Our initial projected summit date was May 11. Due to high winds on the upper part of the mountain, it was moved out to May 14/15. More accurate weather forecasts indicate that the winds might still be a problem. We’re now internally discussing pushing the summit date out even further.
While nothing can be done about the weather, the delay is suboptimal for many reasons:
- In preparation for this trip, I had packed 5lbs of gummy bears. They’ve been fantastic comfort food, edible at pretty much any altitude and providing lots of sugar. I’m now slowly running out, and don’t know what to do about it.
- I’m experiencing rapid weight loss. I started out at a healthy 192lbs, but must be down at least 20lbs. Any more significant weight loss, and I’ll be too weak for the summit.
- Believe it or not, I don’t like cold environments. I was looking forward to returning to sunny and warm LA by May 21, but this is no longer realistic. I may be stuck here in the cold for a number of additional days and may have to start looking for a new flight, once I know my summit date.
- This is a big one: the longer we wait, the bigger crowd we’ll have to deal with on our way up. Additional teams can mean slowdowns. Slowing or stopping means that your body also cools down, which can result in poor circulation and frostbite, for example, on fingers and toes. I’ll bring plenty of hand and foot warmers, just in case.
- Finally, hanging out at base camp is getting boring. There’s not much to do, aside from eating and sleeping. The environment doesn’t help, with there being only the black, white, and gray of ice and rock.
There are people who were no longer able to take it and rented helicopters to fly down to the valley just for a change in scenery. A nice, but costly, option – I’m way to cheap for that…
Anyway, let’s see what happens. I wouldn’t dare make another summit day projection, with all the previous ones now being obsolete. Let’s just hope for the best!
In addition, I’m trying to distract myself with alternative activities. I’m now working from base camp whenever possible (i.e., when I can get stable Internet connection).
Also, tonight I decided to check out my camera’s nighttime capabilities. Pretty happy with the initial results – what do you think?