update #3: South summits. First from RMI:
Seth Waterfall is on the summit of Mount Everest. He has the summit all to himself. It is a bit chilly but he has plenty of oxygen and is feeling good! The rest of the team is at the Hilary step continuing up.
Then Dave Hahn and Leif Whittaker. Thus far another 12 summits. Their announcement:
Dave, Leif, Seth, Casey, Michael, Scott, Tendi, Tshering Dorjee, Dawa Jamba, Da Gyldjen, Nima Tenji, Pasang Temba. On top of the world. All are doing well.
Robert Hill and his team reached the South Summit and made this declaration:
Rob Hill has finished his Seven Summits dream! “I’ve gone as high as I ever will,” said a elated sounding Rob from the South Summit. “John and I have been sitting here for the past 30 minutes talking about all that we’ve done, all that IDEAS has managed to accomplish and all that this 7Summit campaign has done for people fighting inflammatory bowel diseases and living with an ostomy. Even though my Everest summit sits several hundred meters below the true summit, I can hold my head high with pride. I will come home safe to my family and loved ones. I don’t have the energy to continue. The hours I spent in the South Col drained me of everything, I’ve given it my all, my and I am happy to be here with my good friends and climbing partners. Darrell is within spitting distance of the summit now along with our three Sherpas. John and I will sit here and bask in his glory as he, too, finishes his 7Summits dream today.
No word on the north at this point. Summit Climb, Duncan Chessell and, I think, Jamie McGuinness’s teams are all enroute.
Congratulations to all and a tip of the hat to Leif Whittaker.
update #2: Summit Climb reported bids by 10 members with 6 Sherpas currently underway. RMI and Dave Hahn, Leif Whittaker are all together and above the Balcony. They report clear skies and calm winds.
update #1: With fickle weather, teams debated if tonight was the night or not. But a few teams have left the South Col reporting acceptable winds. first out was Robert Hill’s group who left around 8 PM.
A few hours later, the RMI team departed. I like Mark Tucker from RMI’s thoughts as they left the South Col:
We have not been purposely holding out till the bitter end, I promise. You all deserve the final summit push. So lets bring it to you today and tonight. We sure hope that the old adage,” good things come to those who wait”, comes true.
But Dave Hahn saw it differently:
Hello, this is Dave and here we are at the South Col. The mountain showed this is not going to be easy for us. We were hoping we’d just waltz up in a perfectly forecasted weather window. Instead, the Himalaya showed a mind of its own. Sent a little unexpected snowstorm in on us. We’re sitting that out; it’s not the worst. Still, we certainly wanted better for our climb. Life’s not so bad for us here at the South Col, it’s just the tension of not knowing whether we’re gonna get to make good on our 2-month climb and ring the bell at the top. But if we get half a chance, we are gonna do that. So we’re keeping ourselves ready right now and keeping our spirits up. That’s the Everest game, that’s how we play it.
But then they made their final call and they are off as well:
Hi, it’s Michael Brown at the South Col of Mt. Everest. I’m here with First Ascent Guide Seth Waterfall. Next tent over has Leif Whittaker and Expedition Leader, Dave Hahn. And the next tent is guide Casey Grom and climber Scott Jones. It’s a little after 9:30, and about 11 o’clock we’re going to have our crampons on and we’re going to start walking uphill. We got a forecast yesterday that indicated there’d be a lot of wind; but, according to a forecast we’ve been trusting all along, the wind shouldn’t be too bad today. We’re going to go for it in about an hour and a half. We’ll try to stay in touch. Everybody here is pretty damn excited. So here we go.
No word from the few north teams. Look for more updates as they get near the summit around dawn Nepal time.
start of original post
With hundreds of climbers summitting over the past few days, only a few teams are left on both sides of Everest.
Sunday night was the most difficult of the season with high winds at times but steady snow through the night and day. Whiteout conditions were reported as well with a foot of new snow at the North Col.
At the South Col, RMI, Dave Hahn and Leif Whittaker and Robert Hill’s No Guts Know Glory teams lead by Canada West Mountain School’s John Furneaux are all looking to go up tonight.
Robert Hil reported some theft of oxygen bottles at the South Col but was able to replace them from teams who had already summitted. This is certainly bad but an occasional occurrence and happens more on the north than the south.
Robert said about tonight’s push:
During the day, the weather has cleared up enough to make a summit attempt a realistic option. Winds at the South Col remain light and the snowfall has stopped accumulating on the ground. The team plans to leave C4 at around 7:30 PM Everest time. Two other well-established climbing expeditions will also leave the South Col at the same time. Rob, Darrell, John, Mingma, Dawa and Teng Dorje Sherpas will need all the help they can to compress the newly snowed trail.
“It’s going to be hard climbing tonight,” said John Furneaux, who reached the summit of Everest in 2008. “With fresh snow on the ground and few climbers ahead of us to pack it down, we’re going to have heavy feet. But I’m confident if the weather holds that we’ve done all the right things in camp four to prepare ourselves for the challenge ahead. I won’t guess when we’ll summit, but if we do, we will have worked hard for it. I know Darrell and Rob are climbing stronger this expedition than they ever have before. We have a really good chance to get this done.”
There are a few independent climbers as well.
On the north, still left are Summit Climb, Project Himalaya and Duncan Chessell’s teams. Chessell is supposed to be looking for the Mallory & Irvine camera and was counting on the low snow and high winds over the past few weeks to have cleared the area; however it looks like with the foot of new snow, the area could be obscured once again.
I will update this page throughout the day.