It's been one of the toughest seasons on Everest in recent decades. Dry conditions have raised the danger of rock fall and the route through the Khumbu Icefall has been unusually difficult. Despite several teams pulling out, Kenton Cool is at base camp preparing to make his record-breaking tenth Everest summit bid – and fulfill the Olympic pledge made by the 1922 Everest team 88 years ago.
You have to go back a long way to find another year with no summits of Everest from Nepal so late in the season. Only in the last few days did forecasters predict the jetstream winds hammering the mountain's upper slopes would ease, allowing the first weather window for an attempt on the summit.
Last year ropes were fixed to the top by 6 May, but expedition outfitters Jagged Globe report that the Sherpas fixing the route only reached the summit today. David Hamilton, Jagged Globe's leader, said around 150 climbers were on their way to the summit to take advantage of a narrow weather window of lower winds on 19 and 20 May.
Hamilton said that because of the numbers going to the summit and the short time available, his team would wait. Wind speeds are forecast to rise again before a second weather window opens on 24 May.
Poor conditions and the endless waiting have been preying on the nerves of climbers waiting at base camp. Kenton Cool tweeted: "A really tough day yesterday at Camp 1. I don't do failure, but somedays this mountain is a beast. "
Kenton has just emailed us his summit climb schedule. Like Hamilton, he's opted to wait for the later slot. On Sunday at first light he will leave base camp and climb right through the Icefall to Camp 2. On Monday he's planning a rest day before moving to Camp 3 on Tuesday and Camp 4 at the South Col on Wednesday. He says he will have a rest day here before going to the summit on Friday 25th, aiming to be on top 04:00 - 06:00 London time.
Currently in base camp, Kenton has been enjoying the Facebook messages and tweets BMC members have been sending him. So get in touch @kentoncool as his Olympic mission nears its climax.
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