Click the following link to hear the report:
Hello everyone, it’s Bill at Camp 2. Of course it snowing and blowing here like everywhere I go on this mountain, the wind and the snow follows me like a little puppy dog. Guess it’s because I’m from California, we don’t have weather in California, just our only seasons in California as I’ve said before are summer and next summer. So I Guess that’s why its giving me the shakedown here. I got down to Camp 2 okay. I’m in my tent right now and tomorrow we are going to move down to Base Camp. One more trip through the Icefall. It was a really hard trip down the mountain just because I think of the accumulative effect of the lack of water and hard food and drinking basically minimum water and Top Ramen soup and Top Ramen soup and Top Ramen soup. But I got down okay.
I just wanted to recap summit day. Some of this will be duplicated. They say one things about altitude is it kills brain cells and impairs short term memory, but only temporarily. So I’ll probably repeat myself a lot here, I apologize for that.
The plan was to move up to Camp 4 I think it was on the 21st, take a rest day on the 22nd and leave for the summit at 8 PM on the 22nd and summit on the 23rd. That was the plan. But we got up to Camp 4 and it was just like 30 – 40 knot winds all day on the 21st and 22nd. It just never seemed to let up. We decided to move our departure hour from 8 to 10 PM. That didn’t help, the winds just got stronger. So about 10 PM Mingma came into my tent and said, “Do we go or not go, it’s completely up to you”, I said “let’s go”. My plan was I was pretty sure that as we got off the Col, which is very exposed, it would not be so bad by the time we got on the mountain and sure enough about an hour and a half up the mountain the winds died down. But by the time we got to the balcony back they came with a vengeance, maybe even worse.
As we moved off the southeast ridge above the Balcony, I think these spots are marked on my website under “Route to the Summit” I’m not sure but I think they are, anyway we are moving up the south east ridge, above the Balcony the Balcony is 27,700 ft and I looked back and you could see the sun, the whole horizon just lit up, it’s just impossible to describe how the whole horizon lit up red, and then about a half hour later you could see the sun come up, it got warm I thought, wow this is great. I will get up on the summit and I can make phone calls and take a lot of photos but then about 1/2 hr to 45 minutes a huge storm rolls in. That storm by the way I think was predicted to come in on the 24th and instead it came in while we were up on the southeast ridge on the 23rd. It was nasty, nasty. I think the worse storm I’ve ever been in in the mountains, maybe even anywhere. It was cold, the wind was blowing furiously and snowing. It was like pellets on your face. You got to remember at this point we were at 28,000 feet plus, so we are up where the jet stream rolls and jets fly and you could imagine how that wind was, but we kept moving, got up to the South Summit you couldn’t see anything, visibility was almost zero, and we got to the South Summit and moved across the cornice traverse, also called the death traverse, because on the left side is a 8000 foot drop, right side is 10,000. Across the cornice no problem, we got to the rock band which is a nasty set of rocks that you have to climb up and over and it’s exposed and you have crampons on and it’s not easy to climb rocks with crampons. Then we got to the Hilary step, that wasn’t bad, that was pretty easy. I got up above the Hilary Step and I knew I was there. Another 20 min or so I could see straight in front of me a group of about 20 people just sitting on the summit celebrating. That was a most glorious site, so much fun to see. We got up there and we took some photos. Unfortunately I got no photos from Camp 4 on up because of the weather, but I did take about 8 or 9 photos on the summit, Mingma did. Of course me with the American flag and I took a photo of me with a flag I had made that’s called the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, which is in honor of my little grandson Ollie, who is disabled. I got photos of the family and you can’t stay up there too long. David Liano my good friend from Mexico gave me a ancient Tibetan coin and asked me to put it up on the summit and he’ll pick it up next year when he comes. so we did that. The coin is up there. David if you get this message, you have to find it and bring it down.
We came down, still blowing and snowing, stormed all the way down the mountain.
(I think the brain cells were drifting here….. Sharon)
We came down and got back down to the Balcony and at that point there was a Sherpa in trouble. I think we were the last group to summit. I think the 23rd is probably the last summit, can’t be sure about that, but I think it may be. So we came down, got to the Balcony, Mingma and I were pretty much the last group coming down. There was a Sherpa in trouble, he was stumbling and falling, so Mingma and I just followed him down from the Balcony to Camp 4 and made sure he was okay. It turns out we were the last two to come down from the summit to Camp 4. We got in to Camp 4 and I felt really good. Had a nice nights rest, so that’s about it.
Sorry about this long winded version but that was our summit day. It was really thrilling and fun. I felt strong all the way up, I really did. I never did feel like I couldn’t keep going. I was very pleased with the move up and the move back down to Camp 4.
That’s about it. And tomorrow as I say, we will move down through the Icefall to Base Camp and I’ll file another report. Again I apologize for this long report but I thought you might want to hear about it and how it went. Last night I was pretty winded when I filed the report. I’ll check in again and thanks again for all your support and prayers. God bless all of you.
(PS I just got a phone call from Channel 2 news, they may come out today to do a story for tonight’s news. – Sharon)