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May 132019
 

After a series of frustrating delays the rope fixers made progress on Monday, May 13, 2019. Climbers reached a season high point on both sides as well. Several are going for a summit bid on May 15/16. A Lhotse bid started midnight May 14.

Headlines

Even though gusty winds still reported on Monday, the rope fixers on reached  7,650-meters/25,100-feet on Tibet side and to Balcony at 8,400-meters/27,500-foot on Nepal side. Several teams are in position to go for the summit as soon as the ropes reach the summit, probably Tuesday, May 14 on the Nepal side and a couple days later in Tibet.

I’m seeing multiple teams talk about a summit push leaving the South Col the evening of May 15, Wednesday, and summiting the following morning around dawn on May 16. However, the jet is forecasted to return soon so this window will be dangerously short pushing most teams to look at the next one, sometime after May 20th . May 25 appears to be the best day according to some forecasts.

There are still many teams taking a holiday from base camp but are prepared to return quickly. Unlike the old days circa 2010, teams charter helicopters for a 12 minute flight instead of the 3 day walk between base camp and Namche!

Nepal – Lhotse First

Over on Lhotse, Imagine Nepal’s Mingma Sherpa left for the summit at midnight Tuesday, May 14th. They are fixing the ropes to the Lhotse summit, separate from the fixing on Everest. There are two Greek and one Pakistani climbers. If they summit, they will be the first from their countries. Mingma noted the conditions were “clear and calm with bright moon without any cloud.”

1. Dawa Gyalje Sherpa-Rolwaling
2. Kili Pemba Sherpa-Rolwaling
3. Pemba Chote Sherpa-Thame
4. Ang jangbu Sherpa-Thame
5. Dendi Sherpa-Solukhumbu
6. Tamting Sherpa-Rolwaling
7. Dawa Tenzing Sherpa-Rolwaling
8. Gao Li- China
9. Mr Li Xiaolin- China
10. Ms Christina Flampouri-Greece
11. Mr Antonios Sykaris-Greece
12.Mr Sirbaz Khan-Pakistan

Everest Ropes

Madison Mountaineering‘s Garrett Madison who is hosting/managing the rope team gave this update:

Today our team was resting in base camp while our Sherpas, our advanced team of eight climbing Sherpa, were up at the South Col/Camp 4 (7925m/26,000ft) and were fixing ropes up to The Balcony (8440m/27,700ft) today. We are hoping for good weather tomorrow. Hopefully, they can continue fixing and maybe even make it all the way to the summit and have the route opened up on Everest here on the south side.

Teams that are talking about summit bids this week (15/16) include:

  • Climbing The Seven Summits’s private team
  • Ascent Himalaya
  • Myrmidon Expeditions with Kristie Ennis
  • Seven Summits Trek’s Indian Team

Stocking the Camps

Before 99% of the climbers make their summit bid, oxygen must be carried to the high camp. IMG said they have all their cylinders at the South Col and posted this impressive photo from Sunday. Note you cannot see the true summit from the South Col, only the South Summit at 28500′ – 8690m

Panuru Sherpa on the South Col stocked with oxygen for IMG’s summit bids. The Triangular Face and route to the Balcony are behind him. Courtesy of IMG

Tibet – Ropes to 7650m

There are 6 climbers with different objectives all doing an acclimatization rotation on the Tibet side. They are shadowing the Chinese rope fixers and got permission to go a bit higher on Monday. We have several reports:

Alpenglow Expeditions has one member, Jennifer Spence,  trying to summit Everest in 14 days, home to home.

@roxymtngirl is attempting the fastest ever #lightningascent of Everest! ⚡️🏔 Her objective is to climb in 14 days door-to-door from the United States ⌚️💥 Roxanne will be climbing in a 1:1 ratio with our guide @lydiabradey, the first woman to summit without oxygen. Roxanne has arrived in Tibet and she and Lydia are traveling to base camp together. If logistics and weather align, the team could be going for a summit push next week. You go girls!

Adrian Ballinger gave me this update for their Research team who are on an acclimatization rotation:

At 25000 feet (c2) and back to cell service. Weather a bit windier than forecast. 50k gusta making it a solid hard work afternoon! We also had a strange cloud all day. But hey! Winds predicted to subside; we still hope to move to 8300 tomorrow. Ropes only made it to 7650 today. We went another 50m higher with our kick ass Sherpa leading the way

Also on this team is Jake Norton:

Sometimes you have to earn your keep here on Everest. Our team of 6 pushed through some pretty good wind, snow, and cold up to 7650m on the North Ridge today, where we’re now cuddled in tents putting in calories. Huge kudos to the CTMA rope fixing team who pushed the route to just below our camp, and to our tough-as-nails Sherpa team who got tents up for us here, plus oxygen, stoves, and other supplies. It’s a huge team effort up here, and now we’re a lonely little team of 6 enjoying an afternoon up high.

The whole time going up, as my face was Shredded by windblown snow and cold, I couldn’t help but think of the 1922 expedition, when (if memory serves) Mallory, Norton, and Somervell pushed up to establish their Camp V in rough conditions, battling the famous wind of the North Ridge to hack out a tiny platform in the lee of the Ridge just a few hundred feet below us. And, they didn’t have down suits, fancy oxygen, nice tents, or solid stoves. Nothing to whine about for all of us!

New Route Update

Cory Richards and Topo Mena are using Alpenglow logistics. They are with Adrian on this rotation. Cory updated their plan:

New Route Report Update: Topo and I have departed from ABC and have arrived at the North Col. Our plan is to be up here for the next 2 days, touch 8000m (26,000ft), sleep high, and get this last rotation of acclimatization in the bag.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything!

  3 Responses to “Everest 2019: Ropes Make Progress, Lhotse Bid Underway NOW”

  1.  

    Hi Alan, it’s reallt difficult to concieve the scale of goods required up there. How many oxygen bottles does each climber require? What do they weigh and how long does it take the Sherpas to get it all up there? That picture shows a mountain of oxygen bottles, i’m quite astounded,

    •  

      Yup, this is Everest. The bottles in the picture are proprietary design used buy IMG. They weigh about 17 pounds but last much longer as they hold more Os than the standard 6 pound cylinders. In today’s commercial model, the bottles are carried up by the team’s Sherpas and back down, usually from Camp2 on the Nepal side and the member carries, and uses O’s, back to C2. As for how many, it depends but the number is going up. It used to be 4-5 but now can be 6-7 or even 8 because many teams run at 4-6 lpm instead of 2 lpm in the “old” days. There is a huge effort not leave bottles on the mountains and this year a massive program to clean up the mountain.

      •  

        Wow, thats quite incredible. It would be interesting to know how many bottles are actually left on the mountain.