge. While they still aren’t talking much about their intended route up the mountain, it seems that they are planning to do something along the seldom visited West Ridge, which seems fitting for the 50th anniversary of that route.
More to come soon.