The bid begins…

Climbing in the Himalaya is always, without exception, a juggling act. You've got to balance acclimatization with storms and the jet stream. Since we arrived on the mountain, this juggling act has been going on inside my head. Optimally, we would have just raced up the mountain on day one when the weather was pretty good. But, of course, to do that would have spelled death from altitude for probably all of us. We needed to acclimate, which takes time.

But, there are also weather phenomenon to be aware of. The monsoon, while retreating slowly south, is by no means done for the season. And, its evil twin, the jet stream, is lurking in the north, waiting for the opportunity to rake the mountains with 150 mph winds. Thanks to Michael Fagin and, we know a bit about the weather and trends in the Everest/Cho Oyu region. A large storm has been dumping snow on Cho Oyu, and the jet stream is slowly creeping southward. Good things to know…but, we are about 200 miles west and 50 miles north of Cho Oyu, so it is hard to know with any degree of certainty when these weather trends will become realities for us.

As a result, I have been thinking a great deal about schedules, timing, and options. Given the reality of a major storm coming our way soon, we need to make a bid for the top. While we have a strong team, we are alone on the mountain; a 2 foot snowstorm would potentially end our trip cold. So, it is time to make a go for the summit…and keep our fingers crossed that the weather holds.

Sadly, David will not be joining us on our summit push. He has been having a tough time with the altitude this trip, and cannot seem to maintain a good pace while climbing. It is yet another example of the fickle nature of altitude: I have climbed with David in the past, and he has always been strong. He has climbed McKinley, Vinson, Cotapaxi, Chimborazo, and countless other peaks worldwide. But, for some reason, the altitude is getting the best of him this time around.

While we will miss David a lot on the summit push, my hat is off to him for the noble decision he has made. It is easy to ignore a problem and keep pushing toward a goal until disaster strikes…all you need is ego. But, to acknowledge a problem, to drop the ego and make a decision that is the best for the entire team…well, that takes guts, that takes humility, that takes courage. David has all of those, and I am proud beyond words at his decision; I know it was not an easy one.

We are off to Camp I tomorrow morning. I will try to call in audio dispatches from Camp II and elsewhere as battery and time permit, and I hope you all can listen to them!


  1. Susan Gold
    Susan GoldSeptember 24,06

    What a wonderful tapestry you weave with your words and pictures of this special place!

    I hope the weather holds for your summit bid. Climb high, climb Safe.

  2. Mrs. Sloat
    Mrs. SloatSeptember 24,06

    I love you Stuart. You too Jake. I’m keeping fingers and toes crossed and praying to the weather gods. Be safe. Be smart. Be happy. Be.

  3. Alice Norton
    Alice NortonSeptember 26,06

    Hooray to you All! We are so pleased, grateful and proud! What a wonderful accomplishment to be the first Americans to summit!

    Ever so much love,

  4. Mrs. Sloat
    Mrs. SloatSeptember 26,06

    Congratulations! I am overwhelmed by your drive and courage. I am also thrilled that Stuart might be coming home early 🙂

  5. Susan Gold
    Susan GoldSeptember 26,06

    Jake and Team
    Yahoo and congratulations!
    -The first Americans to summit- what an accomplishment for you all!
    Can’t wait to see your pics and hear all the detail!

  6. edward norton
    edward nortonSeptember 26,06

    Congratulationa to all on your summit and to the Sherpa who make it happen so well ansd so safely………….You all are the best!

  7. Wynn Miller
    Wynn MillerSeptember 26,06


  8. Jim Schwerin
    Jim SchwerinSeptember 26,06

    Congratulations on the summit!
    Jake, your words transport us as we all follow your progress from back home.

    Great job Stu, Jake, and everyone else…

    Have a safe and magical return journey.

  9. Quinn Simons
    Quinn SimonsSeptember 26,06

    I hope there is a turd with a little cocktail umbrella sticking out of it, lying on the summit.
    congratulations guys,

  10. Dolly and Reed Schaub
    Dolly and Reed SchaubSeptember 27,06

    Hi Bro, Stu and fellow climbers,
    Congratulations. Bro, you continue to amaze me, but most of all we are so glad you are safe and will be home soon!!
    Big hugs to you and Stuey, can’t wait to talk to you.
    Sis and Reed

  11. ronlim6
    ronlim6October 1,06

    Another wonderful accomplishment Jake! Our congratulations to you, Stu and your team for a job well done. We’re proud of you and your ever increasing leadership, professionalism and mountain judgement. Enjoy the afterglow as you return safely!
    Lots of love,

  12. Chanel Handbags
    Chanel HandbagsFebruary 17,11

    I won’t accept such sort of family though it is quite comfortable. I prefer the family with mom which is not rich but ample in my heart

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