News: Avalanche Conditions Too Hazardous Eric Simonson - Basecamp Mon, May 14, 2001 4:25AM
Monday May 14 was a day of both success and disappointment. Dave, Andy, John, Panuru, Phu Nuru, and Palden started climbing at 1am, but were stalled at 27,500 feet in the Yellow Band by deep unconsolidated snow. Dave (a ski patroller in the winter and experienced avalanche professional) was concerned about the windslab on the ledges and gullies. After plowing their way up in the dark on increasingly suspect terrain, they decided that the hazard was unjustifiable, and turned back to Camp 6.
After a bit of sleep, and another brew session, Dave, Andy, and John headed back up in the morning light, and succeeded in climbing further up the Yellow Band gully using the fixed rope that Brent and Jake had installed on April 29th. What a difference a couple weeks makes! Where Brent and Jake had climbed the Yellow Band gully in dry and bare conditions, now there was four feet of slab packed into it. With the protection of the fixed rope, Dave, Andy, and John were able to break trail partway up the gully, before deciding they had done enough.
While our team was up in the Yellow Band, we got some great news from 20 miles to the west of Everest. Our International Mountain Guides Cho Oyu expedition, led by guides Kurt Wedberg and Ben Marshall, were calling from the summit of Cho Oyu on our radio frequency. They had just reached the top of the world's sixth highest mountain (8201m or about 26,900 feet) with their team. This is our eighth successful Cho Oyu expedition (out of nine trips there since 1995). Congratulations to Kurt and his crew!!
Dave, Andy, and John decided to head down to ABC this afternoon and regroup, after several strenuous days of digging and trail breaking, and make room for a fresh summit attempt. Today we have Brent, Tap, Jason, and Heidi moving into Camp 5, and Dawa Chhiree and Phu Dorje moving to the North Col. The plan for all of them is to go to Camp 6 tomorrow for another crack. Let's hope the weather cooperates!