May 17 - Triumphs at Everest

It’s May 17th and this update is coming to you from Everest Base Camp again. This morning we got up early. Maggie Schneider who has now already started down the valley with most of the rest of our trekking group.

Maggie at base camp chorten.Maggie’s accomplishment reaching base camp this year, her athleticism, her experience as a mountaineer and her love of the sherpa people in this culture has been a joy for me to watch. She has managed her MS very well, it’s a disability of course but it’s nothing that holds her back. It has been inspirational for me to see how she has performed on this trip. The image of her standing at that chorten this morning with the Khumbu icefall behind was really uplifting and heart warming to me, she has done a great job.

As has many, many people on this great mountain this season. We had another sleepless night tending to radios, news from high on the mountain. At about 2:30am Amy who was sleeping with a radio so she could keep in touch with Will’s progress came over to my tent as I was laying awake waiting for news. She gave me the news that Will had turned back at what we call The Balcony at 28,000 ft (8,534m) on the southeast ridge of Everest.

Amy talking on the radio to Will.A disappointing time but as I said and talked through the morning hours with Amy, I told her how many of us had tried so many times before Everest allowed us to climb her. The mountain is great, it is always going to get the last word and those of us like Will Cross who keep our priorities straight, we are determined we’re skilled but we know it is more important to come down for another day than it is to push on needlessly. Will’s got his priorities straight, he is back at the south col now, and we understand he is tired and dehydrated and needs to get some fluids but he is going to be fine and he’s going to take care of himself coming off the mountain.

I had a busy and rewarding time keeping track with many other friends, I just had a conversation with another good friend on the balcony who is descending with his team after a successful ascent all the way to the summit. It is not the clearest weather today but still the mountain allowed some people to go to the top today and we are hoping for their safe return to the south col, camp 2 and on down from there.

Amy and Min Dabu are waiting here with our many friends at base camp for Will to come down and as I mentioned the rest of the crew has started down the valley. We’ve got a lot of friends along the way at Pheriche, Pangboche, Namche Bazaar, the walk back to Lukla is going to be enjoyable for us because of the accomplishment of having reached Everest Base Camp, because of all the good friends we made with the sherpa people and because of the benefit the thick air is going to be as we descend into lower altitudes

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