Karina makes the Summit

Good news, even without the cameraman, Karina Oliani made the Summit at about 7.30am on May 17 local time with Pemba Sherpa.  They are on their way back to camp 2, where I expect Scott and Mingma are waiting.  Wally Berg’s wife rang me at 6pm last night (Ut time) to let me know that Karina was at the Hillary Step – approx one hour from the Summit.  So, despite the cold, it seemed she would definitely make it.

I haven’t spoken to Scott since he was at the South Col on the 15th but he said he would not be taking the sat phone.  It seems like the team made the good call for Scott and Mingma to descend and leave their oxygen with Karina and Pemba.  Although it would seem to have short-staffed Karina’s attempt somewhat, Peak Promotions also had an Indian team summitting the same day.  They topped out just ahead of Karina. 

I am hoping to have Scott home within the week – just the dodgy icefall to descend.  I’m also keeping an eye on AC dispatches:  Ralph going for the Lhotse/Everest double and Office manager, Suze Kelly on a “work trip” going for her first 8000 metre peak, Lhotse.   

Summit trials

News is somewhat sketchy but I spoke to Scott last night (Utah time) – it was the morning of May 16 in Nepal and they were still at camp 4.  They had not gone for the Summit because the predicted drop in wind had not happened.  Winds were gusting at over 80km/hr which is fearsome with an ambient air temp that is already 40 below!  Instead they had waited at Camp 4 (the last camp) using up their precious supply of oxygen.  Scott told me that it was likely that he and Mingma would descend to camp 2 and leave their oxygen for Karina and Pemba to make a summit bid today.  Meaning that Karina and Pemba are climbing as I type.  This is Karina’s expedition so this was a logical outcome.  Scott doesn’t mind as he’s already climbed Everest but I fear Mou Mou will be devastated.  Maybe not.  According to Alan Arnette’s blog, both Karina and Scott abandoned their summit attempt but I think that with today’s settled forecast – plus with Scott’s and Mingma’s 02, she will have gone for it. 

Our man at Basecamp, the hugely affable Wally Berg has called me three times in the past 24 hours with updates.  Bless him.  His latest call at 8 this morning informed me that Scott is indeed back at camp 2.  On descent Scott came across a Nepalese woman climber who was wandering confused and disoriented.  She was well into pulmonary edema and Scott escorted her (with difficulty) to camp 2.  The woman’s oxygen saturation was at 54% – essentially incompatible with life – and this woman would have died if Scott had not found her.  Again, I haven’t spoken to Scottie and neither has Wally – so this is 3rd hand info from the BC medical team, but it would seem that Scottie has performed some heroic action high in the Himalaya. 

I will update this blog as info comes in.  Wally and Scott are not on the same team so it’s a tricky business.  Alan Arnette is good for additional news:  http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2013/05/15/everest-2013-delayedsummits-and-more/