I mentioned that there appeared to be just one climber left on Everest and that it was Patricio Tisalema who was attempting to set a new speed record on the North Side of the mountain. At the time of that posting we knew that he was above 8500 meters (27,887 ft) but we were still waiting to hear if he was successful or not. Today we have an update from ExWeb that indicates that Patricio was forced to abort the attempt because his Sherpa ran into trouble.
According to the story, the Ecuadorian climber was feeling very strong and moving fast. In fact, he was moving so well that Patricio estimates that he could have potentially reached the summit in a little more than 18 total hours. But unfortunately soon after he left Camp 3 with his climbing partner and their support Sherpa, the Sherpa passed out and required first aid to be resuscitated. At that point, the decision had to be made whether or not they would continue up or assist the Sherpa back down. They wisely chose to go down.
Patricio called the decision the hardest of his life, but he also knows it was the right one. The climbers are all back in ABC now, and doing well, but according to ExWeb Patricio has taken the decision to turn back very hard. He knows that you only get these kinds of opportunities on rare occasions and that he may have missed out on his chance. It is doubtful that he'll be able to rest up and give it another go, but it is still possible. The weather window is likely to close in the next few days however and when it does, the season will officially be over on Everest.
Once Patricio has had a chance to reflect on the situation he'll know that turning back was without a doubt the best decision. Hopefully he'll get another chance in the future, but for now that is little consolation.