It’s time - again! Our Lhotse summit push will be underway in about 4 more hours!
Summit Push Night 2: Lhotse
Well, all we can say is last night was utterly incredible and we are so happy with such a fantastic summit night, and such a stunning sunrise. We've not had to wait in the dark before for a sunny summit (testimony to SUCH a strong team!) but are thrilled we did so, as it was indeed the case that Matt and Willie summited Mount Makalu in the dark in 2014. Much better to enjoy such an achievement with beautiful light and not to mention some extra warmth.
Our news in from High Camp is that the team have been resting on oxygen all day. Some dropped extras from our high camp down to C3 - unneeded extras from last night's push such as empty bottles and trash, and then returned to High Camp again. Winds are still good and skies are clear. Looks like some moisture will be headed our way, but more likely not until Tuesday.
The plan is to depart high camp at 0430 or 0500 approx, and make our way over to the Lhoste Couloir, an icey gully with a good amount of snow ths year, which leads to the summit of the 4th highest mountain in the world (after Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga). The traverse is also an option, if snow conditions allow. Either way, we're hoping for summits at around 0900 local time, this time with Damian and Kike Clausen from Argentina, climbing alongside Matt and Willie. It should be an exceptionally fun climb with this strong group!
We wish them all the best, a superb climb, and congratulations to Matt and Willie whatever the outcome is tomorrow, for such an incredible success already this season, topping out at 8848m this morning at 0505 in just 8 hours from the South Col.
For anyone unaware, this is Matt's 3rd trip to Everest. His first Everest Expedition came to a sudden end due to the devastating Ice Fall Avalanche of April 2014. Matt and Willie were looking for a second attempt on Everest from the South Side in Nepal in April 2015 when disaster struck once again … this time an Earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Rhicter Scale. Unsatisfied by watching his fellow countrymen and mountaineers boarding planes home in their droves, Matt advised Willie, who was busy setting up a relief effort with Damian, Pasang Sherpa (winner of the Nat Geo 2016 Adventurer of the Year Prize) and the dZi foundation, that he would not travel home, but would remain in Nepal and continue “tentlife”, working as hard as he could for the next five weeks before his university in Colorado insisted on his return. The project empowered porters to distribute much needed aid, repair trails that cut of entire counties, and put aid money into the hands of local porters and back to their remote families, and not corporations.
Our first stop once we arrive back in Kathmandu will be a visit to the Department of Tourism to pay for our ski permit, personally apologize for the misunderstanding and hopefully renew our trusted friendship with the dedicated staff at the DoT. Willie and Matt as always truly want the very best for Nepal, and remain more committed than ever to sharing the wonders of this incredible nation with the world. It’s impossible to come to Nepal and not form an enduring bond with her people and culture and they’re no exception. We are all deeply touched by the support we received from the Sherpa community during this challenging season.