Just a short update from Everest today where we are starting to see signs of activity as the teams begin to prepare for their summit pushes at last. Although there is a light at the end of the tunnel for them, the season isn’t over just yet and there is still a lot of work to be done before they head home.
The weather remains an uncertain variable on Everest but that hasn’t stopped a number of teams from launching their first summit bids. Several of the larger squads were on the move yesterday and today to put themselves in a position to take advantage of a weather window that is predicted to open up at the end of the week. High winds have been battering the upper slopes of the mountain for the past several days, but the forecasts seem to indicate that those winds will die down by around Thursday or Friday. With that in mind, several squads, including two from IMG, moved into Camps 1 and 2 yesterday where they’re waiting to see if conditions improve.
The tropical storm that has been sitting in the Bay of Bengal has been upgraded to a cyclone, which means it has increased in intensity. Most of the forecasts have it shifting off to the east and making landfall in Bangladesh, but it is larger enough that it could brush against the Himalaya as well, bringing high winds and possibly snow or rain too. If that happens, the summit bids will be aborted and the teams will probably return to Base Camp to wait out the storm.
While many are eager to take advantage of the potential weather window, other teams are sitting tight in BC and waiting for a better opportunity to present itself. The RMI squad for instance is content to relax and let some of the crowds thin out before they head up. They know that they have a couple of weeks before the Monsoon arrives and that there will likely be a longer and more solid weather window once this current front moves through.
On the North Side of the mountain the Altitude Junkies are back in ABC after climbing up to the North Col as part of their acclimatization rotation. The weather has prevented them from getting in all the rotations they would have liked this spring, but they are currently feeling fit and ready for their attempt on the summit as well. Unfortunately, high winds pushed them back to Advanced Base Camp following their latest foray up the mountain. Those winds are now expected to stay in place into the weekend, which means that the AJ team are now looking at making their summit push sometime around May 20 or so.
We’re on schedule to get the first major summit push late this week, but the weather could still derail those plans. Believe it or not, things are proceeding about as you would expect right now and if the weather cooperates, we should see a large number of summits as early as Friday. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather improves and everyone gets up and down safely.
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