Monday, 4 November 2013

4th November at Namche Bazaar

Just arrived back in Namche Bazaar this late afternoon.  Over the past few days we had an exciting time on Ama Dablam, no one had climbed to the summit so far this season so with some of the other guided outfits we combined our forces to pick an elite team of Sherpa to try and go ahead and fix ropes over the Mushroom ridge to camp 3 and onward to the summit. Very experienced sherpas from Team Ascent, Adventure Consultants and Himalayan Ascents  grouped together and on the 2nd of November went from base camp to Camp 2. On that same evening many of them got up to the top of the existing fixed ropes  which reached  almost to the Mushroom ridge. Our  combined sherpa team got a bit higher but were confronted with very steep and unstable snow. It was impossible for them to set any anchors and from Camp one I watched their head torches trace their night time descent back to camp two. The following morning they tried again and again abandoned their attempt in the difficult and dangerous  snow conditions. So, for now any attempts to climb high on Ama Dablam has been forgotten, the snow is unstable and unconsolidated. So yesterday, the 3rd November I had to make the difficult decision to abandon our attempt and many other groups are now following  our decision. We have flights out from Kathmandu back to Europe soon, some  are departing  from Kathmandu on the evening of the 10th November, so time has run out for us.
 All our team members are fine,  they understand the situation and while a bit disappointed are experienced mountaineers and know when things are simply too dangerous to push on. From the outset  the big snow fall at the beginning of our expedition gave us the idea that summit success on Ama Dablam would be quite slim. The weather has been unseasonably cold with quite high winds above 5000m , the snow is not transforming in the way that we need it too! An unstable layer remains below a surface crust.We are happy to have climbed Labouche peak and now we are enjoying the trek back to Lukla where we hope to get a fixed wing back to  Kathmandu.  I apologize for the lack of photo, the internet here is very slow!

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