“Welcome to Base Camp!” has been heard over and over this past week. Teams are arriving at EBC daily and on the Tibet side, the roads are full with SUVs driving to CBC. Look for first foreign climbs into the Icefall this next week. But first what happened last week? Each weekend during the season I’ll post a “Weekend Update” summarizing the main stories for the past week.
First an update on the comms situation at EBC. It seems that EverestLink is having problems getting their system to be reliable this year. This happens occasionally but they usually get it going.
Over on the China side, climbers are also getting their communications set up. Most will buy a SIM card for their smart phone. I’m being told that China Mobile worked well but the China Telecom SIMs didn’t work in phones of both US and European climbers. Not sure what the issue is. Also, I’m told the rates are very reasonable. Most people use WhatsApp for communicating.
Nepal Tourism has updated their permit count to 351 climbing permits to non-Sherpas as of 12 April. 22 of the total permits went to Nepalis. I expect the total will go even higher, perhaps to 375. Assuming a 1:1.2 member to support ratio, this suggest over 825 people climbing Everest just from the Nepal side. If we assume an 70% success rate, this means 577 summits – a record for Nepal.
In 2018, there a total of 347 foreigner permits issued and a total of 562 overall summits (including support.) Of the 784 people who went above base camp, the success rate was 71%. Of those who summited, it breaks out by 296 High Altitude Workers (aka Sherpas) and 266 foreigners (aka members). There were 49 female summits and a bit of trivia, the success rate for female climbers stood at 80% while their male counterparts topped out at 70%. There was only one summit on the Nepal side that didn’t use supplemental oxygen and there were four deaths on that side, two during the ascent and two after the summit. All of this according to the Himalayan Database.
The weather continues to be a mix of bright sunny days and cloudy, snowy afternoons at times. Normal for mid April.
Building Base Camp
Arriving at base camp is special in many ways. Once again, Richard Cost sums it up nicely:
Everest base camp. Glad to be here, but at 17,600 ft your body is not quite sure what is happening.
With Everest Base Camp aka EBC on the Nepal side getting crowded, it also marks a transition. Adventure Consultants noted:
For us, arriving at EBC is the end of the trekking phase, as we look forward to the climbing phase of the expedition. Tomorrow we will have a Puja ceremony for us and our Sherpa team, held by a visiting Lama who is the father of one of our Climbing Sherpas. That will put us in a great position to continue our training and climbing.
These camps don’t just pop up but are result of weeks of work by the Sherpa teams to dig out tent platforms from the rocky glacier, erect the huge tents used for cooking, storage, dining and more then put up all of their sleeping tents plus those for the members. And after the season is over, the same Sherpas will take down everything, clearing the area of any trash only to return in six months for the rare autumn expedition or next year for the annual event.
The same thing happens on the Tibet side. 7 Summits Club’s Sherpas are also hard at work building their base camp. They boast:
The base camp of the expedition of the 7 Summits Club on Everest is certainly the best, most comfortable in the Himalayas. The accumulated vast experience in its organization allows the team of our Sherpas quickly and efficiently recreate it from year to year. Now in the base camp preparation works are finishing. By the arrival of the guests, that is, the main part of the expedition, everything will be ready – the camp will be provided with everything necessary…
EverestER notes they are busy already with patients:
As we settle in to our tents and meet our growing community, we’ve seen just over 20 patients in the first week of operations, with one evacuation for serious altitude illness.
They too had to build their base:
Lobuche is seeing a lot of summits. Both IMG and Climbing the Seven Summits aka CTTS have put climbers on the East summit as part of their overall acclimatization program.
Back to the Tibet side, Dave O’Brien of Summit Climb gave a brief update as they make the five day journey from Lhasa to CBC. The drive is shorter but they take an extra day here and there for acclimatization. Lhasa is at 3,600-meters/11,800-feet and CBC at 5,182-meters/17,000-feet
Hi This is David O’Brien Everest leader. We’ve driven up onto the barren dusty Tibetan plateau today over a high pass of 5200m. Well stay in Tingri (4300m) for two nights to continue our acclimatisation. Tingri is a gritty, no nonsense, everything on a single kilometre strip of road sort of town. You really feel like your in Tibet. If the clouds part well see Everest for the first time; if not it’s a bit more shopping and a rest up in the surprisingly comfortable rooms.
The “Other” 8000ers
While everyone gets focused on Everest, there are serious efforts underway on several of the other 8,000-meter peaks.
Annapurna – Both Sides
An avalanche reportedly wiped out base camp around April 5th but there were no injuries and apparently didn’t stop progress. Nirmal Purja with his project to summit all 14 of the 8000ers in seven months, is working on Annapurna. He reports that have established Camp 2:
Good morning all from camp 2, Annapurna. This morning we have a bit of wind at the higher elevation, it’s noting significant but of course it does makes the difference on the performance of route fixing team.Shortly we will be heading up to set fixed lines upto camp 4 today. The fixing team is headed by myself and is composed of 5 other Nepalese extreme high altitude mountain guides/Sherpas; Mingma David Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa, Pemba thunduk Sherpa, Ang Gelu Sherpa, Pasang Dawa Sherpa.
And on the other side of Annapurna, Felix Berg and Adam Bielecki are attempting a new route on the Northwest Face. They will try it in alpine style suggesting no high camps. This will be their second attempt, the last one in 2017 Bielecki posted this impressive video of that effort:
Dhaulagiri – New Route
Horia Colibasanu along with Marius Gane and Peter Hamor are reported to be at Japanese Base Camp. They are attempting the unclimbed Northwest Ridge to the summit at 8,167-meters/26,794 feet. Their summit bid is planned for the May 15th-25th window.
Lhotse – South Face
Sung Taek Hong team is now at base camp. This is his sixth attempt to scale the face. Looking at the other side and the normal route, 66 permits have been issued for this spring for 8,516-meters/27,939-feet summit. Not an 8,000er but close, Nuptse at 7,861-meters/25,790-feet has 27 permits issued.
Altitude Junkies, fed up with Everest politics switched over to Makalu this spring. They begin on April 14. They won’t be done as there have been 53 permits issued for four teams. It is 8,463-meters/27,765-feet high. No updates thus far.
At last count 32 permits had been issued also on four teams for this 8,586-meters/28,169-foot peak that straddles the Nepal and India border. Monterosa Treks was scheduled to run a trip this spring. No updates thus far.
Standing alone in Tibet at 8,027-meters/26,335-feet, Monterosa Treks was scheduled to run a trip this spring. No updates thus far.
This next week, most teams will spend a few days reviewing skills on an “obstacle” course set up near EBC. They will cross ladders, rappel and climb near vertical ice walls all what they will experience in the Icefall. I’ll begin the coverage of actually climbing Everest assuming teams enter the Icefall for the first time. On the Tibet said, they will just be arriving at Chinese Base Camp aka CBC.
If this year follows suit, there will be no climbing on Thursday, April 18, 2019, in remembrance of the loss of 16 Sherpas in the Icefall in 2014 when an ice serac realized off the West shoulder of Everest.
Several times a day, I’m updating the team location table and tracking climber’s blogs (see sidebar). If you have a team not listed, please let me know and I will add them if I can track them. If you prefer not to be mentioned, please contact me. You can sign up for (and cancel) notifications on the lower right sidebar or check the site frequently.
Memories are Everything
Previous #Everest2019 posts:
- Everest 2019: Prayers Before Climbing
- Everest 2019: Avoiding the Icefall
- Everest 2019: First Days in Base Camp
- Everest 2019: Everest Base Camp!
- Everest 2019: The Trekker’s Summit
- Everest 2019: Leaving the Grass
- Everest 2019: Weekend Update April 7
- Everest 2019: When is a Rest day, a Rest Day?
- Everest 2019: Morning View and Prayers at the Monastery
- Everest 2019: Trek to Tengboche Monastery
- Everest 2019: Namche and Everest View
- Everest 2019: The Namche Hill
- Everest 2019: The Trek to EBC Begins
- Everest 2019: Weekend Update March 31
- Everest 2019: Kathmandu Gets Busy
- Everest 2019: Interview with Garrett Madison – A Leader on Everest
- Everest 2019: Stories to Watch This Season
- Everest 2019: Climbers to Watch
- Everest 2019: New Route Attempt on Everest
- Everest 2019: Welcome to Everest 2019 Coverage
Why this coverage?
I like to use these weekend updates to remind my readers that I’m just one person who loves climbing. With 37 serious climbing expeditions including four Everest trips under my belt and a summit in 2011, I use my site to share those experiences, demystify Everest each year and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease. My mom, Ida Arnette, died from this disease in 2009 as have four of my aunts. It was a heartbreaking experience that I never want anyone to go through thus my ask for donations to non-profits where 100% goes to them, and nothing ever to me.