What an incredible summit day we had on May 18th, 2022 to the top of the World! As we waited out high winds during the early hours of the night we remained patient knowing that the forecast (at the time) was suppose to have winds dropping off for the 18th. We waited and waited and knowing that we had the time to wait evening as the sun was starting to show some light. The winds had died down from gust of around 40 knots at the South Col the day before, but now a cloud had descended on the South Col and was just lightly snowing. I kept looking out of the tent trying to see if it was just a thin cloud that would disappear or we were going to be in this warm cloud and possibly just get wet as we stepped and and got ready for the summit push. As 4 am came around, the winds were calm and could stsrt to see some light and see that the cloud was thin and wouldn’t last long. I made the call we would start climbing at 5am for the summit. Just as we were ready to climb the cloud had cleared the skies were blue and had hardly any wind. We could see the route to the summit which looked calm with winds and a beautiful day. Besides the weather, we were the only team that would be climbing on May 18th! Six of us: Shine, Ross, Karma Sarki, Pema, Fur Kancha, and myself had the entire route and upper mountain to ourselves. As I lead out towards the triangular face it was surreal to me to be the only ones climbing, something that only few people get to experience and something in my career that I will probably never experience again. We felt fortunate and continued up the face to the balcony. We made good time to the balcony in about 3 hours, took a break, ate and drank and switched oxygen bottles and then headed up the SE ridge towards the South summit. Looking across from the South summit to the true summit again I couldn’t believe not seeing another single climber above or below us. We changed out another oxygen bottle and then headed out on the knife edge ridge towards the summit. It is a tricky and narrow ridge but for me the funnest part of the climb. From the South summit to the true summit the wind picked up a little bit but a nice breeze to keep our goggles from fogging up. Starting at 5am we never had to worry about frostbite and other cold injuries during the climb which was a nice surprise. We reached the summit in just over six hours, summiting at 11:05am. After enjoying the summit to ourselves and taking some photos and just gazing out around Nepal and Tibet we started the descent. We made it back down to the South Col in a couple hours and relaxed the rest of the day. Shine got up with Karma Sarki at 12am to head over to climb the 4th highest mountain in the World, Lhotse. They did so successfully on May 19th in less than 24 hours from summiting Everest the previous day.
We all reunited in Camp 2, and then this morning have all safely descended to Basecamp for a mid morning breakfast, hot showers, and a celebration tonight with our entire Sherpa crew and staff. We are all thankful for the safe expedition and will be heading to Kathmandu tomorrow if the weather cooperates! I will recap some more once we arrive back to Kathmandu. Sounds like our strong Sherpa team have all arrived just now in Basecamp too and I believe have cleared all of our camps, meaning no one will have to go back up through the icefall to collect anymore gear!
Thanks for following along,