It was clear and the wind was blowing hard this morning. I was up at 4 AM, but could not communicate with Lakpa because of the noise from the wind. I packed up and then moved over to Lakpa’s tent, so we could discuss our options this morning and also for hot drinks and breakfast. It was clear that the weather had changed and the winds had gotten fairly severe. Pasang was coming up from Camp II this morning and had not arrived at the expected time of 5 AM. By 6 AM Pasang arrived in what was still very poor weather (high winds). We sat in our tents until about 9 AM when the sun finally hit our location on the Lhotse face, but the wind was still blowing pretty hard.
We continued to discuss what our options were and also called base camp to find out how the Everest climbers were doing. At this point information was very sketchy. There were climbers in trouble, but that was all we knew. Weather for our climb was also a concern so we had our base cam-p checking with other expeditions for weather updates.
The decision for our Lhotse climb finally came down to the next good weather window on May 24th – until then there would be high winds at Camp II and above. Lakpa, Pasang and I packed up and headed back to Camp II. We will rest on the 21st and then move back up to Camp III on the 22nd followed by a move to Lhotse Camp IV (high camp) on the 23rd and a summit attempt on the 24th. It may still be possible to catch my flight home on the 26th. We got back to Camp II shortly after lunch time. The Indian and WMS climbers all got back to Camp II later in the afternoon and evening.