Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Just spoke to Bob. Here's the rest of the story that I did not get in his message yesterday:

Apparently, they woke up yesterday to find two other tents got torn overnight in the wind. The team was able to piece them together and keep them functional, if not perfect. Despite the winds, the team started out up the hill yesterday morning on the way to the summit.  They made it up about 1,100 feet above their camp (about half way to summit) and the winds were pretty terrible and it was very cold. Wind chill factor was high, people were having trouble standing upright in the wind, and trouble staying warm in the wind chill. A few team members were not feeling strong and secure in their ability to keep climbing.

The guide, Susanna, said that it got steeper and more dangerous from there on up. To continue would be quite dangerous. Clouds were moving in to the mountain. Knowing that they had supplies for at least two more days, and that the were due for a break in the weather after two weeks of cold and wind, Bob and five others decided to turn around and head back, to try again the next day. Susanna and three team members, inexplicably, decided to continue upward. One of these went up another 100 feet and turned around and descended with the others.

Remarkably, the three that went up managed to summit in a whiteout, experiencing at least one small fall along the way, no significant injuries. Upon arrival back in camp, all three including Susanna were exhausted. Wiped out. Susanna said she had no reserves left, that she had been on the edge the entire time, and Bob said she certainly looked fried.

This morning, the weather changed for the better and the skies were clear. Bob, two others and the Sherpa (my apologies, I do not know his name - mike) were to head up to summit today. Bob and the Sherpa were having hot drinks early when the other two decided that they did not have it in them to go for the summit - they had not been sleeping well and had not been feeling well and they did not want to leave their warm tent and push on up. Susanna would not allow just Bob and the Sherpa to climb on their own. (mike's note: I do not understand this decision as no one had to rope up and everyone else could stay in camp quite comfortably for another day, or even move down to a lower camp and let Bob and the Sherpa climb and then catch up as they will.)

So, the decision was made to go down and get off the mountain. No one but Bob was still game to summit, Susanna is dead tired and not up to making good decisions in Bob's favor, and  no one wants to wait around until tomorrow so that maybe a few people can feel better and go for the summit together.

In short, Bob was penalized for making the correct decision to tun around yesterday. Even the sherpa has said that they made the right decision to turn around. It was too dangerous to have gone for the summit and those that did, just got lucky. And in return, Bob does not get his chance at the summit on a lovely day on the mountain. (mike's note: ask for a return trip for free, Bob.)

When Bob and I spoke, he was between disappointment and anger, but was nevertheless on his way down. They will be at the road sometime late tomorrow. I am sure that Bob will add his own updates (and corrections?) to all this once he is back in civilization. Thanks for reading.


  1. My heart bleeds for you, buddy...looking forward to hearing your voice again...have a safe flight home !!MB

  2. I can only imagine Bob's frustration being that close, having the strength, and energy, but not being allowed based on another's decision. That sucks! We all know he trained hard for this, sorry to hear he didn't get to fully accomplish what he set out to do, especially since we all know he COULD.

  3. Bob ... whatever the outcome I know you could have; perhaps not everyone takes this as seriously and there are a few weekend warriors with deep pockets who deserve smaller achievements.

    The saying .. climb high; don't die .. ya done good pal; see back at land lubber level and plot the next target.

  4. Bob, that sux! You did good...followed your instincs and good sense...and penalized for someone else's bad decision! All the best live to climb another day!!!

  5. Bob, I'm so, so, made excellent decisions; others did not. Not much compensation, but now you have a chance to go back with Greg and I! Drink some malbec for us back in Mendoza.