7 a.m.: The base camp team reports that, using binoculars, they can see the climbers hovering at around 11,500 feet, preparing for the next portion of the ascent. Conditions are perfect: clear skies and firm snow.
In the earliest of hours this morning, the team awoke and prepared for the ascent. Under a star-soaked sky, the first of the five rope teams left camp at 2:40 a.m.; the last at 3:25 a.m. Those at base camp watched the team as they began their ascent—their headlamps bobbing like fireflies.
Last night was full of anticipation, emotion and beauty. Den mother and base camper Connie George reports that the dark new-moon sky allowed them to see the Milky Way in sharp relief, and that a brilliant shooting star came so close it felt like it hit Dr. Sean’s tent! Magical! Teams held prayer flag ceremonies to set their intentions for the climb, and everyone turned in to their tents early to get some much-needed sleep—or, if the stomach butterflies wouldn’t allow sleep, then just some much-needed rest!
Stay tuned for news of Misery Hill, the 14,162-ft. summit and descents. Go climbers!