It's starting. Several prominent forecasters have agreed that May 17, 18, and 19 will form the first legitimate summit window of spring 2012. Given the short time period and how late it's coming in the season—Sherpas are planning to fix lines to the summit on the 17th—it's likely that up to 200 people could be racing to the top in the coming days. Both the First Ascent teams—West Ridge and South Col— will be avoiding the crowds and waiting for the next weather window to attempt the summit.
My plan was to go to Camp II this morning, but the expedition sirdar, who was going to be my guide, just got back from a climbing funeral and says his mom won't let him go up the mountain. Who can blame her? Instead, sometime in the coming days, we'll go to Camp I of Pumori, a peak across the valley from Everest, to photograph lights going nuts on the mountain as climbers go for the summit.