The first Amadablam expedition team have just arrived in Lukla under blue skies with no winds, a perfect day to fly to Lukla. Sumit is leading this first team, which includes Mark Ayrey (New Zealand), Allan Cohrs (Australia, on his second summit of the mountain), Michael Hansen (Australia), Raul Helander (Sweden) and Jack Scott (Australia). Cara Jacobson (USA) is trekking with the team to Ama dablam base camp before exploring the rest of the Khumbu with Deepak. They are reorganising loads in Lukla and will soon begin the trek to Monjo.
The team started off early today, keen to hit the trails and the big hike up to Namche. About half way up, they were rewarded by clear views of Everest!! However, the views and great weather did not distract and slow them down... by 10.30am they were drinking Illy coffee at Cafe 8848 in Namche! Their cracking good 2.5 hr time to Namche is almost Sherpa time.
The weather has been brilliantly sunny till now, as Nepal including the Khumbu await a deluge of rain and snow from Cyclone Phailin as it moves inland into India. To avoid walking through the expected snowfall, the team are speedily hiking to Ama Dablam base camp at this moment to reach there by lunch time.
Yesterday they left Namche for Debouche, and along the way spent a pleasant afternoon enjoying festivities of a 5 day puja at Tengboche monastery.
Trudging through snow, it was a hot slough to Camp 1 today for our Team A, which now consists of Allan, Mark, Michael, Raul, Stephen and Sumit. Pemba the camp cook also made the climb to support the climbers.
Yesterday, Jangbu and Chirring, checked the new ropes set by another team up to the Yellow Tower. That expedition managed to set the route to Camp 2, however, due to the storm no new ropes have been set past Camp 2. This means our guides have a bit of work ahead of them to finish the rope setting for coming expeditions.
Allan, Mark, Michael, Raul, Stephen and Sumit dropped back to base camp today to make room for our Team B of Jack, Noel, Tom and new arrival Kate McGuiness (Australia) to have their go acclimatising at 5800m, Camp 1. Jack and group will return back to base camp tomorrow.
It's happening for Team A! Allan, Mark, Michael, Raul and Stephen are currently at Camp 1 on their climb up to the summit. Jangbu is part of the fixing team and led the route to Camp 2.7 today.
However, the conditions aren't too great for the final summit ridge climb. There is still too much snow on the ridge after Cyclone Phailin, in addition to some recent fresh snow. Whether the fixing team will be able to complete the route tomorrow is uncertain.
Everyone is back at base camp today. Unfortunately, the snow conditions prevented the fixing team from completing the route to the summit. The risk of avalanche is still too high. To protect our climbers and guides, we've pulled everyone off the mountain to await better snow and wind conditions.
The fixing team will attempt to finish the route today. This is the last window before a few days of high winds. However, the team's progress will again depend on the snow conditions up there. Base camp is still covered in snow...the summit route, even more so.
Team A of Allan, Mark, Michael, Raul and Stephen are ending their expedition and will trek to Namche today with Angkaji, Gyalgen, Malcolm, Sharon and Sumit. Everyone is looking forward to the luxuries of Namche (i.e. Illy cappuccinos).