Elusive weather window on Everest

2003 was always going to be a busy year on Everest, as the 50th anniversary of the first ascent drew more crowds than ever to the world's highest mountain. With settled weather early on in April, many teams made good progress, completing their acclimitisation climbs to sleep at c7,300m. Then fierce winds ripped across the Himalayas, tearing tents off Everest and putting an end to some of the less well-equipped expeditions.

Since the big storms, the weather has been unsettled, with a few false starts for some teams trying to be first to the summit. Now, almost everyone is waiting and ready to go for the predicted window, which is expected to arrive around 20/21 May. Teams are working together, as there could be as many as 70 climbers heading up the South Col route on the same day, causing queues on fixed lines and at the Hilary Step. Jagged Globe Everest Despatches

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