from stu in the usa office
July 31, 2010
We have had a great deal of movement over the last few days with the return to BC of the summit bid group, lots of rain and snow and the departure of a number of team members.
Remaining at BC for a second attempt has been Brian, Meagan, Chris, Aziz, Farhad and Fabrizio. There appears to be a very good opening in the winds from the 3rd to the 6th of August with winds as low as 5-20km/hr so this is good news and we do have plans for some members to leave bc on the 2nd for a summit on the 5th at this time. The bad news is that there appears to be an accompanying weather pattern that will include snow up high and rain down low. For them to have a reasonable shot they'll need to have a gap open up for at least the 4th and 5th. All eyes are on the weather for the next 48 hours!
I spoke to Fabrizio at length last night and he was optimistic about the situation...fully stocked camps to the shoulder, a route in to the shoulder, a strong team of climbers assembling, the chance that the Abruzzi teams might get to the join the push this time and a weather report that is promising. He noted that the last time up was his 10th run to the shoulder so hard to imagine someone who knows the route and conditions better. We'll hope that Meagan, Brian and Chris are ready to go and have news in the next few days about the exact plans!
On the 28th a number of members, running low on time or sensing the risk level too high on the route, made the decision to depart BC and they include Ed, Garth, Luis, Lakpa, Tshering, Katrina & Tom (one of our trekkers!). They were accompanied by three of our HAP's Taqui, Ghulam and Asgar.
I received a call from Luis a short time ago and they are out to Skardu now after a pretty serious effort. With the weather conditions so poor, rain, snow and wind, they opted to avoid the Gondogoro La and came back out by way of Askole. As it was they had numerous landslides and river crossings that made the objective hazards on the mountains pale in comparison. They made it back to Skardu at 1:30am after a pretty epic effort and all are appreciating a stable floor beneath their feet! At this time there are no flights to ISB and the Karakoram Highway is closed with landslides - so a few days in Skardu resting up may become mandatory.
We'll have more detailed reports on the trek out in the days ahead and have updates on the summit bid shortly. Fabrizio and Chris are planning to made audio dispatches daily during the push so stay tuned!