Here are updates from George's and Paul's blogs:
George's blog (6/1) - The GORCA team (Steve, Ben + George) made it today!!! Congratulations. They reached the summit at 7:30 PM after a 9 hour climb, stayed for a few minutes and decided that the below zero temps and +20 winds was enough and headed back to 17K. Good to be in the land of midnight sun for a long day of light and climbing. Paul decided to hold back given the near whiteout conditions. It was a 4 hour return trip and the team is tired and resting up.
Paul's blog (6/1) - We only had two possible summit days left, today and tomorrow (Monday). We really wanted to attempt the summit, especially after being at 17,200 foot camp for a week. After that much time, you think you are going out of your mind from boredom. Try to imagine what life would be like being stuck at high camp. You lay in your bed, eat only dehydrated food, without a shower and have little to do except stare at the ceiling for 16 hours per day for a week. It is a test of your sanity. It is the sacrifice mountain climbers have to make at times for that ever elusive summit. Of course, when you have been in a situation like this for a week, it adds significantly to your desire to reach the summit and go home.
In order to have enough food to summit and get to the bottom of the mountain, today and tomorrow were our only options for a summit. This obviously made us very determined to head to the summit today. However, we woke up to poor weather conditions. It was nothing but a cold, windy and a white out because of the snow. Regardless, we proceeded to get ready to summit while hoping for the weather to change. It did not change. We even got to the point of roping up. Meanwhile, I had a bad feeling in my gut. It kept getting stronger with each passing moment because of the the weather conditions. Finally, I told my teammates that I was not going to join them for the summit attempt. If they wanted to try for the summit that was ok with me. I was not comfortable with making the attempt in the white out conditions we were faced with. It was very tough to take a stand against the majority but I knew I was being true to my climbing phyolosophy. In addition, I was being true to the promises I made to my family and my wife. Hopfully, the weather is ideal tomorrow so I can reach the summit. For now, I know I made the right choice regardless of whether my partners make it to the top or not.
George's blog (6/2) - The GORCA team is planning to start the trek home today. They are looking forward to warmth, pizza and beer. It has been three weeks of zero-temps and tent-bound days and nights, time now to return to the comfort world.
No update from Paul yet to see if he was able to summit on 6/2.
Andy flew home on 6/2 and was in his own bed by 2 a.m. on 6/3. My knee is still swollen - may see an orthopedist. Peter was scheduled to fly home on a redeye, leaving Anchorage at 1 a.m. and getting to Salt Lake on 6/3.