Hi everyone, it’s Ed Viesturs calling from Pheriche. I’m one day’s walk down valley from Everest base camp on my way to Kathmandu and on the way home. It was kind of nice to get out of base camp and start heading home and I know there’s a lot of questioning now about why and when I decided to use supplemental oxygen. And again, my decision was based on safety and team unity, safety on my behalf and also the anxiety level of my team mates for me going out ahead and being on my own.
I started thinking about this quite a bit when I first arrived at the South Col, it was very cold, very windy up high and I started to contemplate the risks of climbing in those conditions without supplement oxygen. The risks are definitely increased when you climb without supplemental oxygen especially when it’s very very cold and very very windy. I would have had to leave the South Col at least an hour or perhaps two ahead of my team calculating that they may have caught up to me somehow during the day as I would probably have been climbing slower. So I would have been separated from my team, they would have been probably a little worried about me, and I would have been a little bit worried about myself as well especially in those cold and windy conditions.
Once we decided to skip the first day because of weather and then were looking at going on that second option day we still knew it would s be quite cold and windy up high and also the fact we had been waiting at 26,000 feet for over 24 hours which in itself is very debilitation without oxygen. Because of those factors I decided again for the sake of safety and to climb with my team to use supplemental oxygen. There were also a lot of people on the route, we knew there would be some traffic hold ups because of that I couldn’t probably climb as quickly and efficiently as I wanted to stay warm if I went without oxygen, so the decision became quite apparent to all of us, and myself in particular, that the safest option for me would be to climbing using supplemental oxygen . . . (satellite call failed).