5 year ago today, I went up for the summit of Everest on the South side. I was strong and felt good until after the Balcony (8400m) where my mask froze. Almost simultaneously I crossed a dead climber from the night before and that pretty much all got in my head. I kept climbing to the South summit (50m or so from the summit), made it, but exhausted myself in the process. I fumbled about for the better part of an hour going between the Hillary Step, then back to the South summit, not being able to decide if I could continue or not. Eventually I got freezing cold hands and that was that, I headed down, devastated.
In 2013, I tried from the North side and the frigid temperatures and strong winds on our summit day, turned my fingers and toes to ice blocks at about 8500m just before the First Step. I turned around once again, not so devastated as before, more accepting of my fate. Of course I was disappointed, but I knew that I'd get another stab at the mountain some time in my future.
Finally, after 3 long years, having had to push my return back because of a freak pulmonary embolism in my lung (which coincidentally was caused by my 2013 climb), I'm back and our summit push is finally happening. We've heard a million different forecasts and interpretations of forecasts for the next week, but it's time to make a move. It's now or never.
We are officially leaving on or summit push tonight, Saturday at 1am (the 14th), hoping to summit the 18th or 19th. We'll go straight to Camp 2, rest a day or two there, then hit up Camp 3 for a night, then Camp 4 (South Col), then summit. I'm feeling good and strong and healthy and pumped to get another shot in the next few days. I can't believe it's been a five-year long wait to hopefully snag this thing.
I won't have any cell comms while up there but my GPS tracker will track me and I'll be able to send small messages to post on my blog. Make sure to track me!