Thursday, May 13, 2010

Waiting in Base Camp......

We are currently back in Base Camp and playing the waiting game now. We have been following all the forecasts closely, looking for a break in the high winds. We returned to BC a couple of days ago from a very nice period of rest and recuperation down in Dingboche. Right now, our Sherpa team is also taking a well deserved break before we all move up for our summit bid.

All of our supplies and camps on the upper mountain are completely set to go, so there is very little left for the sherpas to take up high in preparation for our summit attempt. Everyone on our climbing team is ready to go as well, feeling healthy and strong. We are all just waiting and resting for a bit, as the forecasts are starting to look like a solid weather window starting around the 22nd and 23rd.

This is the "Hurry Up And Wait" period of expedition climbing. We have no set plans at this point as we don't have to commit to a summit date until five days beforehand. Making plans any farther out is just wishful thinking, so we'll stay here in BC and monitor the weather, rest and mentally prepare ourselves for the days to come.

Many teams here in camp are looking at a small break in the high winds that have been hammering the upper mountain that is predicted to begin around May 16th. It does look like a decrease coming in the winds that may allow some smaller/faster teams to blast up. We feel it's too small, and looks to be accompanied by some very cold temperatures, meaning, unless the models shift, it will present a lower chance for success and too high a risk to attempt with our team. Patience is very important as it is easy to get caught up in the tremendous incentive to push up the mountain after being in camp for a long time. Many other teams in BC arrived over 2 weeks before we did in Base Camp. That makes for a lot of waiting, and increased psychological pressure to grasp at these smaller, lower probability, weather windows.

Today is our first actual "waiting day" of the expedition. There have been lots of stories of destroyed tents up at Camp 2 and even more from over on the North Side of the mountain. Things have definitely been a bit on the wild side the last few days. Even here in Base Camp we had a few gusts approaching 50 knots, shaking things up quite a bit! When we saw the winds increasing, we dismantled our Camp 2 tents two days ago, so everything in our Camp 2 is currently good to go. We also have a Mountain Hardware "Stronghold Dome" tent in C2 that has proven to be living up to its name, as it has been incredibly strong.

So this is one of the tougher parts of the trip, waiting and watching as the season gets closer to the end. There is a lot of anxiety tied to watching and waiting. It's a fine needle to thread between the start of the Monsoon and the end of the high winds of May. We are looking for the big fluffy pre-monsoon cumulus clouds to start floating around Everest as the jet stream pulls back. Then off we go! Stay tuned!

Scott Reporting from Everest Base Camp!


  1. Vivian & team, Updates are fantastic & we are following closely - with best wishes. All fingers of Rigneys in Ireland & across the world are crossed! Maeve Rigney sends here best from Dublin to Vivian after her holy communion day on sunday. Yes you can! Best wishes. Patrick

  2. Viv,

    You're looking great in those photos Bro!!! Still shaving by the looksof it !!! Best wishes from all the Greenfield Rigneys,
    Ivan, Olivia, Sorscha, Daniel & Andrew