Just heard from team leader Rob Marshall. He and Drew Ackles had arrived at Camp 3 (Rob is carrying the GPS tracker) making the ascent up the Lhotse Face in less than four hours. The other team members were not far behind, some arriving as we spoke. The team made better time today than their previous trip up the Lhotse Face, indicating they are well acclimatized and still strong. Weather was perfect; sunny with mild temperatures. Laying over a day at Camp 2 proved an excellent decision, as there are now approximately 100 climbers crossing the Yellow Band, a rock outcropping between Camps 3 and 4. By hanging back, the team will have less crowding to worry about on summit day. Kudos to the IMG guides for a good decision!
The team will remain at Camp 3 for about 24 hours, focusing on downing some calories and hydrating. They’ll be melting lots of snow in their stoves, and sleeping 3 to a tent, so it will be crowded. Tomorrow at about 11pm EST (~9am Sunday in Nepal) they will begin their climb to Camp 4, where they’ll rest until beginning the summit bid. They plan to leave Camp 4 at about 11am EST Sunday (9pm in Nepal). This early start could possibly put them on the summit before sunrise, which will be about 7pm EST Sunday.
We passed the news to the team about the shout-out from the Chief of Staff, “Your entire AF is pulling for you.” Rob was elated and couldn’t wait to pass that on to the others.
Check back tomorrow for more details about the route to the summit!