John just called in at 10 pm (Everest time) to confirm that they have decided to hold off on the summit bid due to deteriorating weather. A few small teams have set out in high winds and heavy snowfall, but John said the decision was confirmed for him when lightning started lighting up the sky over Everest! Our team is comfortably resting in their well secured tents in C4 now, with plenty of food, fuel and oxygen to carry them over.
While this may seem like a difficult decision when the summit is so close, it actually is an easy one to make when we consider the consequences of getting trapped above 8,000 meters in storm conditions! Our team is strong and healthy and the goal on this trip is for them to come home strong and healthy. An oft-repeated mountaineers saying goes “the summit is optional – coming home is not!”. This has always been the guiding philosophy of CWMS expeditions, no matter how big or small.
We hope the team has a good night sleep in C4 tonight in order to be strong for what tomorrow brings. We also hope that the weather and the conditions align tomorrow for a successful summit bid, though this is of course out of anyone’s control. Many teams succeed on this mountain and take full credit for impeccable planning, perfect records, “we have the secret forecasts”, etc, etc – but we really know that luck with the weather plays a critical role in anyone’s success on an 8,000 meter peak. So, lets hope for good luck this time around!
Brian Jones, Canada West Mountain School