Friday, May 21, 2010

Makalu Summit Bid - High Winds in C2!

from stu in the usa office
May 21, 2010

Fabrizio called in at about 9am local time from C2 to let us know that all was well but that the winds had picked up considerably. Despite somewhat promising forecasts of moderate winds on the 21st for C2 they were in fact experiencing winds strong enough they could not exit their tents!

To consider moving up later in the day was not an option as the 6 hours it takes to reach C3 in good conditions would have been very demanding and drained our crew too much. Additionally with the forecast having not proven as accurate as we needed the expected afternoon drop at C3 became further suspect. We see from reports on that crowds on Everest are experiencing the same sort of unexpectedly strong winds so looks to have most forecasters and teams and teams a bit surprised.

Nevertheless the winds are expected to abate considerably for the next 4-5 days so there is still ample time for a bid. The challenge is that the winds are not expected to drop down to a "nice" level and any summit bids are going to be demanding work and cast in the light of making prudent choices at all times. At this point it would seem summit winds will be near 40km/hr. Concurrently we expect an increase in precipitation which may complicate any bids after the 24th. When Fabrizio and I spoke it was still uncertain whether they would set out from C3 on the 23rd or from C4 on the 24th for the top. We'll be watching the weather reports very closely today to help us try to decide.

We expect Fabrzio to call in tonight before they retire to the roar of the tents for a second night at C2 with the latest local forecast! A number of teams are now holed up along side of our Field Touring team and we expect a pretty large movement tomorrow up to C3!

According to reports around the Himalaya, signs of early onset of the monsoon abound including clouds and storms in the lower valleys. Perhaps as early as the 27th the season may close so for our team it is really now or never! No "easy" summits this year on Makalu (are there ever any!!).

more news as we have it!


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