Newsletter 830 May 2005
Greetings from ABC. Contrary to some newspaper and Web reports, we are still here!!! We haven't let a little (!) bad weather, (well, OK, weeks of horrendous winds and cold!), discourage us and send us fleeing from the mountain! As an aside, also, Duncan Chessel has not been associated with our expedition for the past two weeks and will not be rejoining it, counter to what he has been reporting of late.
Finally, believe it or not, we are really packing and organizing last minute details for our summit push. It has been an unusually long wait at BC and ABC (weeks longer than we had hoped) and we have gone from "Hurry up and wait" to "Hurry up, get to the summit and get home!" Needless to say, it has been emotionally and mentally quite a roller coaster ride these past weeks as our hopes have ridden up and down with the unusually windy and cold weather conditions that have plagued all of us on the mountain this season. While being concerned with the cumulative effect on our energy, strength and overall health of living above 5,200 meters (BC) and 6,400 meters (ABC) for over 50 days at this point, we have had to worry about whether the wind and cold would ease enough, or at all, for a safe and long enough summit window. And, even now, we still have to hope that the window we are going for remains acceptable because we won't have a second chance, for we are now truly out of time.
Fortunately, though others have taken chances with the very small weather windows that have appeared in recent days and summited, some at a terrible price, Russell's prudent caution, patience and foremost concern with our safety has apparently paid off with the best weather window of the season forecasted in the days ahead. So, the great news is that we are now finally going for it! The details: there will be two teams and two projected summit days - June 4th (Team 1) and June 5th (Team 2). The first team will depart ABC tomorrow, May 31st, and is comprised of Richard, David, Jez, Piers, Jean, Monica, Tom, Mogens, Ishii, and guides Bill and Woody. The second team will depart ABC on Wednesday, June 1st and is comprised of Kevin, Sissel, Antoine, Charlie, Peggy, Soren, Grania, Paul, Chieko, Fujibashi, and guides Dean and Narly. The first team will be accompanied by 9 sherpas and the second team by 11 sherpas. A total of 43 members, guides and sherpas will set out from ABC over the next two days with the goal of standing atop the world! Russell has assigned many other sherpas to various camps on the mountain to provide as needed support for the summit teams. He will monitor everything on the summit push from "mission control" at the North Col (Camp 1).
You can anticipate that each team's members will return to ABC the day after their summit days. After the second team has a full rest day, we will all decend to BC and rapidly begin the trip to Kathmandu. After this longer than hoped and understandably very challenging and difficult expedition, we all can't wait to be reunited with our family and friends. Perhaps, we'll even have a story or two to share!
Sissel and Kevin