“Now we wait.”
That begins a prepared update from Ted via sat phone to Aspen at 9:34 p.m. Monday.
“Nine days ago, we arrived to Ama Dablam base camp with near perfect weather. We made three trips with loads of gear and food to Camp 1, at 19,000 feet. After spending two uncomfortable nights there, we climbed up to Camp 2, familiarizing ourselves with all of the technical rock pitches, including a 5.8 headwall at 20,000 feet.”
“We’re now back in base camp resting. Our acclimatization is complete and everything to this point has gone as planned. What happens going forward is less certain. The late monsoons left huge amounts of snow up high and have prevented all expeditions thus far from reaching the summit. Combined with some thunderous breaks of the Dablam (the Hanging Snowfield), many are calling the mountain unclimbable.”
“We aren’t so keen to throw in the towel. With our high camp in place, Adrian and some others, including the guides from IMG and Adventure Consultants, will venture up tomorrow to take a closer look. If everything looks good, Christy, Dirk and I, and our new friends from Vermont, will be making a push for the summit with the lead Sherpa team on Halloween morning.”
• Oct. 29 (tomorrow): To Camp 1, spend night
• Oct. 30: To Camp “2.7,” spend night
• Oct. 31: Summit Morn, and back down to Camp 1
Vermont crew, mountain-background military dudes: Bill Pelkey; Alex Sargent (Dav’s sister’s husband’s brother, and military climbing trainer), Alan Chisolm; Rob Niles.
Summit Crew: Vermont crew, plus lead-Sherpa Phurba Tashi and two more Sherpa (“I don’t think they know who they are yet”), plus Christy, Dirk and Ted.
• “It looks like the Dablam has cleaned off. Camp 3 is off limits. So we’re actually in what we’re calling ‘2.7’ because Camp 3 is a mess with debris right now. … The Dablam hasn’t shed anything in more than a week so it seems like it’s done its business and it’s stable. But it has also wiped off a lot of snow above, to where it’s ice, maybe 50 or 55 degrees. Above the Dablam it’s still fluted with snow.”
• A party of the “three Romanians” attempted the summit most recently, on Oct. 23. “They passed Adrian on the way as he was putting in Camp 2.7 with the Sherpas. They told him, ‘Either we go to the summit or we die.’ It turns out they aborted instead, and spent the night in our tents. … You might see something about them on Explorers web. … But they made it high and said it was cold and hard. And they’ve made it further than anyone this season. Now, everyone’s waiting for us to fix the ropes to the top–the only thing not fixed right now is Camp 3 and above.”
–posted by Tim Mutrie