Newsletter 427 September 2002
Wind and Snow
Well things have not really gone according to plan - as often happens in the mountains! The weather has been playing a few trump cards.
We did not actually leave ABC until the 24th and even then the weather looked rather ominous. We walked up to Camp 1 in misty windy weather - which was actually more pleasant than being in the midday sun, but did not bode well for the next day. The weather gradually deteriorated throughout the night with the gusts of wind threatening to blow the tents away - it was not a very restful night.
On looking out of the tent at 6am the next morning it was obvious that a tribal council was required. Confirmation that Camp 2 was uninhabitable due to high winds and the appearance of high cloud sealed our fate. It was decided to retreat to ABC. This proved to be an exceptionally wise decision. That night at Camp 1 the storm wreaked havoc, with 5 tents being blown off the mountain and others ripped to shreds. However thanks to the experience and skill of Himex Sherpas our tents survived with only minor damage. Down here at ABC we awoke to a foot of snow. The snow continued to fall all day and night.
We now have our backs against the wall with regard to our time schedule. We plan to go back up tomorrow (28th) for our final assault. Once again, we are at the mercy of the weather and snow conditions. However, despite these setbacks, the team is feeling strong and optimistic.
It is worth noting that no teams have yet managed to go above Camp 3 (7400m) this season and this weather is affecting all parts of the Himalaya.