Namaste Family & Friends:
First, I begin with good news. The Nepalese man who was blown into the crevasse by the Nuptse avalanche survived the event and is recovering in Kathmandu. The information I was given about his death was incorrect. I apologize for my prior report, which I am happy to correct in this happy update.
The news about line fixing is not so happy. Because of the paucity of snow on the mountain, there is a serious risk of rock fall on the steep sections of the mountain, beginning with the Lhotse Face. There have been many injuries to climbers from the rock falls, including broken bones as reported earlier. To mitigate this risk, the lines up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3 were moved, not really to correct a mistake, but to make the move safer. This is good and is a credit to the line fixers. However, the rock fall issue remains very serious and could result in serious delays in fixing the lines above Camp 3 to the summit. What we badly need at this point is lots of snow to fall in the coming days and weeks so the rocks are held in place by the snow and ice.
The North side teams are reporting heavy winds (as usual) so the progress of line fixing is delayed there too. Bottom line: my plans for a double summit are in serious jeopardy. Please pray for snow.
Yesterday, I walked down to Gorakshep with Bud and Nick. We had lunch and then Bud and Nick headed down to Pheriche where they will rest for a few days. I climbed Kala Patar (18,200 feet), which is near Gorakshep. Because it was late in the day and the weather was sketchy, I had the whole mountain pretty much to myself. When I arrived on the summit, it started to snow pretty hard. I descended the mountain and then trekked back up to Base Camp. It snowed pretty hard last night. Yeaaaa.
I plan to rest here indefinitely and monitor the weather and line fixing situation. Once that sorts out, I will make a summit plan and advise you accordingly.