Today saw the final preparations being made for our upcoming summit bid. Straight after breakfast members prepared bags of food for their time at Camp Four. As with Camp Three, these were selected with care, being sure not to take too much and trying to predict what one will be able to stomach at nearly 8000m. Snack bags for summit day were also made up, with energy gels featuring strongly. Even these will be a struggle to eat at this altitude and members will have to keep them tucked inside their down jackets, along with water bottles, to prevent freezing.
After lunch the team discussed the various pros and cons of the upcoming weather windows that we can see in our forecast. The staff then continued this conversation long into the afternoon, pouring over weather charts, comparing various models and guesstimating the number of other teams heading for each weather window. Our main considerations include not only wind speeds and temperature, but also the likelihood of bottlenecks at key places on the route, whether ropes will be successfully fixed to the summit in the next few days and the potential for another window later in the month.
Mid-afternoon we put the members out of their misery and let everyone know that we will begin our summit push tonight. Our plan will be to move firstly to Camp Two where we will rest and re-evaluate the forecast. From there we will climb the Lhotse Face to Camp Three where members will not only sleep at this new altitude for the first time, but also have the advantage of breathing bottled oxygen. Finally we will move to Camp Four at the South Col from where we will stage our summit day.