I’d made my personal decision two nights ago but wanted to speak with one voice in our nine-strong team and discuss with the other six teams and 26 climbers still here to hopefully agree on a combined decision.
We had our final meeting with all the teams this morning and it was decided to abort our attempts to summit Makalu this season. The factors and reasons were many – primarily the respect for and wishes of our Sherpas, some of whose families have been affected and the morality and ethics of continuing a climb when so much devastation has occurred in the country. Also the safety in doing so with possible further earthquakes; the situation on all the other 8000m peaks in Nepal which have almost all cancelled their expeditions and the possibility that the Nepal Government will suspend all climbing in any case – as China already has.
Obviously for all of us who have put so much time, effort and money into this expedition it is very disappointing. For the few who wanted to carry on even more so, but even they recognised that it would be a huge task for five climbers alone to climb the mountain – and that no-one wanted to force an Sherpas to go up against their will.
For me, with Lhotse - my intended ‘double’ after Makalu - also cancelled due its’ sharing of Everest Base Camp it is a double disappointment but that disappointment is put completely into perspective when considering the tragedy in Nepal. It is only a mountain, after all. And everything happens for a reason……..
Thanks to our own great international team and all the other team heads and their climbers for the warm co-operation and goodwill – Sophie Lenaerts of the Belgium Makalu Expedition, Brad Johnson of Prestige, Victor Saunders of Himalayan Guides, Bruce Hasler of Himex, Michu Wirth of Kobler, KenIchi Kubo of the Japanese Makalu Expedition team, Anton Suchy and Ondrej Matej of the Slovakian Mountain Guides Makalu Expedition team.
We will be departing Advanced Base Camp tomorrow and almost everyone will depart Nepal as soon as possible – there are simply too many people in Kathmandu and every extra person is a strain on the system. But, for myself, I plan to stay - more to follow shortly……..