Our first summit team for the 2012 Everest season are poised and resting on the South Col before their summit bid begins tonight. Mike, Ang Dorjee and the main team left Camp 3 close to 6.00am and made good time getting to the South Col by 11.00am, despite crowded conditions. Dean and Iza left an hour later and hit a few traffic jams, arriving at the South Col at 1.30pm. This was still great time and means that everyone has time for a descent rest.
The terrain from Camp 3 firstly involves climbing vertically on the Lhtose Face for about 150m. The team then moved onto a traversing snow slope that leads to the Yellow Band, a light colored sedimentary rock bank that bisects large areas of the Himalaya at about the 7500m level. For the first time on the expedition one has to climb rock and with crampons on. The Yellow Band is mostly lower angled, aside from the steep initial step, and the rock is characterized by rounded features with minimal positive holds. From the yellow band one heads up a broad leftward snow basin until a seam of weaknesses is reached at a rock feature known as the Geneva Spur. In contrast to the Yellow Band the Geneva Spur is black, shattered, low grade metamorphic rock that is blocky in nature. Once the crest of the Geneva Spur proper is reached a few steep step takes one into a traverse track that leads to the South Col. The South Col itself is an enormous rocky col situated between Lhotse and the Summit Pyramid of Everest.
The team have spent the afternoon resting and breathing oxygen in preparation for the big night ahead. It will certainly be a busy one with over 200 climbers reported to be going for the summit tonight.
Meanwhile at Camp 3 our second summit team is resting before they move to the South Col tomorrow.
Tune in for updates throughout the night; I will be camped out beside the radio and computer and look forward to updating you on the team’s progress.
Thanks for following!
Caro for the AC Team