Apparently David Tait, with Himex, is going with the Sherpas and made this cryptic Tweet:
Im at c4 – going summit tonight. Hopstile as everg
This was his plan all along but had backed off due to an injury, weather and politics. He would summit early Friday, May 10. David Lianno is also on his summit push currently at C2 looking to summit on May 11, Nepal time.
Eric Simonson, IMG, provided this detailed update with:
IMG leaders Greg and Jangbu report that the rope fixing plan has been agreed upon with ten teams (IMG, AAI, JG, Global Adventure, Arun, Peak Freaks, Himex, Astrek, Miura, Seven Summits) working together to carry 13 loads to the Col (11 loads of rope with 2200 meters total and two loads of hardware).
Then we have 14 sherpas from 6 teams staying up on the Col to start fixing (IMG: Pasang Kami, Tseten Dorje, Damai Sarki; AAI: Thapke, Phura Kancha; Himex: Phurba Tashi, Nima Tenzing, Nawang Tenzing, Gyalzen Dorje; Astrek: Shera Gyalzen, Pemba Tshiri; Seven Summits: Lhakpa Thundu, Mingma Dorji; AC: Kami Rita).
Tomorrow we also have 19 IMG sherpas carrying more oxygen and supplies to the Col from Camp 2 to finish getting all our gear up there for summit bids, and we have another 22 IMG sherpas carrying up to Camp 2 from EBC to keep the logistics flowing up the hill to support these efforts up high. So… all the pieces are in place, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather for the next few days.
Russell Brice, Himex, added this:
We are right on schedule and the ropes on Mount Everest have been fixed all the way to the South Col at 7,900m while the ropes are only 150m short of the summit of Lhotse. The Himex Sherpas also used the low-wind-period and fixed the route on Nuptse all the way to 7,400m. The precise weather forecast from different sources, which the expedition leaders are sharing, enables us to make the work of the Sherpas as safe as possible.
On the north, there is also progress. Climbing with Altitude Junkies, Edita Nichols‘ home team relayed this update for lines on that side:
Their Sherpas, that are carrying loads to camp 3, spotted the Tibet team fixing ropes. It looks like there will be fixed rope all the way to the north summit by this evening or tomorrow. This is very important because now they can plan to go up once the weather is cooperative. They are waiting for the “China winds” which are warm winds that come from over the mainland. If all goes well (again weather dependant), they could be standing on the summit of Mount Everest in one week from today!
Arnold Coster, guide of Summit Climb says he is looking at May 16-8 for their summit bid. Posted as general location updates you can follow climbers from Brazil and India. Spaniard Carlos Pauner is ready for his summit push. He is looking to complete climbing all 14 of the 8,000 meter mountains without using supplemental oxygen. He is on the South side.
This is an update on various climbers with Asian Trekking:
Carlos Canellas, Carlos Santallena, Anita and Ramlal went down for rest today. Rodrigo and Joel will leave tomorrow and join the Carlos. Horacio Cunati went to C2 today and will be back after tagging C3. Douglas is at C2 after sleeping at C3 and will be back tomorrow. Rest of us are in BC. Arunima and Susen are in good health resting in BC and short day hikes to near by places to stay fit. No intention of going down the valley for rest. They will try to attempt in the first window which may not seem likely before 15 May as of now.
With climbers back from the high rotations, they are taking time to update blogs. While waiting for the weather window, climbers have a lot of time on their hands to think about what they have done and what is ahead of them. This perspective encourages very introspective posts.
Dave Mauro, with IMG, has written an excellent series of short updates tracing his climb to C3 and back. He shares the experience of seeing death on the mountain and his own struggles. It is the Blog of the Day. These are excerpts, please read his entire post.
Myself and another team member set out with our Sherpas for camp 2. I could see direct sunlight slowly working its way down the side of Nuptse, staging a soft landing on the gaining valley floor. At some point I left the other team member behind and it was just Mingma and I. I could see the tents of camp 2 an hour and a half up the valley, but now the over-exertion of the ice fall came to collect and I “bonked”. I stopped in the trail and breathed hard for twenty chest-fulls. Feeling marginally better, I motioned to Mingma that we should continue on. 100 steps later I had to stop and breath again. “I’m sorry, MIngma” I apologized. “I just can’t catch my breath.” “It’s OK,” he offered, “we go slow.” I continued to deteriorate, only able to go 80 steps, then 60, and so on before needing to rest and breath hard. We straggled into camp 2 six and a half hours after leaving EBC. I am unsure by what hidden strength I managed the last quarter mile.
and this excerpt:
We were only 20 minutes up the face when Mingma stopped to listen to his radio. “Sherpa sick,” he said to me with concern. He said one of the Sherpas above us at camp three had gotten up, dressed, eaten some breakfast, but then said he felt dizzy. The Sherpa vomited, then went to lay down in his tent. A camp Physician was patched onto the line and I could hear her instructing the people at camp three to administer Niphedipine and place the Sherpa on bottled oxygen. We continued our climb upward.
Mingma stopped again ten minutes later and turned to me. “Sherpa died,” he said pointing at his radio. He also told me this Sherpa was his brother in-law. We would later learn that two team members had worked frantically to save the man’s life and would later descend, traumatized by what had happened. This Sherpa was a longtime veteran of IMG and had spent much time higher than camp 3 on Everest. Theories evolved, none of which could be conclusively proven, but the available symptoms suggested the victim had contracted High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) which then progressed quite quickly to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). I told Mingma how sorry I was for his loss and suggested we should turn around and go back to camp 2, but he insisted we continue up. I believe this was because he felt an obligation to get to the body as soon as possible so he could make certain proper Buddhist traditions were observed. Our climb to camp 3 was called off 1,000 vertical feet short of the camp. Mingma continued up. I was assigned another Sherpa to lead me back down. A team of Sherpas lowered the body down the Lohtse face, where a helicopter picked up Mingma and his deceased brother in-law, transporting them to their home village of Phortse. IMG located the man’s parents in another village and had a helicopter take them to Phortse as well.
The doctors at EverestEr in Base Camp believe DaRita Sherpa died from sudden cardiac or cerebral event and was not altitude related.
Javi Clayton, with Altitude Junkies, has an extensive post on his plans for the North. He goes into details on those climbers attempting to summit without supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. This is very common on the north side. Sadly, often these attempts end up poorly.
The military style programs we are observing this year on the North Ridge Route include spending several nights at Camp 1 or even Camp 2, with a crazy number of rotations, 3 or 4. Long and extenuating treks to the neighborhood peaks at BC, or regular walks from ABC to Crampon Point (6500m) are also included to burn out all energy accumulated before starting this trip. Some teams are having poor diets both at BC and ABC, carbohydrates based (i.e. cheap rice and noodles), and at this point we can see many climbers abandoning the expedition with weak physical and mental conditions. We estimate a 15% or climbers have already left the expedition on the North Side due to these unfavorable conditions, two of them evacuated with severe illness.
Dan Branham with Berg Adventures, made this comment on weight loss:
The atrophy that takes place at higher altitude, with most climbers losing significant amounts of muscle, is at least temporarily halted by going lower. While fat is the energy storage tissue at sea level, unfortunately muscle is selectively broken down by your body at high altitudes for energy. This results in dramatic weight loss from loss of muscle. I do not think this Everest diet and exercise plan is ever going to go main stream for this reason.
It is common for almost everyone to loose weight while climbing these big mountains, women tend to lose less than men. A very loose rule of thumb is that if you loose more than 10% of your body weight, you probably will not be able to summit since it saps your strength.
On a lighter topic, Bob Kerr, climbing with Adventure Peaks, is studying how much cosmic radiation climbers are exposed to while climbing Everest. His blog posts is, um, different, today:
The Instadose v2.1 is electronic and in case the extreme altitude is too much for this device, which I hope it isn’t, I have got a Genesis Ultra TLD with me. This unit is completely passive with no electronics. The lithium fluoride chips inside the badge will allow an assessment of the photon and lower energy neutron total dose received to be made when the badge is sent off to California for processing (along with it’s associated background control badge which is in the UK at sea level).
Russell Brice, Himex, has posted his view on the fight. An item of new information is that one of the rope fixing Sherpas had his radio keyed, meaning it was transmitting on the general frequency used by all teams. This enabled everyone on the mountain to hear every word that was said on the Lhotse Face. Most Base Camps have large antennas allowing them to hear radio transmissions from anywhere on the mountain.
If you are bored with Everest, early season climbs are now starting on Mt. McKinley, aka Denali. Also, there is still a lot of action going on the other Himalayan Peaks
Memories are Everything