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May 122017
 
2017 Summit Rope Team. Courtesy of Transcend Adventures

With the ropes set on Thursday, 11 May 2017, the floodgates were opened and the teams on the north side are not waiting. Most seem to be aiming for standing on the summit between 14-17 May.

This is a short post that I will update throughout the day if news comes in.

UPDATE 3: 1st non-Sherpa Summit

From Transcend Adventures: Summit!!!! At approximately 8:20 a.m. Beijing time, an Indian along with his Sherpa reached the summit of Mt.Everest! The Transcend Adventures Indian Team records the first summit of the season! Details of the climber and Sherpa will be shared in the successive posts. Stay tuned!

UPDATE 2: Transcend Adventure team at 2nd Step at ~ 2:00 am

The Indian team of teenager was reported to be pushing hard for the summit and was at the 2nd Step around 2:00 am. Sherpas on their overall team fixed the ropes to the summit earlier this week. No word on weather, but was reported windy, so they are showing their stuff with this effort.

UPDATE 1: Teams turning back due to bad weather.

Well it looks like Saturday, 13 May 2017 is not a great summit day on the north side for some teams.

Iowans for Everest have returned to basecamp. They posted:

We are physically and mentally ready for the grueling summit push, unfortunately the mountain is not yet ready for us. Bad weather on the summit (wind) has forced us back down to base camp. Well, I (Andy) came back down today. John was not feeling well when I did an overnight at 23k last week, so he is making up for lost time tomorrow by sleeping at the North Col and then heading back to base camp the next day (14th). We will wait for the next weather window at base camp. Frustrating, but this is all part of high altitude mountaineering.

George Kashouh with Summit Climb confirmed the bad weather with their team not even trying today:

Everest Update! I didn’t want to mention for this reason, but we were aiming to summit on the 16th of May. Some nasty weather has moved in so our plans have been delayed. Some other teams had gone up to ABC but had to leave and come back to base camp. At the moment, the weather looks nasty as far as we can see. One trustable forecast shows the pressure holding steady until May 24th. Hopefully that will change because at the end of May the monsoons roll in and after that it’s expedition over. The waiting game begins!


Weather

The winds were predicted to increase on both sides but as we have seen this year, the north can be calm while gales on the south.

It appears that several forecasts calls for what I would term short moments of low winds but nothing like a long periods i.e. 3-5 days or a week. So this means that teams would have to brave high winds to be positioned at the high camps and when/if that “moment” arrives, climb hard and fast to summit and get back down equally fast.

This will be a real test for those climbing without supplemental oxygen.

This is a hard ask for any climber, but especially the inexperienced ones with only Kill under their belt, or a climber who is already tired starting off. Climbing in medium to high winds takes a ton of extra energy plus frostbite is a real risk.

Let’s hope that the winds are calm now on the north and relax on the south as a lot of plans are being made right now.

South

Nothing new on the Nepal side other than now there is talk of a brief low wind moment on 14 May – Sunday where the Sherpas might be able to reach the summit on that side. If they do, you can bet there will be a few climbers on their heels.

Camp 3 at 8300 meters on Everest North Side. courtesy of Transcend Adventures

Camp 3 at 8300 meters on Everest North Side. courtesy of Transcend Adventures

North

It appears the majority of the teams on the north are planning to stand on the summit between 14-17 May. A few teams seem willing to patiently wait at base camp for the next window, whenever that may develop.

The Indian team Transcend Adventures seems to one of the first to set off targeting a summit on the morning of 13 May 2017 Everest time.

They had 23 teenagers supported by 23 Sherpas. I do know directly from the team that they split in two groups but indication of how ammy on this first push. I have reached out to them for more information but they posted:

Summit Push: Team 1 of TA Indian Team is heading towards Camp 3 (pic). They will start the summit attempt tonight.

7 Summits Club posted they are aiming for 18 May:

Expedition leader Alexander Abramov Everest from Tibet.
Guys, we go up to the assault of Everest in an hour.
The first group under the leadership of Abramova Aleksandra. Briman Daniel Kravt Eugene, Aznaur Akka, Tebiev Valery, Kohanskiy Yanush. Plan today, May 12 – Middle Camp. 5800. Tomorrow, on May 13 – ABC. The day after tomorrow, on May 14 – 15 May 7000. Then – 7700m. Then, on May 16 – 17 May 8300. Then the top and descend to 6400. The second group led by Larina Sergeya all day later.Wish us luck!

Summit Rope Team

Transcend posted the names of the Sherpas who got the rope to the summit:

1. Lakpa Nuru Sherpa, Sirdar, Thame Village
2. Passang Chhiri Sherpa, Thame Village
3. Fura Tshering Sherpa,Thame Village
4. Mingma Nuru Sherpa , Thame Village
5. Karma Gyaljen Sherpa, Phortse Village
6. Lakpa Gyalgen Sherpa, Thame Village
7. Tenzing Chhotar Sherpa, Thame Village
8. Samduk Dorjee Tamanag Pangboche
9. Lakpa Nuru Sherpa Phortse Village

2017 Summit Rope Team. courtesy of Transcend Adventures

2017 Transcend/Arun Sherpas. courtesy of Transcend Adventures

Lhotse

I am getting multiple reports and communications that for the second year in a row, rope fixing on Lhotse is a big problem. Last year, when I was supposed to climb Lhotse and was there, the rope never got fixed after an Arun Sherpa died in a fall while fixing the rope. That tragedy discouraged any of the other teams form finishing the job and no one summited Lhotse in 2016.

Now, it appears that between the bad weather and Everest taking priority, Lhotse once again is playing second fiddle. The ropes are at Camp 4, but that last section is a steep, narrow rock fall prone gulley where if you ever needed a fixed rope, that would be the place.

Word has it that some individual climbers with a couple of strong Sherpas will take the lead and get ‘er done.

Lhotse had 100 permits issued for Lhotse With some of those being double for Everest/Lhotse so there are perhaps 50-70 Lhotse only climbers.  A lot of people standing around waiting …

Al Hancock, climbing on Lhotse said:

The weather continues to hammer us every afternoon with an abundance of snow. The ropes are in as far as camp four but we still need them up the couloir. For now we are sitting tight at base camp until the weather turns in a favourable way

Best of luck to all going for the north summit now and over the next few days.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

  3 Responses to “Everest 2017: North Side Teams in Full Summit Blitz – Update 3”

  1.  

    Thanks Alan, excellent information.

    Let’s hope for good climbing weather.

    Best of luck to the teams!

  2.  

    Alan – the weather notwithstanding, are teams not allowed to go on their own schedule? Are they legally required to wait for the rope fixers to finish, on the two main routes, north and south? Is this the new norm on Everest? Or is it just bad form to pass the rope fixers, even in a safe and respectful manner?
    Exciting days now, really appreciate your efforts in the updates. Thanks
    Kevin Cody

    •  

      Short of not having a permit 🙂 , there are almost zero rules on either side of Everest. But, yes, the tradition is to respect the rope fixers by not climbing while they are working . This was the source of the 2013 fight on the Lhotse Face.

      The obvious issues include kicking rocks down on top of them, or “getting in the way”, or distracting them.

      But I think it is more about pride. Also it is hard work involving a higher level of risk. Last year a Sherpa died when he fell down the Lhotse Face close to the summit of Lhotse while fixing ropes.

      They take rope fixing extremely seriously and those who are “chosen” to volunteer for this are paid a bonus and receive a lot of admiration by their peers. So it’s a big deal.

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