China has closed Mount Everest.
Mount Everest is situated in the Himalayas on the border between Tibet (to the north) and Nepal (to the south). The Tibetan side of the mountain has been closed for some time to Westerners, nobody can get in or out of the area, let alone up the mountain. But as the torch climbs up and down the tallest peak on earth, there will be nobody to impede it or plant any Free Tibet flags at the summit. An American climber found with a Free Tibet flag at base camp got deported last week. They're not screwing around.
Chinese officials expect to reopen the mountain on May 10th at the latest... unless, you know, the torch gets delayed or something. All they're saying is that the torch will go up on a day in May when conditions are favorable. In the meantime, everyone else gets to play the waiting game.
They haven't begun quite yet-- the team is hanging out at base camp, waiting for storms to abate.
See that tiny little flame up near the tippy-top? No?
Well, you will on a day in May when the weather is favorable.
Also, man, if there's ever a sherpa hall of fame, I'm willing to bet the sherpa torch bearer guys are going to be in it.