Had a good conversation with Jon this morning. He's still battling demons but has recovered physically. In spite of what has happened, Jon is ready to make a 2nd summit attempt...heading back into the "Death Zone" (above 26,000ft).
Jon said the word around Basecamp is that up to 7 people may have died during the horrific 48-hour weather window on the 19-20th. Teams are still trying to locate clients and Sherpa. What happened? The jet stream all of sudden backed itself over the summit. A 2-hour wait at one of the chokepoints near the summit left climbers caught in these 80mph winds. Jon was ascending while other climbers from the previous day who had summited were descending through the chokepoint after 18-hours or more on the mountain. Cut-off times were ignored and oxygen had run out. Jon tried to save a couple o the climbers, but also managed to assist a few of his teammate to safety.
At this point some Teams are packing-up and heading home. Jon said the heli-pad is constantly busy with folks flying out.
Jon's plan is to join Jangbu Sherpa for a "speed ascent" to the summit on the 25th-26th. I took a very close look at the latest weather information and discussed it with Jon and his Team. The 4 of them are fast, fit and highly motivated. Their plan is to skip a couple of the higher camps and push directly to the summit quickly to hit the weather window. I could tell in Jon's voice that he's ready to do this and i'm 100% confident in him. Please give Jon and his Team your prayers and thoughts.
**Please direct media requests to meteorologist Chris Tomer at KDVR/KWGN-TV. firstname.lastname@example.org