Tom Kowpak to Everest Update 6
Again it has been a while since hearing from Tom however he has again updated his blog with the last couple of weeks happenings. I have to say at this point, it is easy to forget the seriously cold conditions these guys are enduring. Whilst we are now experiencing a few chilly nights down to 8 and 10 degrees spare a thought for Tom who is constantly at temperatures of -15 degrees C and with no real relief from the freezing conditions. If I get too cold in my lounge room I will wander over to the heater and warm my butt and still manage to have a whinge about the cold…..not really in the same ballpark as Everest.
Anyway, Tom has again done a bulk update of his blog so it is difficult to put exact timeframes around when he did what but the following is an approximate timeline of what has happened between 4th May and 14th May.
4th May ish – Tom left from Base Camp (5150m) to Interim camp (5800m) and stayed a night there. From Interim he pushed on to Advanced Base Camp (6400m). ABC is described as being much more established than Interim Camp, Tom has his own tent there and the camp has a full time cook. The plan was to stay at ABC for 2 nights and then push on to the North Col camp (approx. 7000m) for 2 nights. However the best laid plans etc…..Tom picked up a stomach bug which took a couple of days and strong doses of antibiotics to shake. I t also required an extra day to recuperate which put him a couple of days behind schedule. I am guessing by this point it would have been around 8th/9th May.
At this point the Sherpas planned to take Oxygen supplies to the North Col (approx. 7000m) so Tom decided to accompany them. It is unclear to me whether he then stayed at North Col or returned to ABC but I am thinking they stayed at North Col as the next step was to take Oxygen supplies to Camp 2 (7800m). I also saw some info from Jamie McGuiness that indicated Tom was sleeping at 7000m. Again Tom accompanied the team who must have been ahead of him as he turned around at 7450m when the Sherpas met him on their return from 7800m.
Tom must have then returned to Base Camp where he explained he had spent the last 4 days waiting for a summit window. This must have been between about 10th May to 14th May. Naturally the weather conditions play a huge part in working out when to make the summit push. From Base Camp to summit and return to the relative safety of Camp 2 is a 6 day turnaround so picking the time to make the push is critical. As of the 14th the weather conditions were not favourable with high winds and a 125kmph jetstream on the summit. In addition to the weather conditions they have another issue of fixed ropes needing to be put in place. As of the 14th the fixed ropes went to 8300m but not yet to the summit.
Based on weather conditions and fixed ropes it would appear there is a summit window on the 17th, 18th and 19th May. The 17th and 18th will see the completion of the fixed ropes and many Chinese and Indian summiters, approx 75 climbers from those teams will likely attempt to summit on those days making it not feasible for additional climbers. That leaves Tom and the team with the 19th however indications are that the weather will once again be closing in with high winds around this time. They are now looking at another potential summit window around the 25th May.
As always, for the info direct from Tom – hit his blog - http://kowp.com.au/category/blog/