At long last, the weather forecasts have shifted in our favor. A good window at the top seems likely around May 22-23. I think it's crazy that there is such a narrow band out of the whole year within which most climbers are willing to attempt to summit. Regardless, in order to position ourselves on the mountain for that window, we will leave tonight (tomorrow morning) at 2:00am. This "alpine start" as it is known, will hopefully allow us to get through the icefall while it is still frozen solid. This time we will climb past Camp 1 and go straight to Camp 2. It will be a long day. Because of that and to further acclimate, we will likely take a rest day in Camp 2 the following day. The we will proceed with the schedule below. Of course this is not only subject to change, it is likely to change. The mountains are unpredictable!
May 18 Base Camp to Camp 2
May 19 Rest in Camp 2
May 20 Camp 2 to Camp 3
May 21 Camp 3 to Camp 4
May 22 Rest in Camp 4
May 23 Camp 4 to Summit and back to Camp 4
May 24 Camp 4 to Camp 2
May 25 Camp 2 to Base Camp
May 26 Helicopter from Base Camp to Kathmandu; start flight home
May 27 Arrive home!
So today was final sorting of gear, charging of batteries (avalanche transceiver, camera, headlamp, etc), final shower and shave for some time, double checking technical equipment, loading up on food supplies, and of course packing.
Here's a pic of me in the tent with a small bit of my gear.
Once again I will be unable to blog for a while so please look to the Madison Mountaineering website under "dispatches" to keep up with our progress. I will post something again as soon as I am able.
I want to thank my Sonoco HR team for doing such a great job in my absence and allowing me to chase this dream. Thanks to my friends who are following me and offering encouragement. It is much appreciated. And of course thanks to my wonderful family for supporting me and allowing me to do this. I know it is sometimes stressful on you and I will make it up to you when I get back! I'm so looking forward to a family Memorial Day weekend if the weather and other variables cooperate. I miss you guys!
I'm excited. I feel ready. I only have a slight cough and have been sleeping pretty well. I know this will be a very, very tough week ahead, even under the best of conditions. I know what's coming. A "suffer fest" if you will. But this is what I signed up for. I don't know if I will make it to the top or not but I am going to give it my best, be safe, and look forward to getting get back to the real world with loved ones.