We're hearing more weather details, including reports that temperatures at Hidden Valley early this morning dipped to -20 with wind chill factored in. Gusts of 75 to 80 miles an hour may be hitting the mountain around 12,000 feet today, with a high of just 20 degrees predicted. The risk of frostbite, coupled with the intense winds, reaffirms that this morning's decision to drop lower on the mountain was right on.
It's certainly not the first time the mountain has said no. At the McKinley Climb Against the Odds in 1998, the weather was so bad that no one on the team ventured past base camp. On our climb of Mt. Rainier in 2005, the team was broken into two summit days: day 1 saw perfect weather and many climbers reached the peak, but on day 2 a terrific storm dropped rain, snow and lightning, preventing almost all climbers from leaving camp. And on our 2007 Mt. Shasta climb, a massive thaw-related rock fall forced two-thirds of the team to turn back to base camp just before daybreak.
Tonight the team will likely enjoy a fire in the Sierra Club hut, a hot dinner and a good sleep. We can't wait to see them at the trailhead tomorrow morning!