Poised at Camp II
May 19, 1997
By Liesl Clark and Kate Churchill
Today all NOVA climbing subjects are at Camp II (21,300') awaiting optimal
weather conditions for a summit attempt. Ed Viesturs, Dave Carter, Guy
Cotter, Jangbu Sherpa, Veikka Gustafsson, and Tashi Tenzing have all moved up
from Base Camp (17,600'), joining David Breashears and Pete Athans at Camp II.
There was a break in the route through the Icefall, due to a collapse, and
Jangbu reported at 7:00 AM by radio "many people are turning around and coming
down." An hour later Ed Viesturs and his team, including Jangbu, reported
that they were able to safely navigate the troubled area in the route.
The winds aloft have been sporadic throughout the day, with some hopeful
moments of calm interrupting the roar that everyone has been hearing for the
last week. Forecasts continue to predict 40-50 knot winds over the next five
days. After receiving the forecast at Camp II David Breashears commented,
"Well it looks like if we're going to climb this mountain, we're going to have
to climb it in the wind." Our team members have decided to rest one more day
at Camp II and then move up to Camp III (24,500') with the first possible
summit day being May 23.
In the meantime, an Italian physiological research team has decided not to
conduct their planned medical tests at the South Col (Camp IV 26,000') due to
high winds. Their Sherpa team is in the process of moving all of their
equipment down to Camp III where we understand they will be conducting high
altitude medical tests on their climbers. John Tinker's International Everest
Expedition (OTT) has made a move up to Camp IV, and are reportedly all safe
and sound. They will begin their summit attempt around midnight tonight and
as of the last report, the summit team will be made up of six members and four
Sherpas. All eyes are on Tinker's team; they will be the first to make a
summit attempt since the onset of high winds on Everest.
With the exception of Todd Burleson's team, there are members from every other
expedition on the mountain lining up for their summit day. In the meantime,
all of our team members are feeling strong at Camp II, despite having spent
nearly two weeks in the thicker air of Base Camp at 17,600 feet.