Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Himalaya Spring 2018: Winds Delay Summit Bids on Everest, A Death on Makalu

High winds have returned on the South Side of Everest creating a speed-bump of sorts heading into the summit push for most of the teams. Several squads have halted their push to the top to wait out the weather with conditions expected to improve today or tomorrow, granting access again to the summit. Until then, most of the teams are in a holding pattern or moving up to Camp 2 or 3 to get into position.

The Jagged Globe team was the first to report poor conditions high on Everest. The climbers were in C3 yesterday and left for Camp 4, only to turn back three hours into the march up the mountain. They ended up spending another night at C3 and plan on pushing back up today provided the winds have dropped and the weather has improved. Otherwise, they'll spend a third night in C3 before proceeding up.

The Adventure Consultants sent their first group off early yesterday morning with the group pushing throughout the day to reach C2. If the weather cooperates, and the climbers stay on schedule, they'll be looking to top out on Thursday. Meanwhile, the IMG squad is still biding its time in Base Camp while the Sherpas carry loads of gear – including oxygen bottles – up to Camp 3. They're looking to launch their summit bids in another day or two as the weather conditions continue to improve.

On the North Side of the mountain in Tibet, the winds don't seem to be quite so bad at the moment, but most of the teams are still making their way up to ABC and positioning themselves for summit bids. The two Alpenglow teams are on the move and hope to be in position to reach the top today or tomorrow. One of those teams has already summited Cho Oyu this season and is getting an extra day of rest, but is expected to meet the other team in Camp 4 and push to the top together.

As you can tell, there is a lot of movement going on right now on both sides of Everest. The weather window is nearly upon us and all of the teams are jockeying for position. It now looks like we can expect summit bids starting tomorrow and running all the way through the weekend, so stay tuned for lots of news over the next few days. There should be some interesting stories to come.

Finally, sad news from Makalu today as The Himalayan Times is reporting that a Ang Dawa Sherpa – age 32 – died in Base Camp on that mountain yesterday. He reportedly suffered from altitude sickness in Camp 2 on Monday after returning from the summit the day before. Efforts to evacuate him from the mountain were stymied due to poor weather conditions, which prevented a helicopter from being able to land and retrieve the sick climber. Our condolences go out to Ang Dawa's friends, family, and teammates.

More news to come soon.

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