It’s over — again.
Columbus resident Bud Allen’s bid at reaching the top of Mount Everest — the tallest peak on the planet at 29,035 feet — has come up short for a third time.
The real-estate developer returned to Columbus Monday and has been recovering from a stomach virus and jet lag following his six-week journey halfway around the world to the border of Nepal and Tibet between China and India.
The unusually dry weather, which has made conditions more rocky than snowy and icy, led Allen to pull the plug on his summit attempt and embark on a hike, helicopter ride and a couple of plane hops back home.
“If anything they’ve been getting worse, or at least more dangerous,” Allen said today of weather conditions and the growing odds of an ice or rock avalanche. “I just decided it was not going to be the year. And, at this point, there’s some question as to whether anybody will summit.”
He said about 200 climbers remained at base camp as he was leaving, about half of those who arrived in April for the adventure of a lifetime. Major climbing company, Himalayan Expeditions, called it quits a couple of weeks ago, sending a “huge signal” to the rest of those on the mountain.
“I guess really what put me over the top was the fact that some of the sherpas (paid porters) on our team were not wanting to go back up” the mountain because of the potential danger, Allen said. “That just puts you in a really funny position.”
This ends Allen’s third attempt on Everest, with his first two tries in 2006 and 2009 unsuccessful because of illness and equipment malfunctions. He felt very good physically this year.
Allen said this won’t be his final trip to Everest, however, although he will skip next year because of his 35th wedding anniversary with wife, Terri.
And he wasn’t expressing much disappointment today despite the way things unfolded this time. He pointed to five people — sherpas and climbers — who have lost their lives this year on the mountain from falls and high altitude-related illnesses.
“I look at it and I think there were five widows and 11 orphans I counted, and I came home with all my fingers and toes and can go again,” Allen said. “When you look at it from that perspective, I have nothing to complain about.”
Since 2003, the Columbus businessman has been trying to reach the highest point on each of the world’s seven continents. He’s bagged five of them and has only Everest and 7,310-foot Mount Kosciuszko in Australia remaining.