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May 082013
 
Everest from Pumori

Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse from Pumori Camp 1

For most people just climbing Everest is more than enough of a challenge. But for a few, they want more, and more, and more.

As you know by now, there are two other huge mountains that dominate the view of Everest climbers: Lhotse and Nuptse. Lhotse is the world’s 4th highest peak at 27,940′/8,516 m and Nuptse is 25,791′/7,861 m.

Nuptse is rarely climbed and is considered quite technically difficult and it’s South Pillar attracts the world’s best climbers. The main summit was first climbed on May 16, 1961 by a British expedition.

Lhotse has become very popular as a stand alone climb but recently has caught the attention of overachievers  :-) who attempt to link their summit of Everest with a direct summit of Lhotse. This is a remarkable physical feat given most people can barley drag themselves back to Camp 2 after their Everest summit attempt.

This schedule calls for climbing Everest, returning to the South Col for the night then the next day down climbing to the Yellow Band where they make a hard left and climb to the summit of Lhotse. Some will spend the night or a few hours at the high camp on Lhotse before making the summit push. In any event, two 8,000 meter mountains in 24 hours – nice.

Alpine Ascents guide, Garrett Madison, updated his plans to climb Everest and Lhotse this year:

I am very excited that Alpine Ascents is finalizing a Lhotse permit.  We have 4 climbers plus 2 guides who will be attempting “the double” this season!  Currently there are 6 documented ascents of Everest & Lhotse in the peak to peak crossing, we hope to double that number plus have the first Sherpa achieve this with us.

But for some even that is not enough. Kenton Cool posted today he wants to climb not only Everest (for the 11th time) but also Lhotse and Nuptse. Kenton made these comments on Facebook today:

In the last 24 hours the plan has formed and there is a chance that I maybe able to make use of the first weather window of the season. The next 4 days see’s relatively low winds up high (7500m and higher) and the group of Sherpas plan to fix to the summit of Everest and Nuptse in the next 2 days, after that there is a slim 24hour window when I hope to climb either Nuptse or Lhotse. After that the jetstream returns bringing those toe numbing unclimbable winds but then later in the month around the 16th or 17th the winds appear to drop again opening up more possibilities.

If my writing hasn’t confused you yet then I’m clearly improving, what I am trying to come to grips with is the fact that tomorrow morning at 4.30am I’ll leave basecamp and climb back to camp 2. What happens after that is somewhat in the hands of the gods, I’m hoping that I will be able to climb all 3 mountains without returning to Basecamp but for that I’ll need a bucket load of goodluck and a heap of good weather. I’m not even sure if its possibly to climb all three of these monsters in the manner that I hope, but surely thats one of the reasons to try.

There is an all womens team from Himex climbing Nuptse this year so the lines are fixed and the route established. The Himex newsletter had this update on their climb:

While most of the members and guides were ambling across to the bottom of the Lhotse Face, our Nuptse guide Francois as well as 11 Sherpas crossed the Western Cwm and climbed up to Nuptse Camp III to set up a tent and start fixing the rope. “It was very cold and exhausting to keep up with the Sherpas but I am very proud to say that we fixed the rope half way up the arête,” said Francois when he got back after about 10 hours on the ridge. “The start of the arête is quite tricky but it is a beautiful line – even the Sherpas say that.”

Best of luck to all these ambitious climbers.

Everest  Mid Week

With so many climbers resting at Base Camp or down valley, there is not a lot of news. High winds were reported yesterday high on Everest as the jet stream made a visit. The IMG guides posted this observation:

Max said the wind was really ripping up high on the mountain, with the “freight train” on the South Col audible all the way down at Camp 2!  The latest weather forecast has at least one more windy day coming, with a drop still predicted for the 9th/10th/11th. Down at Base Camp Greg reports that the rest of the climbers and sherpas had a good rest day today, enjoying the good food and thick air.

Alex Abramov, 7 Summits Club, made this note of the conditions on the north. They are back at Chinese Base Camp (CBC):

Weather forecast is disappointing, it promises a hurricane for 11-12 and 14-15 of May. So now we are getting ready to go down to 4200 to rest.

Fatality Update

The Sherpa who died after a fall on the Lhotse Face has been identified as Lobsang Sherpa, from Kharikhola. He was reported to be only 22 years-old and was working for Seven Summits Treks.

Dave Hahn, RMI, made this comment today:

Unfortunately, there is a somber feeling once again around the mountain. Another tragic fall occurred yesterday, killing a climber on the Lhotse Face. It isn’t our place to divulge details and I don’t wish to try to sensationalize Everest climbing by exploiting such sadness, but I’ll mention the incident in order to give proper credit to those who worked hard to make a bad situation better. Lam Babu was one of those who rushed up to the scene to render aid and who helped with the difficult job of retrieving the victim’s body which they then transported to ABC. Today, a helicopter pilot finished the job with another daring high altitude retrieval from 21,300 ft… making what was once phenomenal seem sadly routine, but in the process saving many climbers from the very difficult and dangerous task of carrying the victim down through the Khumbu Icefall.

A look Back

The BBC has an outstanding video with excellent pictures, video and narration on the gear used by the 1953 expedition. Well worth the 5 minutes if you follow Everest regularly.

Donation Fund

Michael Moniz along with IMG’s Eric Simonson have arranged to send donations to the family of IMG Sherpa DaRita Sherpa who died at Camp 3 this week after suffering from a cardiac event. IMG will arrange for all donations to be sent to his family in Nepal.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything



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  12 Responses to “Everest 2013: Everest is not Enough”

  1. Thanks Alan for covering.

  2. We have been in this industry for decades and never had any casualties. But this time lost a family member it’s horrible as anything. Thanks Alan for covering about everest as I have been following this news since couple of days trying to make sense what has happened while grieving but kept getting different story every time for some reason. We will never find out what exactly happen. Stay safe everyone treat the mountain with respect they are not forgiving.

  3. RIP Lobsang Sherpa. Good luck to all the climbers and Kenton,he truly must be mad! But huge props to him for daring,and I hope he achieves it! Alan thank you for the donations link for DaRita

  4. Alan, hi
    I don’t see you including Seven Summit Treks in your list of agencies supporting climbs thru south col! are they not reliable? any feedback? I believe they have some 15 climbers attempting Everest summit. Also you seem to cover only western climbers, their agencies and their updates…is it coz dat’s your mandate?

    • Hi Virendra,

      I only cover those guide companies that publish regular public updates. Seven Summits Treks does not to my knowledge. If they do, can you provide a link for regular updates? If they don’t provide information, it is difficult to cover them :)

      I cover Nepali companies like Asian trekking, Himalayan Ascent, Rolwaling, etc.

      I don’t have a mandate and this is my own site, not owned or funded by any company. I cover Everest each year for fun and to raise awareness around Alzheimer’s disease. If you get value from my coverage, I hope you will donate to any Alzheimer;s non-profit where you live.

      Thanks, Alan

  5. David Mauro says this about the death of Lobsang Sherpa:

    “This morning we learned the sad news of another Sherpa (not IMG) having passed. He was crossing the yellow band above camp 3 last night and stumbled. Though a fixed line was available, he had not clipped into it. He fell 3,000 feet down the Lhotse face. This set me to thinking about Mingma and his family with their own recent loss. I took a stick of incense up to the Puja Altar and left it there as an offering.”

    My speculation is that there is a confluence of economic and competition factors, team needs to make things move fast, and the sheer inconvenience of clipping and unclipping while carrying such heavy leads that contribute to Sherpas climbing without protection.

  6. Exciting to read Alan, I’m currently on a cycling expedition but maybe one day I’ll get my chance on the big hill. Good Luck!

  7. I read that some of these helicopter rescues are handled by Fishtail Air. One of the pilots profiled on their website is Simone More… http://www.fishtailair.com/team-fishtail.php

  8. Sadness and excitement hang around Everest at the moment. So sad to hear of another young life lost. Having three boys of my own I can try to imagine the grief of his family. As for Garrett and Kenton, whatever next. Good luck to them both. Cheers Kate

    • Thanks Kate no one should ever go through situation like this. We are absolutely shattered as anything.