First of all a quick thank you to Human Edge Tech (and Annie, JJ and Marten) for sorting out the lack of credit on the sat phone. In my infinite wisdom I'd let the credit go down to less than the amount capable of making a call or sms/text to request more.
Also official congrats are in order to Annie from the International Norit team here for reaching the summit of Denali. We knew you could do it. Hearty congrats!
In camp - Shena lives. Looks like she's lost an amount of weight somewhat equivalent to a half dozen micelets and I suppose in the not too distant future we can expect some of her offspring to be frequenting the dining area. Some of us have taken to serenading her with the Ramone's 'Shena is a punk rocker'. Although she seems indifferent to our entertaining efforts.
On the mountain - Back to the original plan before the weather put a stop to our gallop. Wilco, Cas, Jelle and Roeland are up at camp 2 and hope to complete the approx 200m of lines to 3 tomorrow. It'll be very much an investigative jaunt too as binos from basecamp obviously can't tell much of the snowpack story. Granted we've waited a seemingly ample amount of time for the snow to settle and watched a lot of the recent accumulation sluff off (in major amounts at times) but you can never be too sure. So Pemba, Court, Sheeny and myself head to camp 2 tomorrow and all going well camp 3 the following day. Wilco etc will come down to base camp while we try to spend a couple of days fixing to camp 4. Inshall 'Allah.
Hope all are well beyond.
Dreapadoireacht go deo.
It is my second time out with John, but this time I called him the night before to warn him off going as the conditions were fairly poor: Lots of snow, high winds etc.
He said he wanted to go anyway so we met up at Kate's and said we go as far as we can on Corran Tuathail. After a stunning walk in, it seemed we were the only ones there as there was no other cars at Lislebane.
It could have been anywhere, the Alps, Norway... we rose up around the corner overlooking Lough Gouragh and enjoyed an amazing view forward with the summit clear and white.
We tackled the 2 steps on the ascent up to bring us on to the flat area below the mountain rescue hut which was covered in snow ankle height or a little more. The conditions were still ok apart from a mini twister collecting loads of spindrift and funnelling it up into the air and dispersed as it moved from the rescue hut over to the scee slopes we were about to accend. All of the group were ok and wanted more so we headed off and up. As we reached the middle flat ground before the final short gully beside the waterfall up to Cummeenoughter Lake, it was now snowing hard with visibility down to 30m. We pressed on finding the last bit tough and icy and when we finally got to the lakeside, it was more like a blizzard.
We breaked for a little (3 mins due to the cold) as I phoned the office to see what conditions were like down below, It was low cloud and grey. I told the lads that this was it as there was no way we could go any further in these conditions, they all agreed and we picked our way down again heads into the oncoming onslaught of snow and hail in our eyes. The decent was fairly challenging to say the least but on the walk out we all agreed it was a fantastic experience even though a summit wasn't possible.
Till the next time John....
Timmy is now in Camp 3 as of yesterday, he was in good and strong form when John Dowd met him a couple of days ago.
A quick report from base camp today, by satellite telephone. Mara called to let us know that the team were now in Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. They climbed well through the early hours of this morning, and were now settling into the routine of cooking, resting and drinking.
The night will be spent on oxygen, and when they move up to the South Col, they will all be using the TopOut system to ensure maximal flow and intake. This will speed their ascent to Camp 4, and help keep them warm against the fierce cold they would experience otherwise, just because of the extreme altitude alone.
Excitement and expectations are running high, with the weather looking reasonable for the next few days.
John contacted us this morning from the South Col. He was estatic and very breathless. He is with others and they are all in great form and very excited they are about to go to the summit.
"Feeling strong and emotional, we will give it our all" John said. They are the leading group from Dan Mazur expeditons with a lot of teams now arriving to make a push before it gets busy on the final section. The weather is perfect until tomorrow night or Thursday so a summit tonight is very possible. John will becomce the first Kerryman to top out on Everest if he succeeds.
Some others with John team are 1 french, 1 Dutch, 2 British and 6 Americans. All are strong and making their move in about 8 hours time.
John also mentioned Timmy "The Tank" O'Connor, was feeling good and is about 3-4 days behind him.
Confirmation from John's family that he is finished his rest period and is now on his first summit bid. He is currently on his way to Camp 3 and the porters have fixed and supplied Camp 4. He should be at Camp 4 tomorrow, Tuesday 20th May. Its possible they may go for their first summit attempt on Wednesday. We are awaiting full details from John. Good luck John - UP KERRY!!
Other Irish climbers on everest have a similar schedule, Good luck to them also!!
Everest is open from Nepal once again as the Chinese Olympic Torch make history on the summit. More on this link below.
275 Climbers with over 100 porters will now scramble up the ice-fall and try to gain a position on one of the upper camps. John Dowd with the rest of the Intl. team he is with are intending to head to C2 tommorrow, then camp 3 for a night or two before returning to base camp for a rest. They hope to head for their first summit attempt next week. "John has said it looks like May 19th approx. for first summit date all going well", John's wife Mary reported to me today.
John called today and reported that the moods were getting anxious around BaseCamp. He was outside BC behind a rock when he called as they would send him and the rest of their climbing team home if caught. "There are armed soldiers about 20-30 in total controlling the area of a few km squared. There is also a sniper and checkpoint at C2. We saw a plane/jet early this morning, circling the mountains high camps, the same plane was there also last week, hopefully that means thay are spotting for the torch teams route or filming them as they summit. With a go ahead soon, We intend to go to C2 and start to C3, some gear was in place when we came down nearly a week ago between C2 and C3. We intend spending a night or two at C3 then return to C2 for a rest before we make our first summit attempt all going well. I will update once we move, all the other three Irish climbers are well and are in the same position on the mountain. "
All teams are still in BC Nepal side, awaiting go ahead. The Chinese Olympic summit bid has been hampered by heavy snow over the weekend. The young summit team which has only brief experience in climbing at this level mostly made up of students and a few veteran climbers. More on Intl. news on this here below.
Climbers and reporters who are all at BaseCamp, cannot send any sms messages out due to a block on the network. The Chinese are holding the keys to this year's summit attempts as they go for the summit with the Olympic torch over the next few days. The security in place is very tight and they are hoping the torch will head up today. We hope to get some full updates from John next week when they head for C3 and C4.
Check out this diary for more Intl. views
Jonah Fisher BBC - Everest Olympic torch diary
Message relayed from John's wife Mary, as climbers are only allowed family calls as the Olympic torch arrives at North side BC.
"At Camp 2 for our second night, one more night here and then return to BC where there is a meeting for all climbers, officials and the army. They are to decide if teams are allowed up to C3. No one is allowed up past C2 until May 10th to allow passage of the Olympic torch by the Chinese. Feeling good, weather is great at the moment"
More info from the mountain … click here
Some other news:
Graham Kinch and Ian Taylor are also preparing for there summit bid if it happens. Both 29 they will become the youngest Irish if they succeed. There progress … click here
"Hi Niall, just back from Camp 1 where four of us spent a rough and windy night. All is well in general and I met Timmy in the icefall, he was doing well also. John"
reports: Niall Foley