After a span of six consecutive summit days, the jet stream got revenge today with high winds that have stopped summit pushes and even forced some teams to re to lower camps to wait out the storm. This is not unusual. In fact, most of the summits thus far this year have been in high winds, but not quite this high!
To state the obvious, when winds are gusting over 30 mph (48kph), the risk of frostbite dramatically increases – even with the worlds finest down suits. Fingers and toes get numb, climbers struggle to breathe and even move; visibility becomes limited with blowing snow. In other words, its miserable and life threatening.
While its difficult to get an exact count, there are literally hundreds of members and Sherpas now above Camp 2 (21,000 feet) on the Nepal side staged for their summit bids. Many are at the South Col where the winds are the highest. Reports of tents being shredded are coming in. IMG reported reing from Camp 3 back to Camp 2 to wait out the winds. Madison Mountaineering delayed their summit bid and will stay at South Col for Wednesday night.
he base camp team for Alpine Ascents posted this update. It is their standard program to spend a night at the South Col before heading to the summit.
Alpine Ascents Everest 2016 climbers and sherpas team arrived south col 26000 feet at 2.00 pm. It was very challenging day for them with strong wind approximately 45 mile per hour, but ours team keep continues and and able to pulled thru.the challenging part was setting tent at 26000 feet with blowing hard. team did not gave up they wait several hours and able set tents, got hot fluid and foods. every one is doing well and in great spirit, they are all laying in their warm sleeping bags. The plane for tomorrow is rest day. Right know it starting to snowing and wind still blowing hard. hoping to calm down soon.
Similarly on the Tibet side, there are at least 100 at Advanced Base Camp and above waiting for the Chinese to finish setting the rope to the summit – this has been an ongoing source of frustration on that side this year, but nothing really out of the ordinary as it has been the pattern for many years now.
- I’m at Camp 3. I was 2nd fastest!
- I’m at Camp 4, worst weather ever
- My climb is over. I’ve never suffered like this. 2 big days to get to base camp then relax & warm!
- We r wet and cold with wind up to 85 mph. I’m in a 3man tent with 3 Sherpa. No sleep tonight.
- The wind just died and the team is going to try. I am uncertain.
Whether this lull will last is the big question and climbers will have to make a tough decision. Their base camp contacts may contact their weather forecasters for guidance. If it appears the jet stream has parked on top of Everest, then this may last, if it is a micro-event (that is very difficult to forecast) then it might let up.
I remember in 2011 being in a similar situation with high winds from the time we arrived at the South Col about 9:00 am until 9:00 pm that night. All of a sudden, the winds stopped and we left for the summit. They picked back up as we made the turn at the South Summit, gusting to 30 mph, but we were still able to summit.
I’ll update this post as more information is available.
Memories are Everything