The bottom line is that at 17,500 feet, as the weather worsened around him and his snow cave, Lonnie called it and retreated down the mountain. As his third attempt, I can only imagine the frustration and heartbreak he must have as he made the decision to come down.
As I’ve written prior, reaching the summit is only 50% of the effort, you need enough energy and good weather to come back down. If from his vantage point he didn’t have or the other or both, then he absolutely made the right call. One must wonder if he’ll make another attempt.