I am extremely grateful that our expedition leaders moved swiftly when the Chinese announced restrictions on the north side and secured permits and logistics support on the south as a backup for our team. Also, our entire team including our Nepali Sherpas have agreed to make the switch thus we will be climbing together.
I have mixed feelings but am very excited that our climb will still take place and I will have the opportunity to use my climb to further raise awareness and money for Alzheimer's research. I am still switching my mindset from visualizing climbing the 2nd Step to climbing the Hillary Step!
But more to the point is the turmoil that is happening in Tibet right now and the impact on all involved.
I understand that several major expeditions have canceled their north side climbs and will reschedule for 2009 thus not moving to the south. This will relieve some of the anticipated crowding that could have happened if everyone had gone south.
There continues to be mixed messages. Even today there are various reports that there are not now and never have been any restrictions for south side climbers. Nepal is in the midst of a change of government so some confusion is not unexpected. However, I have grown to respect and trust the Nepalese and will leave for Nepal with that trust in tact.
The acclimatization schedule will be similar to my previous south climbs even with any limited restrictions. Remember that the jet stream does not usually move away from Everest until the second half of May and the average summit date in recent years has been on or after May 15th.
This is a hard goal I have set for myself between the fund raising and the mountain climbing. The recent events have added to the degree of difficulty. But this is not impossible, it may just be very, very hard. I would encourage everyone out there with a dream, a vision or a goal not to give up when times get tough.
I will post more as new information becomes available but for now, I need to go pack!