Everest Summits in Mixed Weather Forecasts

Everest summit on May 13 from PumoriA big part of climbing Everest is the weather. Last week we saw Kami and I caught in an unexpected wind storm on the Lhotse Face at Camp 3. Well last night there was a series of events that made our heads swim here at Base Camp.

Multiple teams had positioned themselves for a summit push starting around 9:00PM from the South Col or Camp 4. The winds had picked up as they climbed from Camp 3 and further the revised weather forecast had them gusting to over 50 m.p.h. Normally the highest acceptable is in the high 20’s. So team after team sat tight wondering if the winds would calm or just create a difficult night for them at the South Col before returning to C2 or lower the following morning.

One team, Himex, ment did re in the midst of the high winds and found their down climb complicated by a collapse of the Icefall on the route. No one was hurt but part of their team had to return up to C1 while the others came back to BC.  For those at the Col, shop around 10:00PM, the wind suddenly calmed. Climbers stuck their noses out to inspect the sky. Base Camp Managers called their weather forecasters around the world and, well, they went for it!

This morning, May 13, there were multiple summits in calm conditions. The picture attached to this dispatch, I took from Camp 1 on Pumori at 8:37AM. While you cannot see them, climbers were standing on top of the world in this picture. It shows a small wisp of wind but nothing serious. It was encouraging to hear the Sherpas in the IMG radio excitedly call into BC with each summit. I believe a total of 10 IMG members, guides and Sherpa summited this morning and more from other teams such as Peak Freaks and Adventure Consultants. Congratulations to all for some gutsy decisions.

Another IMG group of 5 are at the South Col for their summit bid tonight as are several from other teams. So the bids continue. Remember it is not simple matter of saying I will leave BC for my bid because you have to climb to Camp 2, rest, then climb to C3, the South and then make your bid; overall a minimum of 4 days. See the IMG site for all the names.

I will leave BC for my summit bid in a few days and post a detailed dispatch before I leave. Meanwhile I am continuing to rest in Base Camp, make short day climbs to 19,000′ on nearby hills such as Pumori and focusing on health, hydration and maintaining my weight. All systems ready to go!

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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12 thoughts on “Everest Summits in Mixed Weather Forecasts

  1. I’m doing my sun dance for you Alan, so you get a nice weather window to summit.

    Best of luck,
    Ken (aka Sun Man)

  2. Thank you so much for the updates!!!! Im glad you are feeling o.k and hopefully the weather will cooperate and you and the others will get to Summit!!!!
    Climb on!!

  3. I’m really enjoying your honest accounts, in contrast to the bullish dispatches written by most expedition teams. This one nicely encapsulates the frustrations of retreating in the face of unpromising weather forecasts, instead of pushing on. It’s something everyone experiences from time to time on expeditions if you do enough of them. There’s times I’ve thought I’m being timid when this happens, but your post highlights that it can happen to the best of us, and how much it’s all down to luck. Best of luck and fingers crossed for another weather window very soon!

  4. Hi Alan,

    Enjoying your dispatches. David Tait has understandably written a scathing attack on his teams decision to call off his and other Himex members summit bids at Camp 3. David makes some excellent points, such as Russell ordering they return through the Icefall at the dangerous time of 2.00pm when the whole ethos of the Himex expedition was to avoid the Icefall at all costs as much as possible, (hence the acclimatisation schedule on Lobuche) due to the danger. It collapsed as they were descending.

    Rubbing salt in the wound will be that many climbers did eventually summitted on the 14th in reasonable conditions, the day Himex were also due to summit before being ordered to retreat.

    It will not make pleasant reading for Russell….Read it here.


  5. Alan,
    God speed and safety to you, Jay and Mirjam for your summit. Please let Jay know that we at NHC are very proud of his accomplishments and follow his journey closely. Prayers for a continued safe journey!

  6. Anticipating your summit bid Alan..best of luck and strength to see you to the top!

  7. Best of luck for your summit push. Have been following closely with great interest as will be there next year.

  8. Alan…super job and just keep eating, get down to Gorak Shep for one of those nice pizzas and change up with a nice short hike to “down-town” base camp. Great photo of when the hybrid team was on top and the first classic team pulling into C4. That window will be there for you….”good things happend to those who wait!” Hang tough and you will be on your way up the hill soon.
    “One day at a time…one step at a time.”


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