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Descent to Base Camp - Part 2

By Ed Viesturs - May 20th, 2009 10:13 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

To continue, so we descended from Camp II and made it through the Icefall and arrived here at about 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon in the thick air of base camp.

So yesterday the climb went rather well. It could have been a lot better but there were a lot of people on the route. That’s just the nature of the game. I made it to the summit in 9-1/2 hours and there were a lot of places where people were stacked up climbing on the fixed ropes and unwilling to depart the fixed ropes and once I found a bottleneck of people or somebody slow ahead, what I tried to do then was climb around them, just climbing free off the fixed ropes and that’s the only way I was able to get around a lot of the people that were going a lot slower then myself and the rest of my team.

The climb, the weather was good. Yesterday we left high camp at 11:00pm. We left the Balcony, 27,500 feet, by 3:00am, which was literally half the climb. At that point it was still obviously dark and very cold. Somebody registered minus 30 degrees fahrenheit at that time there at the Balcony. And as the sun rose, the winds died a bit, it got a little warmer and by the time we got the summit it was breezy but still a very, very nice day. We could see for miles around. The descent was rather uneventful. We got down in about four hours which was quick. We were able to get out of a lot of the crowds again and get back to the South Col by 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon.

So 14 hour round trip. My seventh ascent of the mountain and more then likely my last ascent of the mountain. It was a great place to revisit, to come back to Everest, but I don’t have the desire anymore to come back and climb the mountain for the eighth time, you could say. So thanks for checking in. I’m actually departing base camp tomorrow. I’m going to end this and start over.


Descent to Base Camp - Part 1

By Ed Viesturs - May 20th, 2009 10:06 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hi Peter, it’s Ed. If I break up or go too long I’ll make a couple of calls and hopefully you can stitch this all together.

Hi everyone. It’s May 20th, 9:00pm. And fortunately, happily, thankfully, we are here at base camp. We left the South Col at Camp IV this morning at 8:00 in the morning. We had a phenomenal nights sleep. You just go close your eyes and you’re out, basically, for 8 hours after climbing Everest. We made a decision as we were descending rather then stopping at Camp II, we thought, what the heck, let’s go all the way to base camp. It was cloudy today and cooler lower so the Icefall wasn’t as threatening as it would have been on a hot, sunny day. And so we made it through, obviously, and arrived here . . . (satellite transmission failed)


Back Safely to Camp IV

By Ed Viesturs - May 19th, 2009 4:33 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hey everyone. It’s about 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s Ed Viesturs calling, Camp IV. We have returned.

We left last night at about 11:00 under beautiful skies. We had a phenomenal day. And there was some crowding on the route. We managed to pass some people, some of us better then the others, and the first group of us to reach the summit, myself not included, was Peter Whittaker on the summit at about 8:00am, Jake Norton, and John Gribber. So about a 9 hour ascent to the summit. It could have been a lot quicker had we not been dealing with traffic problems. I tried to do my best to get in and out of traffic and got to the summit about 8:30 in the morning. So it got a little blustery on top. We spent probably an hour on the summit and we got back here at Camp IV at 1:00 in the afternoon. So about a 14 hour round trip.

Conditions were good. The weather was almost perfect. You could see forever. The only drawback, in my opinion, I would say was the traffic that we had to deal with. A lot of bottlenecks, a lot of just standing around really going nowhere but that’s pretty much what you sign up for these days.

I’ll call again tomorrow. We’re going to spend the night again here at Camp IV. We’re pretty hammered, we don’t have the energy …(satellite transmission fails)


Summit Success !

By GreatOutdoors.com staff - May 18th, 2009 9:34 pm GMT -0700
Relaying from FirstAscent.com, the team reached the summit at 8:00am Nepal time. All are safe. Slight plume on top, 360 degree view, and hard to find a cloud in the sky. Stay tuned. More from Ed when they descend to Camp IV.

Above the Balcony and on the way to South Summit

By GreatOutdoors.com staff - May 18th, 2009 4:33 pm GMT -0700

As reported by FirstAscent.com, the team made it from the South Col to the Balcony (27,500 feet) in four hours. They are climbing strong on their way to the South Summit (28,700 feet).


Perfect Conditions Now for Summit Bid

By Ed Viesturs - May 18th, 2009 9:31 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hey everyone. It’s Ed Viesturs calling from Camp IV. It’s about 10:00pm on the 18th. And we’re about an hour away from departing. The weather’s been phenomenal. The winds have died. There’s a few slight breezes of wind here and there, but it looks to be an almost perfect night to go for the summit. We expect about an eight hour ascent to the top and anywhere from 12 to 14 hour round trip. Due to the wind and cold up higher I do not plan to make any calls along the way. It’s just going to be too hard and too time consuming and so I’m going to focus on the climb. And I’ll give you a call when we get back here to Camp IV and let you know how it all shakes out. So pretty exciting stuff. We’re just drinking some tea here and snacking a little bit, getting our gear ready and we should be climbing by 11:00pm Nepal time. Thanks for checking in and Ed Viesturs signing out for Greatoutdoors.com

Zero Visibility Stalls Summit Attempt

By Ed Viesturs - May 17th, 2009 11:31 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hey everyone. It’s Ed Viesturs calling. It’s midnight here and we’ve finally made the decision not to go, even though the winds have died somewhat. The cloud cap that started on the summit grew and it’s now basically engulfed us here at the South Col so visibility is about zero. So we decided to call it for today. We’re just going to hang out here tomorrow and make an attempt again tomorrow evening. Thanks for checking in.


At the South Col Waiting for High Winds to Abate for Summit Attempt

By Ed Viesturs - May 17th, 2009 6:46 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hi Everyone, it’s Ed Viesturs calling, May 17 about 6:45 pm. We are here at the South Col, 26,000 feet. We had a pretty blustery day, We left Camp III about a quarter to seven, all told it took us about four and a half hours to arrive here at Camp IV. The winds been picking up steadily all day. We are still hopeful though that sometime in the next several hours that the winds will die, so we are packed, we are planning to make our bid later this evening, probably around 10 or 11 o’clock tonight and were going to be in a bit of a holding pattern until then.

We don’t know if the wind is going to die enough to allow us to go, the weather report said that it should, and if it does, we’re going to be ready to go about 11 o’clock tonight And if not we’re going to wait and try again tomorrow. I plan to give you a call again once we make the final call to in a few hours. Everything is going well otherwise. We’ve got a great camp here and a great crew of very highly experienced Sherpa with us and we are hopeful that tonight we can pull this off. So I’ll give a call again in a few hours, thanks for checking in. Ed Viesturs signing out again for GreatOutdoors.com


Ed Viesturs Reviews Members of Tomorrow's Summit Team

By Ed Viesturs - May 16th, 2009 8:24 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

It’s Ed again, I just wanted to finish that last dispatch, just wanted to mention the team I’m climbing with now. There’s five us, Jake Norton, photographer, Gerry Moffatt, he’s on camera and producing a lot of the dispatches for First Ascent.com, John Griber, also cameraman, and Peter Whittaker will be here shortly, expedition leader, and myself. And as I mentioned earlier Melissa Arnot is now back at Camp II, nothing life threatening, just one of the myriad of illnesses that you get stuck with here while on these expeditions anywhere from stomach problems to respiratory ailments so unfortunately she will rest and recover and not be able to climb with us. But fortunately, I’m sure she will recover and be able to make another attempt in a week or so with Dave Hahn.

But all is well here. It’s actually a beautiful beautiful day here at Camp III. We are excited to move ahead to Camp IV tomorrow and keeping fingers crossed late in the evening Nepal time begin our climb hopefully to the summit of Mount Everest. Thanks again, Ed signing out.


Ed Viesturs Calls From Camp III

By Ed Viesturs - May 16th, 2009 8:14 am GMT -0700

Via Satellite Phone - LISTEN IN!

Hi everyone, it’s Ed Viesturs calling twelve o’clock in the afternoon on May 16. I’m sitting here at Camp III, 23,700 feet, kind of a veranda you might say, just a big ledge chopped in the Lhotse Face. It’s a beautiful calm day right now, we left Camp II and seven o’clock this morning it was windy up high, little windy on the Lhotse Face, but we took our chances and we thought, you know what, we need to hit that calm weather window we are aiming for on the 18. So as we climbed higher during the day, early morning, around 9 - 9:30 the winds started to die on the Lhotse Face. It became very warm, very pleasant. It took me abut four and half hours to get here I’m sitting here waiting for the rest of the team, they are working their way up.

Unfortunately, Melissa Arnot had to turn around shortly after leaving Camp II, she has some sort of stomach problem, little bit of vomiting, not sure what it was, her plan is to recover, go down and then wait and climb with Dave Hahn’s group in about a week or so. Five of us should be here shortly, Peter Whittaker and the rest of us. We are going to settle in and hopefully tomorrow make our way to Camp IV.

We are still encouraged by the weather. It’s breezy up high, on the summit right now, I’m looking at it, but not as horrendous as it could be. So everything is well, everything is good and we’re on our way. So thanks for checking in and I’ll report again tomorrow hopefully from Camp IV. This is Ed Viesturs signing out from Camp III on Mount Everest.


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