It was an epic three day rapid acclimatization / search / filming trip up to beneath camp four.
We pushed from basecamp to camp 2, overnighted and then blasted up to camp 3. We had the upper mountain to ourselves. The following morning, as expected and forecasted, the conditions were impeccable.
The powerful team of Sherpas from Nepal, our friends from Madison Mountaineering / Himalayan Guides, opened up and fixed the route to the base of camp 4 and blasted out a trail. Without their efforts, our work would have been impossible.
We flew our drones beneath the bottleneck in impeccable conditions as high as 8300m looking for clues of what may have happened to our friends while doing recon for the teams coordinating the future effort above.
By day 4, the weather shifted and we woke up to an avalanche at camp 3. Pelican case sized snow boulders were catapulting down the hill towards us. We knew it was time to retreat as the calculated weather risk was unfolding in real-time. We packed up the tent, secured the oxygen and made the quick descent from camp 3 to basecamp in whiteout conditions.
I’m personally battered at the moment, but grateful for young Sajid who insisted we use the window at hand regardless of the lack of recovery time.
We had hoped to make it a bit higher than we did at 7800m, but a technical impasse blocked us. We climbed as high as we could and did everything possible search / film related. No traces thus far.
To my boss friend Pasang Kaji Sherpa, I’m deeply grateful your technical leadership up high. And special thank you to Fazal Ali and Aziz Baig for supporting us behind the scenes.