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Summit Push: Day 4…Holding

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

Summit Push….Day 4. Holding! There was no summit attempt last night. At 2am, I spoke to Adrian on the radio….the winds at the South Col were in excess of 80km/h and on the summit ridge they were well over 100km/h. Adrian decided to wait until 4am to see if there was any improvement, but at 0445 the winds were the same or stronger and almost all of the teams that had left earlier in the night had been forced to turn around before the summit because of the extreme conditions. Our team stayed put in their tents at the South Col, thus conserving their energy. Adrian has decided to wait 24hours to try again tonight, with the hope (supported by the forecast) that the winds will be more manageable. This type of decision is always so hard to make. We knew all along that the winds would be on the limit of what is ‘climb-able” on the night of the 17th, but we were hoping that they would be just low enough to allow the team to climb on a day with not so many people. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, so the back up plan has come into play. Adrian and Sergey are super warm and comfortable in their Marmot Thor tent, they have enough bottled oxygen to breathe it all day long while they rest and hydrate and wait for the summit window to open again. The Sherpa are two to a tent at the Col as well, and happily breathing the magic gas too. Karma Sherpa drew the short straw and had to descend to the Everest-Lhotse junction to collect an extra two bottles of oxygen from our Lhotse cache to ensure that everyone has enough for this holding period. SO…the team waits patiently up at almost 8000m. Today’s forecast will hopefully bring reassuring news of decreasing wind speeds for a summit bid tonight. The plan will remain as for last night with a 2am departure from The Col….weather permitting. Thanks for reading….let’s hope we get a bit luckier tonight! Monica Piris Expedition Doctor From The Zebra Den, Everest BC.