David Morton, Jake Norton, Brent Bishop, and Charley Mace, the climbers of the Eddie Bauer First Ascent West Ridge expedition, have called it quits after making one more attempt to reach the West Shoulder.
"Conditions were not technically that difficult," says Morton, "but we couldn't climb more than 50 meters without having to belay something."
On May 19, while the upper portions of the Southeast Ridge route were in chaos, Morton and Norton made the final attempt to gain the ridge. They started up from Camp II at 4 a.m., following their fixed ropes and reaching their high point by 9 a.m. But the rockfall and rotten ice persisted even into the couloir that they believed would hold walkable snow.
"I was amped about this route and I honestly thought it would go," says Morton. "It was beautiful, but it didn't last long."
The Eddie Bauer First Ascent West Ridge was one of two teams on Everest this year that had hoped to climb the notoriously difficult and rarely-attempted West Ridge route. Last Wednesday, the other team, lead by Conrad Anker, abandoned their bid, noting it was "the sensible thing to do from an experienced alpinist's perspective."