From my mom:
“I just got off the phone with John and am to be the bearer of unfortunate news… The expedition has been cancelled.
The climbers/guides are all still trying to come to grips with this decision after spending so much time up there trying to accomplish the summit. John says there are a lot of factors involved in the decision. I will list what I can recall from our conversation.
1- Sherpas are a little spooked as there have been several serious injuries and a couple fatalities of sherpas this season.
2- Russell (owner of expedition company) does not think that it is going to get better and even thinks the route to the top will get worse as May progresses. No alternate could be found. There have been a lot of falling rocks resulting in broken jaw, arm, hand, etc. I think these injuries may have been to the sherpas.
3- A significant part of John’s group belongs to the Walking With the Wounded charity group out of the UK. These guys were already shot up in Iraq/Afghanistan and most only have the full use of 1 arm, thus creating even more of a challenge in climbing.
4- Ultimately, Russell says this year it is just too dangerous.
John says there are about 120 trips needed up the mountain as far as camp 4 to retrieve everything off the mountain (personal gear belonging to the climbers & expedition gear belonging to the company). The sherpas will need to do this ASAP before things get too bad to go at all. The plan to come back down has not been fully formulated yet, but now John is just ready to go. He is trying to work out some combination of helicopter and plane to eliminate as much trekking as possible.
And… now he is talking about NEXT year… OH BOY!”
Really tough news. I’ll continue to provide updates until John has made it safely home.