Today’s selected updates from Individuals and Teams on Everest – 27th May.
Cyclone Yaas continues to cause havoc for everyone on the mountain.
Elite Expeditions, Climbalaya and the 7 Summits Club teams are all at Camp 2 hoping for the bad weather to pass and a late window to open up so they can have an attempt at the summit. The beating they are taking is likely to end their expeditions shortly though.
Other teams have already finished their seasons but are trapped at Base Camp, with the bad weather preventing helicopter evacuations and trekking out not an option.
There are are also teams with kit on the mountain that needs retrieving before the Icefall closes on Monday.
It looks like being a tough end to a tough Everest season.
“After several days at the South Col waiting and watching, our team has made the decision to pull the plug. Unfortunately the weather is not favorable for a summit bid at this time, with extremely high winds. The team is descending to Base Camp today.
“These decisions are always difficult, but coming home safely is the most important and nonnegotiable goal. We commend our guide team for their patience and wise decision making, and look forward to the team’s safe return.”
“Summit Push Cancelled Due to COVID.
“On May 22nd I found myself at Camp 4, 26,000ft in position to push to the summit.
“We arrived at 11am and every hour that dragged on the weather didn’t get better, but worse. The wind increased to 50mph at 26,000ft (-40f and colder this high up). As we waited, things continued to not go to plan, the two sherpas on my team didn’t feel 100% well after arriving late and cold from Camp 3 due to the large and slow crowd.
“After 18hrs of waiting with little sleep and multiple 1hr delays, my guide made the decision to abort our summit push at 6am. From his experience there were just too many things were not working in our favor and had a gut feeling something could go wrong.
“It was incredibly hard to watch other climbers go up for the summit while we went down to Camp 2 to recollect ourselves and wait for a safer weather window in the coming days.
“As we held our ground at Camp 2, things took a turn for the worse, we had a COVID outbreak at 21,300ft that infected all of the cooking staff and the sherpas who were be climbing with us, including the climbing sherpas who were on my team. As it turns out, my guides concern for their health was a stroke of luck, experience, and good judgement as they had COVID at 26,000ft just the day prior.
“Looking back at it now, disaster was avoided because of my guides decision to retreat at the most difficult and sensitive time, and when it mattered most for me. In my opinion, my guide potentially saved the life of our Sherpa as a result of sacrificing our summit in the name of safety.
“We evacuated Camp 2 to Base Camp as fast as possible because of the incoming cyclone which caused whiteout conditions in the Western Cwm and the Khumbu Icefall. All climbers and sherpas are now safely at base camp and in good condition.
“It hurts my heart to have something I worked so hard for being taken away by something out of your control, twice (COVID).
“I’ll be returning home soon, beaten, but not broken and ready to commit to returning to Mt. Everest again next year.
“Cheers to the challenges life presents you to overcome.”
“Climbalaya Everest Expedition 2021 team now at Camp 2 for rest.
“Everyone are all good and fine.”
“Cyclone Yaas is now hammering Mt Everest with snow and some winds. These conditions are due to extend for the next 24 to 48 hrs as the cyclone passes to our South and East.
“Our climbers and Sherpa are all safe at camp.”
“The storm is raging here at Camp 2 with heavy snow and high winds. That means no further progress towards the summit today. Even though I’m tent bound at the moment, lucky for me I have the best company in the world to pass the time with Jenna Besaw.”
“Hopefully tomorrow this storm will begin to clear up…patience, patience.”
“Maybe some things just aren’t meant to be. My Everest trip is canceled.
“Hours after we got the green light to go for the summit we were woken up and told that almost all of our climbing sherpa tested positive for covid – Everest depends entirely on the sherpa and so without them the summit was impossible.
“I’ve been in a dark cloud since the news without a way out. It’s all out of my control so I can’t blame my own inadequacies. I know I was mentally and physically strong enough but I never even got a shot. I’m sure time will help but I’m devastated.”
“I had held my Elite Expeditions team for extra 2 hrs at camp 2 due to heavy snowfall and strong winds.
“The weather has now got better with almost no winds but we still have a bit of snow showers.
“Adaptations and meticulous planning is key for the safety and the success of expedition.
“We have decided to have an extra night at camp 2 . Our summit plan is on the 30th for Everest and 31st for Lhotse.
“Meanwhile, all our team members are in good spirit and super healthy.”
“It was anything but easy. After 67 days of travel and incredible obstacles, @siggiworld, I and our team managed to climb Mt. Everest / Chomolungma (8848,86m), the highest mountain in the world 24th of May at 04:30 local time.
“I consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have achieved this at a time when Covid has been in control of the entire world, including the climbing community, and when the weather has been extremely unfavorable for climbing Everest.
“We were not many climbers who reached the top of the mountain that day and we managed to be alone at the top for some time, which is considered an exception today when you climb Mt. Everest.
“As amazing as it was to stand on the highest peak in the world, it also came as a surprise that it was not as I had imagined it. I understand better why the mountain is as sacred for the Sherpas and Nepalese people.”
“As we make our summit plan we have to decide whether to navigate high winds or snow. At first, we were going to take the high winds because the amount of snow that is coming our way will be pretty intense. But with high winds and no sun, it’s a higher risk for frostbite.
“Everyone on our team is pretty committed to coming home with all our digits, so snow it is!”
“We had a nice, restful day here in base camp – cloudy and snowy all day. We were going to head out today but no helicopter flights and we decided to delay one day, so we are planning to head out tomorrow. Some folks are going to be trekking down the valley over three days to Lukla and others are hoping to helicopter out if the weather clears. But the Cyclone Yaas out of the Bay of Bengal has created some very inclement weather here in Nepal in the Himalaya, so there might not be many helicopter flights coming soon.
“Anyhow, we’re having a great time here, we’re savoring our summit success, and the fact that we all made it down safely and just enjoying our time together here as a team. It’s been a wonderful two months here together in Nepal on the expedition, trekking, climbing, suffering together (haha), and we’re just enjoy our last day together here before we all head out.
“So, we’re doing well and looking forward to another good night of rest in base camp.”
“We headed up and I felt great. But partway up the triangular face, a couple hours in, I started to really feel the exhaustion. We had already encountered some dead bodies and some people in need of or being rescued and it all just seemed wrong. How can people let it get to that point? For a rock?
“I knew this was my fourth time—and honestly, who wants to fail something for a 4th time, but I did what made the most sense to me given all the info that was racing through my brain. Turn around. Not today. So at around 8300m, I decided to turn around.
“I love this mountain and I so want to be able to stand on top of it one day and be able to say with no excuses: I SUMMITED EVEREST. But not now, not like this. Maybe it will never happen, or maybe it will one day long down the road. But I can for sure say that I’m happy with — geez this sounds cliché but it’s true — happy with and PROUD of what I’ve accomplished on the mountain over the years.
“The Lhotse group, due to the weather conditions, decided to go down to Camp 2 (6400) and wait for the weather window there. So far, the ascent is planned for May 29. Part of the group (Irina Zisman and Igor Smirnov) decided to cancel their attempts to climb and return to the base camp.
“The Everest-2 group is also still in Camp 2, and is also waiting for the weather. They plan to climb on the night of May 29-30. All members of the expedition are in good health.”
“Everest was everything but easy on us, we decided to leave early, stay focused and be efficient the whole way. No matter what time or view we would reach. It took us 8h to climb, we got on top in absolutely otherworldly conditions. Red moon, frozen alpine glow in the sunlight and winds picking up … freezing all our electronics & we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves.”
“Trapped In Base Camp – Heavy snow fell all night. Now thick clouds choke our camp in the gauzy fog of big fat snow flakes. A new white carpet of sticky late May snow coats the ground and every surface. Above us a low leaden grey overcast ceiling obscures the peaks. Weather must be ripping inside there.
“Our members are tired; would like to helicopter down. No chance of that now. Our Sherpas need to return to camps 1, 2 and 3 to carry down 50 oxygen bottles, 35 epigas cans, 6 burners, 14 tents, 18 masks and regulators, 30 kilos of rubbish, and 25 kilos of assorted member’s personal gear. The Sherpas wanted to go up through the Khumbu icefall last night to begin their downcarrying.
“However, we took a look at the conditions: 1) non-stop heavy snowfall 2) strong winds 3) already tired Sherpas 4) walkie talkie batteries all dead.
“We vetoed the plan of them going up until situation improves.”
“Everest 2021 cancelled – Heartbroken but a lot of learning, I tell you this expedition is officially cancelled.
“From the beginning it has been full of obstacles we have managed to overcome, but this time it is no longer up to us.
“For starters; at the beginning of the expedition several members of the group came out positive in COVID, we suspect we were infected during the trekking despite the strict measures that were put in place to be able to come (2 PCR and 2 week lockdown).
“At the time of testing positives we went to Kathmandu to isolate, recover and repeat tests until negative to evaluate return.
“Already recovered and with our negative PCRs we returned to the expedition to see how our bodies reacted to the altitude after the disease and if we felt good to continue. We did a rotation to acclimate and reached 7200 meters (field 3) without using oxygen and feeling good so decided to keep going up.”
“Preventive measures were taken such as having an isolated base camp from others to avoid further problems of this kind and we thought the COVID problem at the base was left behind.
“On May 23th, at our summit push we reached the south col in perfect schedule (11:00 am).
There was a lot of wind, all the tents were broken, but we were still able to settle down, eat and rest to go out on the night to summit.
“When we woke up at 10 pm something wasn’t right, it would itself be a complicated summit day (super strong winds and too many groups trying in a very small weather window) but besides that, our team was wrong.
“Climbing Everest requires teamwork and mutual support, one can’t decide to come out just to the top, that night several members of our team were weak and scared, something happened even though we didn’t know what it was, of course we decided not to go out to summit.
“The next day we went down to Camp 2 (6500 meters) thinking about resting for a couple of days and trying again, but our members started to get worse. Some Sherpas went down to base and got tested, turned out to be a second wave of COVID, of course we went down to base immediately everyone, we couldn’t risk it or risk others staying like this.
“Getting down from the south col being so close to the summit was really hard, but now I realize it was the best decision we could make.
“One of the people who tested positive when going down to the base field was Pique (my sherpa) who is now in Kathmandu recovering. If we tried top that night, it could have gotten bad up there and it would have been a tragedy.
“Luckily we’re all fine, the summit is still there and I’ll evaluate whether to come back next year.
“It was a much tougher mountain than I imagined, it takes all your physical and psychological strength, being here two months up to 5000 meters was not easy at all. We spent over 2 weeks above 6000 meters.
“People who know me know everything I struggled to fulfill this dream, months of training, savings, planning… but life is more important and I am grateful to have turned around in South Col and all our members and Sherpas be fine.”