This is a brief update today as the majority of teams on both sides are resting up at their respective base camps or lower. However it appears the forecast for calmer weather materialized as Sherpas on the Nepal side reached the Balcony with the fixed ropes. And in a curious move the illegal Everest climber was posting on Facebook his every move.
Ropes to Balcony
The Director of the Expedition Operators Association, a working group of Everest guide companies based in Kathmandu, posted that the rope fixing has progressed nicely today.
Damber Parajuli said:
Today the rope fixers were able to fix rope to the Balcony. Tomorrow they hope to leave S Col at 03.00 to fix to the summit. Good luck to all !!!
On the Tibet side, work is underway to get ropes and anchors to Camp 3, 8300 meters, for the Sherpas to begin setting the route to the summit.
Multiple Summit Waves
The teams seem to be forming into at least three major groups on the Nepal side and a scattergram on the North.
Today, 9 May, on the South side climbers are staged at Camp 2 and a few already at Camp 3 waiting for the ropes to be fixed all the way to the summit.
Tradition and respect for the rope fixers calls for no foreigners to climb with them as they reach the summit. There have been exceptions. David Tait climbed with the Sherpas for a couple of his summits. Kenton Cool has shadowed them as well. And Willie Benegas was infamous for working alongside the Sherpas.
Of course, crowding the Sherpas was partly to blame for the 2013 conflict when climbers were on the Lhotse Face the same time the rope fixers were setting the lines. Harsh words were exchanged and the rest is history.
As I covered in my recent post How to Manage the Everest Crowds, there are four basic strategies:
- Get out early
- Go Late
- Goldilocks Timing
- Break into Small Sub Teams and Go Fast and Nimble
The wildcard will be when the large teams go and if they break into smaller sub teams or make one huge push. Usually the expedition leaders discuss their plan so as to spread out the climbers.
On the north, climbers are usually a bit more patient to wait until the ropes are in, the winds are low and the temps a bit warmer. Unlike on the south with the Icefall Doctors ending maintaining the ladders in the Icefall which brings a firm end to the season, the Tibet side climbers can climb well into June or until the monsoons move in.
For the north the total human number appears to be about 306 and helps frame the difference. Everest south now appears to have 373 Everest permits plus about the same number of Sherpas for 746 nearly double the north.
Blue Skies Ahead?
This computer generated model suggest low winds at the summit for the next week. Other forecasters are suggesting a period of high pressure on top of Everest that should usher in good conditions. The general rule of thumb is not to climb to the summit with winds over 30 mph, about 50 kph. Of course this is a guideline that some will ignore.
Climbing with No Money
The South African who was apprehended at Everest Base Camp climbing without a permit was not really hiding.
It appears Ryan Sean Davy , fully understanding he was climbing illegally, was publicizing his climb on Facebook. He defended his climb under the auspiciousness of “I was ashamed that I couldn’t afford the permit” and “My main incentive for being on the mountain was to help anyone who might have been in trouble”.
Given how unusual this is, I thought I would post his explanation in full so you can make your own decision on his approach. Take a read and cast a vote on the poll:
This news is probably going to make a lot of people upset with me and I really hope you’ll all forgive me. I’m willing to be as accountable as I know how but my Everest expedition has taken a very bad turn. I am going to be honest in saying that when I arrived at Base Camp it became evident that I didn’t have nearly enough money for a solo permit because of hidden costs and even if I did they would have declined it because I had no previous mountaineering experience on record. I was ashamed that I couldn’t afford the permit after all the help, preparation and what everybody had done for me during my training, it would have been a total embarrassment to turn around and accept defeat because of a piece of paper. So I took a chance and spent the little money I had on more gear to climb and practice on the surrounding peaks for acclimatizing in preparing for a stealth entry onto Everest.
My main incentive for being on the mountain was to help anyone who might have been in trouble since every year there are so many fatalities. In one incident 40 climbers walked right past a dying man who was pleading for help. He inevitably died because all the climbers were fixed on the Summit and didn’t want to get distracted. If I could at least have helped one person it would have made a difference, that would have been my Summit. Unfortunately the system caught up with me and I was eventually captured by the mountain Orks after 2 entries into the Ice Falls and managing an ascent of 24,000ft. Expedition companies have no time for wanna be Everesters with no money so someone turned me in. I was harassed at basecamp to a point that I honestly thought I was going to get stoned to death right there. I’m not even exaggerating. I was treated like a murderer. A true testimony of how money has become more important than decency.
My passport has been confiscated and I am being sent to Katmandu where I will face penalties, apparently I’m in for jail time. I am so sorry that I have let all my supporters down and those who had faith in me, but please believe me when I say I will find the means to finish what I started. Unfortunately it will have to be put on hold for the next season or until I am allowed! It’s a hurdle of which I will find a way over. I was so close… Good bye Himalayas, I will miss you????
To all my close friends and family who I know will want to jump in and rescue me by paying the exorbitant 5 digit $ fines or bail fees, please I beg you, Do not! This was my doing and I took the risks, I am accountable. I would feel really really bad if someone baled me out for something I did on my own accord. This will pass as everything else does in life and I will return for a second attempt! I love all those who have loved and supported me, you know who you are????
Legal Summits Soon!
OK, this is the week many have been waiting for. Hopefully the weather will be stable and the teams will spread out thus avoid any issues with backups.
Memories are Everything