May 29, 2012
Lead guide Mark Allen called in at 1:30 p.m. PDT with a report on the team’s progress today. Unfortunately, it looks like the team will start their descent tomorrow without tagging the summit. The team established a high camp over Prospector’s Col on the summit plateau two days ago. They were one day and 7 kilometers short of the summit. However, a report of approaching severe weather was the deciding factor for them to descend back down a camp back to Camp 4 at 16,000 feet. The weather moved in a day early, and they spent the day of May 28 navigating down the mountain in high winds, cold temps and white out conditions. All made it safe and sound back to Camp 4. It doesn’t look like a second push for the summit is possible for the team. The team is taking a day of rest today to rehydrate and stock up on food. They will start their descent tomorrow. They’ll drop down to Camp 3 to pick up a cache of food, and will continue to descend to the landing site on the glacier by Thursday evening. Weather is expected to continue to be poor for the next two days, but Mark says it isn’t as bad now they are below the worst of the winds. With a bit of luck with the weather , the team could be picked up as early as Friday morning for the flight off the mountain.
Spirits remain high, the team did the best they possibly could, there just wasn’t a decent weather window for them to summit in. Mark reports that to date, they have had three good weather days during the trip which landed on the mountain on May 15. Tough luck, but my congratulations to the team for a solid effort.