Everest 2017: Ropes Near Summit, Climbers Staged

Lhotse Face in 2008

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.

Popular Everest

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.

Foreigners Support Total
South 373 373 746
North 136 170 306
509 543 1,052

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.

Courtesy of Mountain Forecast

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????

OK to climb Everest With No Permit?

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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.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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45 thoughts on “Everest 2017: Ropes Near Summit, Climbers Staged

  1. Hi guys

    So I’ve gone through all the comments and I must say, wow, lots of hate and judgment towards someone you don’t even know but I guess I put myself in that position when I decided to climb without a permit. I’ve discovered the climbing community is as unpredictable as the aviation world. I am certainly guilty of some of the judgements but not all, So I will attempt to defend myself a little if at all it matters to you. Read it, don’t read it, I don’t care but I certainly never intended on making any enemies. I am on my way to Katmandu from Jiri so I have some time to justify my actions if at all I need to. You guys of all people should know risk. I take it you are all mountaineers so risk is a part of your everyday life, I’m not a mountaineer but I do love to take risks, because it keeps me appreciating life and living it. To live by the “what if” factor I find to be disappointing coming from such experienced mountain folk like yourselves, who are accustomed to constantly living on the edge. I’m absolutely in awe of some of what guys have done. I did a bit of research on some of the names I’ve seen in the comments. Yeah a lot of bad things could have happened. I could have fallen in a crevice and disappeared forever, someone in front of me could have fallen in and I could have helped them out, a giant meteor could have taken out the whole of Everest and left a giant big void, but none of that happened and being left for dead is the risk I took, I would not have expected anyone to come to my aid. You above all people Allan having supported Alzheimer’s knows how fragile life is. Do we sit around and talk about experiencing life or do we just go out and do it knowing that it can be taken from us anytime, even if we can’t afford it. Do you think God will judge me for enjoying, admiring appreciating and sharing his majestic creation but having done it without a permit? I like to think not, He’s judgements are not as harsh as man when it comes to simple things like money or paper work, there is far more evil happening in the world, children being raped, abducted and sold for God knows what, murder, greed, theft, need I go on. In perspective, I think climbing on a mountain without a permit is not such a bad thing, unless of course, by what I’ve seen, you’re a mountaineer. I was a volunteer fireman for many years and I was constantly exposed to the concept that one second you can be sitting in a car with a packet of crisps on your lap laughing and enjoying your friends and the next second you could be dead in a head on collision. I listen to my inner voices and I live by what I hear, you can call me crazy, mental, maybe even stark raving mad but yes I couldn’t afford the permit but I wasn’t gonna let that stop me from experiencing something magical because you know what? Next week I could be dead and I don’t want to have regretted not doing something just because I couldn’t afford to. I’m not sure if you guys will understand that concept. Yes I was caught, but the experience can’t be taken away from me, that will go with me to the grave.

    It’s the difference to me saying I’ve been there to saying I wanna go and then one day I’m no longer here and the opportunity would be lost.

    Maybe none of you have been so low in your life where it’s the decision between a bullet through the head or taking a chance on something where there’s a small possibility of success, and maybe even a small possibility of changing someone’s life for the better. Contrary to what many of you think, I did actually want to do something good but you’re right to a certain degree, it was a selfish act. To help or save someone is more about making me feel good about me again. If I cared about the Summit then I would have made sure to register so that there would be proof but that does not interest me, never has. It’s the top of a mountain, there are gazillions of them throughout the world, I knew I would be making no difference in the world by me climbing to the top of Everest, how would that change the world in any way? it’s a personal act of self achievement, I was interested in what happens in between. So to answer some of your questions

    I made it to Camp 1, 24000 feet was a typo, I typed that message quickly while on the move because I thought they would take my phone, had I known that the press were going to use word for word I probably would not have typed anything. I had no idea this was such a serious offense. A friend on Facebook went ahead without my permisssion to set up the crowd funding, I have subsequently having it shut down, I’m not having anyone bail me out, this is my doing, I am responsible. Some would chuckle and say that I don’t even know the meaning of that word, I wouldn’t argue with you about that, but at the same time I cannot afford any fine, I’m not blessed financially but then money has never been an interest in my life. So I’m really hoping to negotiate some community service that way I can be put to good use. Jail cells are for people who are a threat to society, climbing on a mountain without the proper paper work does not make me a threat to society, ok, I know what a lot of you are going to say about that so I guess I put my foot in that one. Did I know the cost of the permit? Yes, of course I did, but I tried for months to swing some sort of deal with expedition companies, filming, carrying, cooking, whatever. Nothing came through, the cheapest I could get was $360000 by Asian trekking. As you know I would not have been able to get a solo permit because I had no experience on record so I was caught between a rock and a hard place. What’s the highest I had been before the Himalayas? About 11000 feet in Colorado. I know, it’s not high at all but as you know altitude differs from day to day depending on density altitude versus pressure altitude, and of course from individual to individual, depending on what they have eaten versus how much body liquid they have or oxygen on thirst blood. So I’m never sure why people always ask that question “How high have you been?” maybe it’s to assess if a climber knows how thin the air is and how heavy small items can become, also how quickly fatigue can set in. but it was pretty awesome to be at camp one looking up to the South Col, knowing I could be there in a couple of weeks. I do envy you guys having made it that high and have the absolute respect for those of you have have stood on the Summit. What an incredible achievement but my summit was not just about standing on the top. Don’t hate me, I didn’t harm you in any way, I assure you there are far worse things going on in the world, I’m just a guy with no money who wanted to do something amazing and not use money as a excuse not to do it! If you going to reply then please let’s try be civil, we’re all adults here, no reason for abuse, foul language or mockery, I assure you I will get what’s coming to me. I will pay my dues ? to all you climbers on Everest, best of luck and Godspeed!

    1. Thank you Ryan for your perspective. I believe you summed it up in your opening paragraph with “… but I guess I put myself in that position when I decided to climb without a permit.”

      For my readers, I will leave this thread open for a couple of days then close it. Please keep any future comments civil and respectful.

      Pleae feel free to take your comments over to Ryan’s Facebook page or email him from his website.

      The act is in the past, Nepal has made a judgment, readers have spoken, Ryan has responded… I am moving on to the rest of the Everest 2017 season with high hopes and admiration for those pushing their limits to summit.

  2. British ex-military veterans have a special nickname for this type of character – a ‘Walt’ or ‘Walter’ (after the fictional Walter Mitty character in the short story ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’)

    He is a fantasist. Nothing more nothing less. And now a criminal to boot. Well done Ryan.

  3. Hi Alan,
    Thank you for your time and energy developing and maintaining your website.

    I need an additional option on your poll. I would choose I really don’t care except I do care but…(see new option below LOL)

    ■ I know too little and wouldn’t presume to be have an intelligent opinion on the situation.

    Thanks again

      1. They lone anything negative full stop i’d say Alan.
        It’s not just exclusive to Everest 🙂

  4. I thought the name Ryan Sean Davy looked familiar. Turns out he was reading the blog 🙂 He asked Alan a question about how long he could stay in base camp with a TIMS card on 11/15/16 (See comments 5/31/16 Everest 2016: Season Summary – A Normal Season). Apparently back then he wanted to study wolves in base camp as opposed to his recent explanation of being on the mountain to help anyone in trouble. I thought I saw another comment where he asked Alan about ascending up one side of the mountain and descending down the other — pretty telling!

      1. Found his other post that I saw. It’s from the 2/17/11 entry “Comparing the Routes of Everest”. You can link to it from the 4/13/17 story “Everest 2017: Ueli Steck’s Everest Lhotse Project” in the first paragraph link “standard routes”. In hindsight, his questions to Alan (about ascending up one route and descending down another) and Alan’s response (the Chinese will not issue a permit) are priceless. Looks like this guy was planning his trip this fall with no plans to buy the permit. Unbelievable!

          1. What I find even more amazing is that he has a group of groupies on his page attempting to get a Go Fund Me account going. He broke the law. He got caught. He could have been killed, or killed rescuers due to his irresponsible behavior. He is fined. He deserves ALL of that and not a GFM to get out of trouble. You made your bed dude, you should lay in it.

    1. Wow T.Smith, what a find.
      And also being silly enough to post on his FB account, he isn’t the brightest spark.

  5. Fantastic coverage again this year thank you Alan.
    I would like to add to the Ryan debate.
    One of the things I think is important to remember is the fact that Everest is a sacred mountain to many and that permission to climb it is as much spiritual as by permit. Also can you Imagine the eco disaster if anyone could just turn up and have a go.

    1. “Sacred” and “permission to climb”……..please take a step back and think about what you are saying.
      Especially considering approximately 800 people are climbing it on an annual basis, not 1 or 2 individuals (teams) every 10 years. If it’s sacred, you can’t climb it, period!!!……..Machapuchare????

      “permission to climb” would be more appropriate.

      1. As you know Martin, Everest and many of the peaks in Tibet and Nepal are considered sacred by the Sherpas and Tibetans, regardless of the western influence.

        1. Hence the Puja ceremony. Quote Alan Arnette Everest 2013 “Part of the ceremony is to ask forgiveness for hurting Sagamartha with the sharp points of the tools. But the most important part is to ask permission to climb the mountain and for safe passage”

  6. I bought my permit, and worked for years to get ready for Everest — this guys is both a nutcase and a danger to others. I hope you take down his link, he seems like he’s looking for attention.

    1. Is not pretty much anyone and everyone who is at Everest looking for attention? Please name one person who is on the mountain who will not post to social media about their climb, or is doing it simply for “self-discovery.” In my humble opinion, Everest no Filter (Snapchat) with Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards last year is one classic example. Does not get any worse than that.

      ….and now, looking at the flip side:

      ……………Mugs had a recurring dream that he related often to his friends. In it he had just climbed a very challenging new route, sometimes alone, at other times with a partner, but the style was always IMPECCABLE: using neither pitons nor aid, he had done it quickly, leaving NO TRACE of his passage. Next in the dream, he went to a pub and was sitting in the corner when a group of climbers who had just done the same route came in. The climbers were toasting themselves about their seeming first ascent, and after joining their celebration Mugs would simply sit back and smile, taking joy in what to them, was an epic first ascent.

    2. David Tait……
      Alan Arnette….. etc…..

      Is not gaining “ATTENTION” one of the main components behind their mission.

  7. He says he was “turned in”. To whom was he turned in to? Is there some type of ‘police force’ at BC? Who has the authority to tell someone to leave the mountain?

    1. Yes
      And he wasn’t turn in, he was busted, then dealt with.
      Read the report 🙂

      1. Here’ what it says: “Expedition companies have no time for wanna be Everesters with no money so someone turned me in.”
        I can read, can you?

    2. He was a guest in Nepal, just like anyone who enters any country on a Tourist Visa. And if a law is broken, the Government of that country has full legal rights to prosecute, fine, jail, etc. Nepal law says you must have permit to climb Mt. Everest and in that permit it has rules that must be followed. If you are caught above Base Camp without a legal mountaineering permit, you can be fined 2X the price of the $11,000 permit, deported, jailed, banned from climbing Nepal of 10 years. There is a member of the Nepal Government at base camp who has full authority to enforce Nepal’s laws.

  8. There is a highly technical Irish term for such a person


    Yes I would like to be an astronaut and why should all that pesky education training and expense get in my way
    If I could only find a rocket to sneak onto…..

  9. He shouldn’t have been climbing anyway without the necessary experience! What makes he think he’d have the fitness and experience to rescue somebody?? He could well have been one of those fatalities he was talking about. A don’t believe he had no idea about the hidden costs…you don’t undertake a trip like that in ignorance, especially regarding the huge cost. I’m not in any way convinced of his story….

    1. Agreed Sarah A,

      If you look on his FB page, he has been hit with a $20,000 USD fine
      He will be jailed (so they say) until the debt is settled.
      His friends are rallying together to launch a “Fund Me” page to pay for the fine.

      All in all, what a total cock up!
      He went in cheating the system, to save money (for no other reason)
      And now its cost hime twice the amount, a black mark against his name and worse, it will be donations from others that will bail him out. Hardly what crowd funding is about.

      I can not believe the lack of contempt that is being posted there.
      It’s not like he found himself in this situation by accident.

      He is currently still walking from EBC to town
      Would not surprise if he tried a runner (even though they have his passport)
      He would not be welcomed by many Sherpa on this trek back.

      1. Completely agree. A ‘Fund Me’ page is a complete joke. He’s suddenly being made to look like the victim in all this!! He knew full well what he was doing and will certainly not be getting any sympathy from me (or you 🙂

        1. The sad part about this, is because of this guys completely irresponsible, disrespectful and selfish actions, there will be most likely be changes made around Permits and Checking process’s.
          Making it either more difficult and/or time consuming for future paying guests.

          Well at least the Nepalese Government have him in a corner now and stand to make some extra cash for their troubles 🙂
          Which would be nice if they used some of that money to put a big dinner on for the Sherpas 🙂

          I must admit, i do like their judicial system (or lack of) 🙂
          You’re caught, here is the fine, pay up the amount we think of and you can be released, your passport will be handed to you at the airport as you leave the country.

          Done 🙂

  10. Hi Alan.. From Sunriver, Oregon I have followed you for years and was so sorry about your leg injury. Your ‘dispatches’ this year are really terrific. I am sure due to more information coming from WiFi and the internet makes more and faster reporting. Watching a relative Brent Bishop who is set to summit soon. Alan I support your Alzheimers cause 100% and thank you for that as well as your outstanding Everest coverage.

    1. Thank you Ginny. Yes it been a good year. I have a bit more time this year to dig deep into the stories.

      I spend 4-6 hours a day to write the daily blog. And with Wifi at EBC and China Mobile on the North, more people are posting information but many are on their private social media pages so still hard to gleen public info. I will not post private or privileged info.

      Thanks for supporting Alzheimer’s research, as you know this is why I do this – full stop.

      I have Brent’s book and am trying to get to it so I can post a review. I’m only 50 pages in at the moment.

  11. On second thoughts, as this Ryan Sean Davy is a failing movie maker
    Struggling to get recognition and notoriety, i’m suggesting he has done this on purpose.
    What better stage to get your name out there across the world and get people looking.
    That is the way entertainment works now isn’t… It’s the controversy gets viewers.

    1. Had he even summited, there would have been No Certificate
    2. He would have been found out and banned from the Mountains for 10 years

    As for going there to help people??
    He was in hiding, travelling when people were not.
    How was he going to help? And by helping, he blows his cover.
    Was this the angle for new movie?
    Total fruadster looking to improve his online status.
    All while being a potential risk himself. I hate to see the final bill if he had to get rescued from the Ice Fall by a team .

      1. And a big thanks to you Alan
        For bringing an almost “Live” Mt Everest experience to those around the world.
        A very neutral and knowledgable commentator we have 🙂

        I didn’t mean to dwell on the South African freeloader.
        Your work and this site is about much more positivity than that.

        Keep up the fantastic work 🙂

  12. While I do not agree with the South African breaking the law, I do agree that being on Everest isn’t about how skilled you are as a climber, but about how much money you have in your bank account.

    1. Can’t support the notion that no climbing skills are needed to attempt Everest … and not require massive rescue … or live. Money alone does not buy experience, competency and good judgment.

      1. The point I was trying to make, and perhaps I did not make it well enough was that money is the overriding, determining factor when it comes to climbing Everest. Your climbing skills, or lack thereof, are secondary. Sure, if you do not have the climbing skills, you may well end up dying on the mountain, but money grants you the privilege to do so.

        I appreciate that the climbing industry helps a lot of people in Nepal, a country that is so poor, has few industries to speak of, and with a high rate of unemployment. So, to re-iterate, I absolutely do not support the actions of the South African in question.

        But I would ask the question: How much of the revenue is taken out of the country by the foreign operators? How much of the money disappears into the Swiss bank accounts of Nepali officials? How much of the piece of the pie does the combined Nepali workforce actually get?

        Sorry, for going off on a tangent there. =)

  13. Great Report Alan
    Re: No Permit Climber, Ryan Sean Davy

    Already known as a bit of a con-artist in his past.
    But to tread the path were local men put their own life on the line to create the route shows amazing arrogance and disrespect.
    And for him to right that rubbish about wanting to save people, come on!
    That is there for one reason only, to get a Crowd Funding page started to pay for his fines.
    More Con-Artist 101.

    He knew exactly what he was doing and i honestly can’t believe he thought he would get away with it.
    I can well imagine the anger other paying guests and the Sherpas would feel about a free loader.

    But, i do see the other side to this and that is the very $$$ fees, permits and restrictions.
    In the spirit of human endeavor, i think it is sad that a mountain (any mountain or area) is so controlled.
    If someone wants to solo it, let them go, but don’t expect a rescue or help if you get into difficulties.
    And they must take their own route, not the built route paid climbers use.
    Of course, this isn’t a workable model.

    What Ryan has done was premeditated and paramount to using a ski lift without a pass.
    And bragging about it on Facebook!
    Its all smiles until you get caught.

  14. That’s a story about a guy who is totally clueless.
    What he needs is access to the internet and do a little research on permits and their cost.
    And the consequences of not having one and trying to climb.

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