Hood River-based mountain guide Scott Woolums has spent the past several weeks moving up and down Mt. Everest as he and his team of three acclimatize to the altitude and prepare for the ultimate prize: reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain.
Woolums, who owns Hood River’s Adventures International, an adventure travel company that specializes in mountain climbs and treks around the world, is accompanied by fellow Hood River mountain guide John Rust, who is leading three clients of his own in an attempt to reach the summit of Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world and closest peak to Everest.
The two teams have been sharing camps on the mountain and will break off for their separate summit attempts after Camp III, at 24,000 feet. The summit of Lhotse is at 27,883 feet, while Everest’s summit is 29,035 feet.
Over the weekend, Woolums and his team endured a massive wind storm while holed up at Camp III. Woolums reported winds blowing at more than 80 knots.
They are now safely down at lower altitudes, joining Rust’s team for a few days of rest in the village of Dingboche, at 16,000 feet.
“We have extended our stay here to four days down low to recover from being up high for so long,” Woolums reported Tuesday on his Web site. “The body recovers so much better at this altitude.” When the teams head back up the mountain, Woolums hopes it will be for their summit attempts.
“Basically they are at the mercy of the weather gods now,” said Yvette Blanchette, office manager for Adventures International who is in almost daily contact with Woolums via satellite phone. “(They’re) waiting for that window of opportunity.”
Last year, Woolums reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 16. For reports and video feeds from the Everest expedition, go to www.exploreyourplanet.com.