The weather is the current vogue topic of discussion at Everest Base Camp. Down here, mornings are sunny and warm. I even get woken up by the little birds who come here for the left over food. In the afternoon it generally snows, although rarely more than an inch or two.
At the summit it is a different story. The winds have been generally blowing too strongly for the Sherpa teams to fix the rope to the on the south side; a prerequisite for teams to plan their summit day. The forecasts have been unrealible with this weather pattern, so it is become a bit of a crap shoot, and time is running a little short. Brace yourself for some ‘traffic jam’ photos of climbers on summit day!
As a result, almost all of the teams are back in Base Camp. The latest guess is 20%+ of climbers are already permanently gone, due to illness or other reasons. Flu is apparently rife, so I have self-quarentined myself in camp. Many others have taken the (expensive) helicopter ride down the valley to recouperate and to avoid illness – we shall see how that works out. Some have gone down to Kathmandu, and I heard several on one team went back to Beijing to recouperate! Not sure that’s where I would go, given the choice.
On the plus side, one of the really great guys here just returned from the main village in the Khumbu, Namche Bazar, with donuts!! I’ve never had fresh donuts delivered by helicopter before! Legendary.
As for my plans, they are weather dependent and uncertain. Most likely I will remain in base camp until it is time to go for the summit. But perhaps I shall head up earlier for one final mini-rotation to keep things sharp. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and only the weather will determine the best.