This post was meant to highlight our successes of the past few months on Cho Oyu and Mera. However, a recent event has forever marred our happiness in the death of Dendi Sherpa. Early morning on November 3rd, Dendi was guiding a strong Swiss team of three on their summit bid on Ama Dablam. They started from Camp 2 at midnight and had passed Camp 3 by 3am. Shortly after this time, the team was hit by falling ice.
Over the last few days, we've patiently waited at base camp hoping for the winds to ease and for the snow to improve. Lakpa and Dendi tried again to fix the summit ropes, but only reached another 100m above where Jangbu left the job before being turned back by soft snow that is wary of potential avalanche.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.