Another update from Adrian Ballinger by satelite phone (May 20th).
Our team of 10 climbers, 3 guides, 1 Discovery Channel cameraman and 11 sherpas are now getting a few hours of rest before their summit attempt.
The members took between 4+1/2 and 6 hours to climb from Camp 3 to Camp 4 at the South Col, experiencing some delays on ropes as they waited for descending climbers who had summited yesterday, but no significant problems.
The present plan is to leave Camp 4 at 11:30pm tonight (that’s 18:45 UK time) for their push to the summit. Although the last two days have seen a significant number of people summiting, there are still plenty of others who — like our team — plan to make their bid tonight. Adrian has seen the team from Asian trekking, Henry Todd’s team, and teams from Asia and Russia. His best guess is about 65 people, plus the 25 from our team. It’s going to be a busy time on the ropes. To increase our margin of safety, each of our climbers will have 3 bottles of oxygen. That’s enough for 24 hours, so if a log-jam occurs somewhere they can wait it out without difficulty.
The weather is perfect, not too cold and no wind. Our thoughts are with them, hoping for a fast ascent and a safe and easy descent back to Camp 4. As well as the primary Discovery Channel camera, 4 of our team are wearing helmet cams, so there should be plenty of footage when they get back down! We will report as soon as we can.
Adrian Ballinger by Sat Phone.