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Everest and Himalaya daily wrap-up: "Are we there yet?"
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May 13, 2005 13: 02 EST
After days of exile in Base Camp, in an environment filled with tension and anxiety, Everest teams are pressing up the mountain again. On the South Side, teams are spending the night in an extremely snowy Camp 3 (see the image of the camp carved into the side of the mountain). But the anxiety hasn’t totally passed. Even though the route has been fixed to the South Col, and some supplies have been stocked in Camp 4, there’s still no clear weather window for a summit push.

On the North side, the situation is unchanged since yesterday: Most climbers are around BC and ABC, some are heading back up for the exercise, others are beginning to feel the pressure from expedition end dates in late May, and still others want to be better prepared for a summit window, reported Jamie yesterday, and:

"There are plans for the ropes from 8300m to the summit to be fixed on the first couple of days of OK weather, a tough job. That bolting of the second step, has apparently yet to begin.”

On Annapurna, Ed Viesturs, Mario Merelli, and the other summiteers are safely back in BC. Piotr Pustelnik is battling bad weather on Anna’s South Side. Meanwhile, teams on Dhaulagiri and Manaslu are in BC, also frustrated by poor conditions. On Kangchenjunga, Alan Hinkes is in BC after fixing camp 1, the other climbers (Joos, Segarra, Ponce, et al) are in BC after fixing camp 2.
And don’t miss the second (and final) part of Ralf, Gerlinde, and Hiro’s debrief, published earlier today.

Everest Weather – Relief ahead?

The jet stream appears to continue its steady march southwards, but summit winds will still remain high (25 m/s or 56 mph) for the rest of the day, and into Saturday. After that, the AdventureWeather forecast shows the winds will drop down to 15-25 m/s at the summit level. Expect snow showers throughout the period.

Everest traverse – Sucking thin air at C3

Piers and Luis report: “Up....up...wait, did I say up? Are we there yet? (Hour 5) no. Are we there yet?(Hour 7) still no. 8 hours, of pretty much climbing straight into the sky, but here we are, Camp 3 on the Lhotse face at 7400 meters. Everyone is feeling the effects of the altitude, and we are melting snow trying to keep up the fluid intake. This is our final acclimatization run up the mountain, after this, its back to Base Camp to wait for our summit window!"

Everest South

Leipzigers w/o O2 – Buried tents and frostbite

“Our attempt to set camp 4 at the South Col was only partly successful,” Olaf reports. “There were strong winds all the time. Already at night from Monday to Tuesday, we could not sleep because the wind was so noisy. Despite this, we decided to ascend at five a.m. Lakpa and I (Olaf) took along our sleeping bags and insulation mats in order to spend the night at Camp 3 on the way back. Despite the storm, we advanced fast in the beginning.”

“When arriving at Camp 3, we were shocked because the tent was completely under snow. Therefore, we had to spend a lot of time digging it out. Because of the strong wind and the danger of getting frostbite, we decided not to climb further. I already had light frostbite on my face. Dawa, Nuri and Kami continued to the South Col meanwhile, but Kami gave up soon because of the strong wind. Dawa and Nuri made it to the South Col, a nearly heroic performance.”

“Lapka and I had a hard night. In our 2 square-meter tent, with a ton of equipment, we were buried under snow again and again. So we spent 23 hours digging out the tent every hour.”

Keith Woodhouse – Icefall becoming increasingly unstable

Here’s Keith’s latest: “After much thought and debate with other members from different teams I have decided to tough this out! Tomorrow I'll set off for Labuche not two far down the track but enough to get some exercise and to sleep in a bed! General consensus is weather improving slowly but the current outlook is not the stable window we are looking for. Still, some teams planning to begin climbing in the next few days in anticipation of improving conditions, and with a view of calling it off if necessary! Problem with this is the Icefall, which everyone agrees is becoming increasingly unstable."

Singapore w/o O2 – Recovery from Lhotse avalanche

“After resting several days at Camp 2 to recover from the avalanche ordeal,” the team reports, “Robert and Edwin climbed to Camp 3. They were met by howling 100 kph winds and spindrift that blew snow into the tent, their rucksacks and clothes.”

“The snow covered their tent and filled the insides as well, and they had to clean it out before they could climb in and shelter from the elements. ‘The winds here are epic,’ Robert reported on the walkie. ‘I don't know if our tent will withstand this beating. If it collapses during the night, we may have to evacuate.’”

Update from the Iranians

“It is May 12, but the wind is still screaming at high altitudes on the great mountain. The news from Everest South BC shows that anxiety is on the rise. All expeditions are waiting for good weather conditions to ascend, but the weather window is still disappointing.”

Alpine Ascents with young Danielle

The team has been taking it easy in Lobuche, but their thoughts are on Everest. “Everybody is well rested and well fed and eager to head for the summit. Now it all depends on what the weather has in store for us. We are all hoping we can go up without a long delay at Base Camp. Our outstanding Sherpa team has been working hard stocking high camp in preparation for our summit attempt.”

Mountain Madness

Christine reports that the Mountain Madness team has planned to spend last night in Camp 3 and return to BC today. Their Sherpas have been stocking Camp 4, and Mountain Madness has been comparing weather notes with other commercial expeditions to plan a safe summit bid date.

Valencia – Route fixed to South Col

The team is in a very tense and anxious BC, waiting for the weather to turn, like everyone else. They report that the meeting between the commercial expeditions was successful, and the route has been fixed to the South Col.

Everest North

Seven Summits – Chasing sheep

Refusing to bow down to the tense mood on Everest, Harry Kikstra and company set out on a livestock reconnaissance mission in the town of Taschi Dzom, Tibet. See separate Exweb story later today for details of the adventure.

Everest Vitesse – No O2 speed attempt

Bruno has completed his acclimatization; he’s been up to 7500 m. The team reports, “Today no wind at ABC. While Christian and Stefano are climbing up to North Col, Adriano is going down to BC.”

Summit pushes in the Himalaya

Annapurna North – Ed and gang back in BC

Mario Merelli called his home team to let everyone know that the climbers are safely back in BC after spending last night in C2 on the way back from the summit. Silvio Mondinelli, who had retreated to BC before the final summit bid, hasn’t given up hope on a summit attempt. He is considering taking another shot at Annapurna with his friend Christian Gobbi in the next few days.

Annapurna South – Kidney trouble sidelines climber

Here’s the latest report from Piotr Pustelnik: “Greetings from a snow-covered Camp I. Yesterday Vlado went up to Camp I, but he had to return due to sickness. He looked pretty bad so I sent him back to Base Camp. The doctor there suspected that it was something with his kidneys, but fortunately today it seems that everything will be OK. However Vlado will stay in BC until the end of the expedition. The weather is unstable. There hasn’t been a day without snowfall. It's not very intense, but it impedes our work. I hope that the weather will be better tomorrow, and that my next call will be from Camp II.”

Dhaulagiri and Manaslu – Climbers frustrated in BC

On Dhaulagiri and Manaslu, all climbers are currently in Base Camp, frustrated with persistent bad weather that has led them to abort multiple summit pushes.

Everest Traverse’s dispatches | Singapore Mountaineers w/o O2 | Alpine Ascents Cybercasts | Keith Woodhouse’s reports | Mountain Madness dispatches | 7 Summits/Harry Kikstra’s dispatches | Ed Viesturs’ dispatches | Silvio ‘Gnaro’ Mondinelli (Italian) | Mario Merelli (Italian) | Leipzig expedition´s news (German) | Ralf, Gerlinde and Hirotaka’s dispatches (German) | Iranian expedition’s news | Valencia expedition’s website (Spanish) | Everest Vitesse 2005

1. Live image over Contact 3.0 of Vern, David, and Danielle courtesy of Alpine Ascents.

2. Image of climbers on icy Lhotse Face courtesy of www.leipzig-online.de.

3. Live image over Contact 3.0 of climbers courtesy of the Everest Traverse team.

4. Live image over Contact 3.0 of Camp 3 courtesy of the Everest Traverse team.

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