Team after team pulled into Camp 2 on the Nepal side and Advanced Base Camp on the North. Some are going to the summit 18 May Thursday night looking to summit early Friday morning 19 May. The weather looks to be marginal and high winds are currently reported.
To try to maintain some kind or organization, for years I have called these summit pushes “waves”. I loosely define them as when a large group of teams try to summit during a somewhat defined weather window.
I called the last set of summits Wave 1 lead by Transcend on the north and the Gurkhas on the south.
Today is Wave 2 with 7 Summits Club on the north and Summit Climb on the South.
I expect Wave 3 to be when all the commercial teams now staged at camp2 move to the South Col and try to summit between 21-25 May
Of course, there are always independent climbers and small teams that squeeze in a summit attempt and I’ll note them as I can, but you can imagine how difficult it can be to track some of these teams, especially if they don’t want to get any publicity.
Finally, if there are deaths or serious injuries, you may not find me to be the first to report them. With all the communication technology on Everest, rumors get out quickly. My commitment is to report these tragic events only after I can confirm them and not based on hearsay. Also, only after families have been notified.
Happening NOW in HIGH Winds
Summit Climb is reporting their team left the South Col for the summit around 8:00 pm Thursday night.
Satori Adventures is also reported to be on their push Satori team on South. My friend Kuntal Joisher tells me they have a strong team comprising of 1 australian, 2 italians, 1 japanese, 2 indians. All very good climbers with 7000 and 8000 meter experience under their belt. They are supported by a strong Sherpa team with 1:1 sherpa ratio. All climbers are using Os.
Another company, Mega Adventures is also on their summit push.
As I said, there are at least nine of the major western guide companies currently at Camp 2.
Adventure Consultants sums up their situation at Camp2:
Now we are staged at Camp 2 we are in a better position to take advantage of favourable weather conditions when it occurs . It is important to be in the right place on the mountain when conditions improve, as we need a 5 day period to travel from Base Camp to summit. By staging at Camp 2 we reduce that to 3 days, so it’s easier to be opportunistic. Tomorrow we will rest here and study the weather forecast when it arrives in the afternoon.
Alpine Ascents left a day later than the others from EBC – Nepal. They are targeting the last couple of days in this theoretical weather window.
AAI does something most team don’t – spend a night at the South Col before and after their summit bid. They stock extra oxygen since it is at 8000 meters and it takes a bit more logistics plus a slightly longer weather window all at one of the highest prices on the south side at a minimum of $65,000. They feel this is safer and increase their member’s success. They have put 271 people on the summit, 0ne of the highest of all the commercial operators.
It will be interesting if the conditions support that strategy this year. Ben Jones reports in:
Our team has been patiently waiting in Basecamp for good weather over the last week and we are now ready to head up for our summit attempt. We will continue to monitor the weather over the next few days but our plan is to summit on the 24th. If the weather’s not looking good then we have some options of resting at Camp 2 until it does look good again. Right now we feel pretty good about the 24th or 25th. I will continue to update you as we go and then Lakpa Rita will be updating here as we begin the ascent from the South Col through the night.
If the weather cooperates we will go to Camp 2 tomorrow, followed by a rest day at Camp 2. Then we will spend one night at Camp 3 before heading to the South Col. Once at the South Col we will rest the following day before heading up to the summit sometime between 11pm and midnight beginning on the 23rd in the morning of the 24th for an early morning summit. The team is excited and ready to start the climb! Thanks for following us on this journey, and we will update as much as possible, so stay tuned.
7 Summits Club is on the move right now:
Alexander Abramov from Tibet: 31. Day on 17 May. Club expedition 7 Summits Mount Everest in 2017.
Today, our team had a rest – 3 days resting at base camp – once again emerged from the base camp towards the summit. Plan: climb to the summit on 22 May. We are now at 5800 tomorrow – ABC. Now Sergey Larin with three participants in the camp 7800 meters. Tomorrow they go to 8300 and in the night – in the assault.
Other team are moving from base camp to Advanced Base Camp and even higher. A few climbers are staying at base camp holding out for better weather, and probably fewer climbers on the route.
2017 Summit Experiences
There have been over 200 summits thus far, perhaps many more, so we are starting to get a good understanding of conditions high on both sides of Everest. Sounds like the conditions on the north side are very good this year and mixed on the south – even the Hillary Step. has changed!. The condition reports are unexpected with what we have seen thus far during the acclimatization rotations on both sides.
Sean James with Adventure Peaks was kind enough to give me his personal observations on their summit from the Tibet side on 16 May at 2:30 am. I specifically wanted to know about the wind and snow conditions:
weather in evening was perfect, still, thick cloud level at 7000 with heavy snow and high winds at north col. We were unaware of this, as we moved up remained very calm with light summit winds but very cold. We saw lights a long way down south side.
Apparent high winds 70kph at c2 later in day 16.00 which we again were unaware of. Spent an hour at north col packing and drinking. Heat was intense.
Descending from abc in thick snow fall and had to pull the ropes out as over 30cm had fallen. Seemed we skipped between weather problems.
Many differing forecasts at bc this year and causing summit attempts problems and short windows. The summit rope fixers did an exceptional job and this was the reason for our quick summit day plus we started early and only encountered a few people on the way down
and as for the snow conditions:
None at all on summit. Perfect neve, fast to move. Small traversing ledges but well protected. Only soft new stuff from north col down
Larry Dougherty with Adventure Ascents had to turn back at the South Summit on their push two days ago. He took this video at the South Col. I am struck by how much snow is there as it is usually quite barren. This is a good sign in that the more snow – within reason – means less chance of rockfall. Climbers never used to wore helmets climbing up the Triangular Face to the Balcony, but these days it is mandatory.
Larry gives this update on the heartbreaking decision to turn back at the South Summit:
A couple of other reports that stand out:
Jon Gupta posted a nice post-summit report where he, Mollie Hughes and Sherpas Lila and Lhakpa summited in a tiny window.
One of the best reports thus far was by Tim Mosedale on the south. He covers the state of the Hillary Step. Tim may be returning as we speak with his members. Tim is obviously in a good mood as he posted a very “informative” video on how to make coffee on Everest 🙂
OK, more information as available. Good luck all, especially those on their push right now the early minutes of 19 May. The winds are reported to be fierce at the moment on the south side.
Memories are Everything
Thank you Alan for the updates…let’s all pray that everyone makes it back safely. As for the company Mega Adventures…they should update their site. George Mallory’s body was found on Everest in 1999 and their website states that his and Sandy Irvine’s bodies not found to this day. And I definitely would not classify Everest climbing it as easy/medium.
Did the climbers stuck in the fog at the lower altitude villages get out and return to base camp?
Yes they did. 🙂
Thanks Alan…great journalism.