From Stu in the USA office
May 24, 2010
Fabrizio called in about 3 hours ago (from C4 at 7650m) to let us know that as of 6:30am they were still in C4 waiting out significant snow and trying to decide what to do. After consulting with the home office on weather and logistics they they took another hour or 2 to sift through the complicated combination of safety, fuel, food, oxygen and porters imminent arrival. Joelle was feeling very strongly to try again on the 25th and Fabrizio will remain on the hill to join her for the attempt. Stuart was simply not in a position to sit out another day as he is on an O2 climb and begun to use up O2 resources. Tapchen will join him today to descend to C2 at minimum and hopefully all the way to BC if they feel strongly enough.
Joelle and Fabrizio will try to leave tonight at 11pm local time and make the top as early as they can and ensure they will have significant daylight to work with on descent. They are dealing with limited food resources but sufficient fuel for melting water. No doubt by the time they return to BC they will be ready for a great meal!
For Joelle and Fabrizio they have 12 hours of simply existing to manage...melt water, rest and repeat. Their job, stuck in a high camp, is to do as little as possible so to conserve every bit of water and energy and it is amazing how little one can do in a day if you really try!
Before heading up Fabrizio and the BC crew had called for the porters to arrive on the 25th for a 26th departure. But with the delayed summit bid they will be unable to be down in time to join the first wave of porters coming out and a small group of porters will remain to support their walk out while the bulk of the porters will begin the trek out to Tumlingtar with all the excess gear, food and tents. A sparse BC will await Fabrizio and Joelle but it is a small price to pay for the shot at the top of Makalu! We congratulate Stuart for reaching C4 and for making a prudent choice to head down when the situation dictated. He still has a long ways to go with Tapchen to reach BC so hours of careful down climbing await them.
When we have more news of the return to BC and the ongoing summit bid we'll let you know!
Fabrizio has left a short audio dispatch from C4 with the update - enjoy!
Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast