The Everest weather window

The waiting, the resting and the acclimatisation is over. Tomorrow we move up to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) to get ourselves in position for our summit push. Our exact schedule is not yet confirmed as there still remain a few uncertainties, such as when the remaining ropes will be fixed between 8300m and the summit, and which day is likely to be the best possible weather window. We would also like to know what other teams are doing to try and avoid summit day bottlenecks. But we’re now focussed on the mountain and in summit mode.

The summit ridge of Everest seen from above Interim Camp on the East Rongbuk Glacier
The summit ridge of Everest seen from above Interim Camp on the East Rongbuk Glacier

I’ll be sharing a tent with team mate Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson during our summit push. Any of you who have been following his blog at may raise an eyebrow at this. His writing has been described as “dramatic” by some, and “depressing” by less kind people. For those of you who read his last post, where he listed the many ways it’s possible to die on the summit ridge, I’d like to assure you that we’re here to enjoy ourselves, have strong Sherpa support, and as long as we take care there’s no reason to suppose we won’t get up and down safely and in one piece. Thankfully Grant is not so pessimistic in real life as he is on the page, so we should be able to keep conversation light inside our tent.

I’m very fortunate to have Chongba Sherpa with me on summit day once again. Chongba was my personal Sherpa on Manaslu last year, where he was an absolute star, looking after my oxygen as I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. He is hugely experienced, having summited Everest 12 times from the south side, putting him among the elite. He has never summited from the north and is very keen to do so.

I won’t be posting any updates while we’re on our summit push, but if you’re interested in keeping updated then regular dispatches will be posted on the Altitude Junkies website.

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9 thoughts on “The Everest weather window

  • May 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Dear Mark, I am writing to wish every success in the coming few days. May the wind slow, the earth be still and the clouds clear.
    Please pass on this message to my dear friend ‘Margaret Watroba;’ Thinking of you every day now as the time approaches for you to climb to the top of world ! I was not sure how to contact you – so thanks to Mark’s blog I may.
    Best wishes to you and all climbers ! Safe treking. Good decison making and a strong soul ! Love Deborah x

  • May 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Well this is it, Mark – good luck! My beloved Man City beat QPR 3-2 in injury time yesterday to win the Premiership, so if you make it up Everest, that’ll be two celebrations in one week. Have a safe journey and make sure you come back with nothing worse than a few pairs of soiled underpants! Cheers, Matt.

  • May 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Best of luck Mark to you, all the Altitude Junkies and Sherpas. Here’s to great weather and a safe summit. Best wishes, Kelly

  • May 21, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Hi Mark, I just read on the Altitude Junkies website that you got to the top! – is it true?! Don’t forget to blog and let us all know know that you’re okay. Getting to the top is optional, but getting back is mandatory etc! Cheers, Matt.

  • May 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Congratulations Mark! Looking forward to the full story once you’ve rested 🙂

  • May 23, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Thanks everyone for the kind messages. Successfully summited on 19th May after an exhausting 18 hour summit day. Safely back at base camp now and resting. Will be posting plenty more about the climb in the coming days and weeks.

  • May 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Awesome man! The Canadian climber that didn’t make it down has been getting a lot of negative press here. Hope you can share some insights on how you managed the traffic jam.

  • May 24, 2012 at 4:55 am

    It wasn’t too bad. There are far fewer climbers here on the north side. Although there was a bit of a bottleneck on the final summit pyramid,when I met a lot of climbers returning from the top, I would say it was far from being a busy summit day. About 60 climbers went for the summit on 19th, many of whom were Sherpas who don’t generally cause bottlenecks. The Tibetans also managed numbers by giving everyone designated departure times. We were very happy with ours at the back. No problem with numbers here on the north; on the south it must have been horrendous.

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