On what could have been the final push for 2010, many climbers summited from the south including a record 12th summit for Dave Hahn who was guiding Leif Whittaker. The weather cooperated for the teams however it was extremely cold at 18 below zero F. Once on the summit, the winds started to pick up so climbers hustled down as quickly as possible.
In addition to Hahn and Whittaker, mind climbing under the First Ascent/RMI banner, the rest of team made it to the top including Michael Brown topping out for his 5th time. They commented once back at Base Camp they thoroughly checked themselves for frostbite and thankfully found none.
In a bit of drama, Robert Hill with No Guts Know Glory, named due to Robert’s Crohn’s Disease, stopped at the South Col after spending two days at the South Col waiting for improved weather. His site Manager did an excellent job of keeping everyone informed throughout the climb and posted this emotional statement from Robert at the South Summit:
8:45 AM Everest: 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.
With Robert safe, his guide John Furneaux and climber Darrell Ainscough made a “quick” run from the South Summit to the true summit.
There were other teams on the South including the young new married Colorado couple Brandon and Kristine Chalk. They stopped an attempt the previous night due to blizzard conditions, stay at the Col and summited last night. Congratulations to them on their perseverance. They were climbing under a Henry Todd permit.
There was finally some information on the speed attempt by Chad Kellogg posted, not on their main site but as an answer on his sponsor’s Facebook page. It simply read:
Here’s the update: Chad is back at basecamp after being on track for the speed ascent, climbing to his high point in ~12hrs. Just below the Balcony, 40+ mph winds and stormy conditions turned him around for a ~7hr descent back to basecamp. Chad is resting for a couple days before making a second summit bid, though this climb will not be intended for setting a speed record. We wish Chad a strong climb and a solid weather window!
On the north side, Summit Club had 16 people attempting the summit but no word from them. Duncan Chessell and Jamie McGuiness were also on their summit bids but no word from them either. I will update this page once I receive any information.
Finally, the First Ascent site posted a teaser saying that Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton assisted in a rescue in the Icefall. There was a report of a Sherpa who was hit by a falling serac and broke an arm or leg but he was evacuated to Base camp.
I have heard of other rescues as well but thus far no details. To be clear, there has been one reported death, Sergei Duganov, on the south side this year, actually on Lhotse, another, Laszlo Varkonyi, on the north near the North Col and a third of a north climber, Tom Jørgensen, suffering from HACE who died a few days alter in a Tibetan village.
It looks like the weather is slowly deteriorating however there may still be a few small teams to summit from both sides. Once the camps are clear on the South, the Icefall Doctors will remove the ladders thus ending the season; this usually happens no later than June 1st. There is no such restriction on the North and summits can go as long as the weather holds.
update: Summit Climb reports 5 members and 4 Sherpas summited on the 25th in windy conditions. Duncan Chessell also reported summits of 8 climbers. he did not mention the Sherpas. They had already returned to the camp 3/2 levels. Congratulation to all these climbers.
On a personal note: It’s been great covering another Everest season. Congratulations to all the climbers, regardless of their results. There are a few more updates and my annual summary later this week and then I am going to start some climbing of my own. Thanks for all the comments and emails throughout this Everest season.
And thanks everyone for your support of my Alzheimer’s efforts and a special thanks to those who made previous donations to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and also during this season. You are making a difference (you can make a donation anytime). It goes 100% to research, none to me.