Hood River mountaineer Scott Woolums reached the summit of Mt. Everest Thursday morning at about 10:45 a.m. Nepal time. While standing on the top of the highest mountain in the world — at 29,035 feet — he took time to call home on his satellite phone.
“He said there were about 35 people on the summit,” said Yvette Blanchette, office manager for Adventures International, Woolums’ adventure travel company. “He said the weather was beautiful, sunny and clear. They could see clear down into both Tibet and Nepal.”
One of Woolums’ three clients made it to the summit with him; another had turned back earlier in the day and the third had remained at a lower camp.
“Scott said, ‘Here at the top, I take five steps and I’m out of breath. This is a tough mountain and I have gained even more respect for it than I already had,’” Blanchette said.
Woolums had attempted to reach the summit of Mt. Everest once before, in 1997, but was turned back at 26,500 feet due to bad weather. Blanchette said Woolums had left from Camp 4 at about 9 p.m. the night before and had climbed for about 12 hours to reach the summit.
Blanchette said that, despite the euphoria of reaching the summit, Woolums and his team were now concentrating on making it back down safely.
“They have yet to move through the Khumbu Ice Fall” — one of the most dangerous places on the mountain — “and (Scott) said there are crevasses opening up left and right there,” Blanchette said. An unusually warm spring in the Himalayas has made ice-melt and avalanche danger on the mountain even more hazardous than normal.
Woolums and his team should be back at Base Camp by today, according to Blanchette. They are scheduled to return home in early June.