Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summits of Everest. At what cost?

I sit here at E.B.C. typing away on the computer knowing that right now, at this very moment, there are many people either standing on the summit of Mount Everest or are closing in on the final, few, hard won meters. I salute their courage and tenacity. However, the summit is only halfway. What good is standing on top if you can’t make it down? From the several radio transmissions we have heard a few of these people have been climbing toward the summit for more than 12 hours. They have been climbing through wind gusts in excess of 50 m.p.h. Their oxygen supply must be getting dangerously low. Their chance of severe frostbite is almost certain. Of course the latter observations are pure conjecture. Either way the conditions that these climbers are enduring are outside of our team’s realm of safety. I understand the possibility of trying for the summit if there was no acceptable weather window in sight. I understand trying if your remaining days on the mountain were limited. From what our team can determine a very suitable weather window is developing in just a week’s time. The winds are forecasted to diminish to a more suitable level, the chance of precipitation is dwindling, and the summit temperatures are expected to rise to a very balmy –13F. I do not know what leads one climber to accept certain conditions and another climber to whole-heartedly disagree and reject them as unsafe. I do know that we all have the same goal in mind and that is to stand on top of the world and return home safely. And safety is what I am hoping for for these few brave souls who are presently enduring extreme conditions. No mountain in the world is worth a person’s life. No mountain is worth not returning home to the loving arms of family and friends. For now we will continue to analyze the data presented to us in the hope that we will soon receive our chance of scaling the upper reaches of Mount Everest.


Gavin Attwood said...

Sounds like it will be 'Game on' soon Ben. Nick and I have been doing some final training days. Two consecutive camps & hikes up Bierstadt. I am done with that mountain for a while now. This weekend saw us dragging dumbbells up Mt Morrison (thanks to you that is now our adopted training hill!) I have started to long packing process and am watching the blogs of teams on the mountain right now - as well as your blog of course! Anyway, you've got this Ben, stay true, stay focused, stay safe. The outcome is not in your hands. He has the plan.
God Speed.

Josie said...

The time is finally here that we have all. been waiting for !

Ben, Yes you have it in you! GOD will be beside you every step of the way. He is your climbing partner. When the going gets tough look to him for strength.

Soon you will be on TOP OF THE WORLD. !


Prayers for everyone!