There are no certain outcomes in the mountains. This is one of the reasons many of us go into the wild and often harsh alpine environments. Such a sentiment is easy to understand from the comfort of home, but when face to face with the inability to accomplish a goal for which one has trained and committed tremendous resources, it can be incredibly frustrating.
The forecast for yesterday actually looked OK, but the reality of conditions on the upper mountain was quite different that what had been predicted. Therefore, our Vinson team descended from high camp yesterday in high winds that kept them in camp until mid-afternoon and ultimately prevented them from having a chance to reach the summit of their mountain. The only opportunity they had to make a summit bid was the first morning after they arrived at high camp, and discussions among the climbers made it clear that pushing up on a day in which the weather was only marginally decent and without a rest day after climbing up the steep and difficult route from their previous camp, was not an appropriate decision for the team.
Since that first day at high camp, the weather has prohibited a summit attempt and the forecast for the next several days is similarly poor. The flight back to Chile was scheduled for today, but has been delayed due to excessive winds. The team gave the mountain a good effort, but conditions thwarted their ability to reach the summit. In a decade of expeditions to Mount Vinson, this is the first time we have been unable to reach the top, and while it is bitterly frustrating on many levels, the summit was beyond the control of the team.