November 4, 2011
IMG leader Justin Merle called to report that the team had a good day today, with clear and cold weather. Reaching the summit were Peter, Doug, Mark, Nima Karma, and Chewang Lendu. Justin and Billy turned back just short of the summit due to Billy’s cold feet. Billy got his feet warmed up on the descent and sustained no cold injury. Good call, Billy! On the descent the team dismantled Camp 2.7 and then Peter and the Sherpas went on down to Camp 1 with the gear and Mark continued all the way to Base Camp. Justin, Doug, and Billy stopped at Camp 2 for tonight and will descend to BC tomorrow. Tomorrow we have Kami, Ang Pasang, Chewang and Nima Karma heading back up to pull down the rest of the gear, and the whole team should be to Base Camp by tomorrow evening.
While the weather up high has stayed clear, down low in the valleys it is still socked in and the Lukla flights remained cancelled for the fourth consecutive day. It is now estimated that there are 2000 trekkers stuck in Lukla waiting to fly out, and the helicopter charters also have long queues. This is starting to look like a repeat of last year, when the flights were cancelled for a week! Fortunately, our crew is not in a big rush and still have several more days of climbing and trekking before they are ready to start thinking about flights. Walking out to Jiri (4 days from Lukla) or just hanging out in Namche is always a possibility if the weather remains bad down low.