Pictures: 1, Nick, fully loaded on the way down, after 2 grim nights in the snow cave at 6000m. 2, Pete, down climbing after reaching high point, before being beaten back by the gale force winds. 3, Nick and Pete, heading up to Matt at the beley, battling cold hands and feet in the -20 tempertures.
A few days back on the East Ridge we were beaten back by high winds, since then we have spent time in BC, resting and trying to come up with a plan.
After expert forecasts, which predicted a slight lull before the return of the jet-stream, we are not going to get the chance for a second summit attempt. The winds are far too high, and after almost being blown from the ridge and getting frostbite on the last attempt, it really makes no since to wait and go back up. After all our efforts it's gutting to bail from here with "nothing in the bank" summit wise, but with these expeditions this is not what it's all about.
Blue skies have been luring climbers into the mountains elsewhere only to be beaten back by high winds. Epics have been happening across the range. We have heard of a few teams getting into trouble and having to be rescued, one of which, on Ama Dablam, has resulted in the loss of a pilot and his winch man. Their helicopter was flipped by high winds on the return journey to rescue the second member of a team after the first was lifted to safety. The outcome of the second climber is still unknown to us.
We are now waiting for our helicopter to come pick us up, early morning on the 14th, keep fingers crossed for us to get out as the weather is somewhat mixed and we are running low on food. But don't worry, we have already made a call that we will eat Dave before anyone else if things get desperate, there is still far more meat on him than any of us, even after his Base Camp diet.