Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Some Days You Just Don't Climb

There was essentially no movement on the mountain today. A day of remembrance. A day to reflect.
2 years ago today, thousands of tons of ice released from the west shoulder of Everest, cascading down into the icefall. It was still early... just after 6:30am. A couple dozen high altitude workers, most of them Sherpas, were shuttling loads through the broken up, mish-mash of seracs and crevasses.
In one horrifying moment, 16 men were killed and another 9 seriously injured. 
This event once again highlighted the perilous work that our Sherpa friends and colleagues take on each year as hundreds of climbers ask for passage onto the flanks of Everest and Lhotse. Without the undaunted work of these skilled, brave men... barely a western climber would stand on top and celebrate the hard earned summit. It's because of them. And I am grateful to them for their courage, skill, humility and perseverance. 
The weather today reflected the somber mood. Cloudy and cool with rain down low, snow up high as hundreds of extended families across Nepal mourned... from Makalu to Mustang and throughout the Solokhumbu. Prayers were sent to the heavens and memories were shared. 
Tomorrow... it's back to normal. Perhaps though, with even more reverence than before. 
We will continue to stand by... helicopter at the ready. Hoping we aren't called on... but ready nonetheless.