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May 152019

UPDATE: 2 Deaths, a missing climber and 2 more needed helicopter evacuation off Kanchenjunga. Over 32 Everest summits on Thursday, May 16,2019, morning. 60+ Thus far.

We have more summits on Thursday, May 16 and this may be the all for a few days as the jet returns. Teams on both the Nepal and Tibet side are leaving base camps in a few days targeting May 23-26 as their summits day.  But there two Indian climbers who have perished on Kangchenjunga

Big Picture – A Bit of a Wait for Tough Climbing Conditions

I posted this yesterday but bears repeating.

Weather Outlook

I reached out to yet another world-class weather forecaster for his views on these windows. Marc De Keyser is well known throughout the climbing world for being one of the most accurate forecasters not only for mountains but also for the Antarctic. This is his view for Everest over the next week or so:

it has sure been an interesting season, weatherwise. And actually it still is. In my forecast this morning i highlited the presence of the subtropical jet stream (SJT), meandering from East China via central Nepal, NW India across the Indian Ocean towards North Africa. This feature dominates the weather conditions over the Himalayas for this period, probably till the 23rd or 24th of May.

The STJ will constantly be in the vicinity of the Himalayas: the good side of this is that the air mass does not become very unstable and it is unlikely that we will get any significant convective development (thunderstorms) during the next week – so pretty good atmospheric will prevail. However the proximity of the jet generates a situation where it is likely that the +8000mr wind has to be taken in account almost every day again.

I am pretty sure that on the 17th and the 18th wind will be far out of limits, where on the 19th the wind becomes again a bit weaker but still generating an uncomfortable feeling. And that is what i expect also for the period beyond the 19th. Winds varying around 20kt: not strong enough to cancel the climb but not weak enough to be pleasant. So i expect that it is going be tough.

Of course we all know that long range forecast are always prone for significant changes. Lets hope everyone stays safe and no significant accidents happen.

Slow Moving

In watching the climbers on Thursday morning, they moved well. If you want to understand how they are moving, this short clip from Cory Richards does a good job of showing and explaining … and remember he is climbing without supplemental oxygen, something that less that 3% of the almost 9,500 Everest summiters have done:

New Route Update: Last rotation of Acclimatization Complete

This video illustrates the reality of altitude…Climbing. Up. Hill. Slowly.

Topo and I descended from our final acclimatization rotation yesterday, seen here, and are recovering in Shegar, Tibet (altitude 14,000ft/4300m). Many have asked what the mask is that we are wearing, so here is a brief explanation:

We all loose moisture with every exhale. And being we are at altitude, which is inherently dehydrating, every drop of hydration matters. Moisture loss and dehydration can cause diminished blood flow to the muscles, reduced kidney function and fatigue (to name a few). In addition, low humidity can cause dry nasal passages which can result in the body being more susceptible to viruses and infections. Wearing a mask helps us to retain moisture and combat dehydration at a slower rate.

If you haven’t seen already. Take a gander at my instagram stories. It gives a good understanding of the winds we’ve been experiencing. @estebantopomena and I are looking forward to blue skies and little wind soon. Until then…rest and recovery.

Nepal – Summits

Summits for May 16

Summits on Wednesday, May 16, 2019 for a Thursday summits :

  • Ascent Himalaya had a good day with several people on top including Thomas Lone who summited at 4 am and Didrik Ground Dukefoss a bit later! Great job!! and several other climbers are near the summit around 7 am Nepal time including Rohit Shrestha – a friend from Colorado.
    • AH Everest Expedition 2019Team has successfully summited this morning approx 6:30 am and safely reached back to camp 4.We would like to Congratulate all our members and our Sherpa for their hard work for making it successful.
      1.Thomas Erling Lone
      2.Haakon William Skog Erlandsen
      3.Didrik Bakke Dukefoss 🇳🇴
      4.Yishu Sun 
      5.Rohit kumar shrestha
      6.Tsering Pemba Sherpa
      7.Danurbu Sherpa
      8.Angduk Sherpa
      9.Pasang Tenzing sherpa
      10.Lakpa dorjee Sherpa
      11.Tshering Dawa Sherpa
      12.Pasang yella Sherpa
  • Kenton Cool with Michael Lavelle summited along with Dorjee Geljen Sherpa, Kam Dorjee Sherpa, Tenze Sherpa  at 3:15 am!!! They are back at the South Col according to Garrett Madison.
  • South African Saray N’kusi Khumalo reached the summit of Mt #Everest at about 09:15 this morning.
  • Seven Summit Treks International Everest Expedition 2019 Spring:5/7
    [Climbing Members : Summiteers:] 

    1: Noel Richard Hanna (leader) – Ireland
    2: Jenifer Shirley -Ireland
    3: Seamus Sean Lawless- Ireland
    4: Saray N’ Kusi Khumalo – 🇿🇦(first Black African Lady to summit Mt Everest).
    5: Dalip Singh Shekhawat – Canada
    6: Ravi Thakar -India
    7: Yaser Mohammad Khan -USA
    8: Mark Robert Parella – USA
    [Sherpa guides ]
    1: Temba Bhote -Sankhuwasava
    2: Namgya Bhote -Sankhuwasava
    3: Denduk Bhote – Sankhuwasava
    4: Mingma Thinduk Sherpa- Makalu 9., Sankhuwasava
    5: Pasang Gelu Sherpa- Juving, Solukhumbu
    6: Pasang Dawa Sherpa – Solukhumbu
    7: Fursang Sherpa – Waku 04, Solukhumbu

May 15

On May 15, Wednesday, Seven Summits Treks who are the main Guide for the Chinese market in Nepal reported that there were 15 summits, some as late as 2 pm. Sherpas not named.

1) Ping Wang (Leader) – China
2) Qiu Zu- China
3) Jiang Yang – China
4) Liu Ping (female) – China
5) Luo Rijia – China
6) Rui Junjian – China
7) Fuan Wang – China
8.) Xia Hongwei – China
9) Ye Gesiji – China
10) Ze Yong – China
11) Yang Zhang (female) – China
12) Che Lingping – China
13) Cui Zhouping – China
14) Gexi Yangchu – China
15) He Honghu -(female) – China


The most experienced operators are holding for the next window and will coordinate their climbs to, hopefully, mange the crowds. IMG’s Greg Vernovage, a veteran of these climbs sums it up with:

Our Everest climbers and sherpas are all doing well and having a good rest at EBC. I showed everyone the weather maps and forecasts, which have another system coming through over the next few days with the winds up high predicted to increase again. So, we are waiting a bit longer.

As you can imagine, everyone is anxious and excited to get geared up and climbing, but they are showing great patience and are sticking together. It is easy to get restless and make a move earlier than we should which might put us into winds that are not favorable. This team has shown from the very beginning that they are willing to work hard to put themselves in position to summit and be patient and flexible enough to wait for the right time.

Tibet – Quiet

Teams are prepping for a post May 20 effort but are frustrated by the Chinese rope fixing team.

Others 8000ers


Altitude Junkies was schedule to go for the summit. No updates.

Kanchenjunga Rescue – Unsuccessful

It appears the two Indian climbers have died on Kanchenjunga but this was the last update from Dream Wanderlust, an Indian website that tracks all things Himalayan, especially for Indian team:

The Sherpa team, trying to rescue two injured Indian climbers Biplab Baidya and Kuntal Karar, have returned to Camp-4 of Kangchenjunga, as reported from the Base Camp. Even after the herculean rescue operation, performed by Nirmal Purja and his team yesterday, their sincere effort yielded no positive outcome yet. Unesh Zirpe, leader of the expedition team Giripremi from Base Camp says this morning,”There is almost no hope that any further rescue is possible bring Biplab and Kuntal back to Camp-4 at this stage.” Similar version was affirmed by the head of the Agency. Both of the sources have confirmed that their is almost no possibility that any further rescue effort can save these two lives.

Of note, Global Rescue is working closely with Seven Summits Treks and Nims after their ill-fated work on Annapurna. They informed me:

Hi Alan. I’m sorry to report this sad news. An excerpt from our operations team: At 2124h ET, Peak Promotions contacted Global Rescue to report that both of the climbers on Kangchenjunga were found deceased by the sherpa rescue team. This was later confirmed via phone call with Peak Promotions. Global Rescue extends its deepest condolences to the climbers’ families.

My condolences to their families, friends and teammates as well.

Another Missing Kang Climber and 2 others in trouble

Rodrigo Vivanco from Chile went missing above Camp 4 on the descent and according to Pasang Sherpa, Director of Peak Promotion. “Two Indian climbers and a German mountaineer who also suffered from serious frostbite will be evacuated from the high camp as early as possible,” source

Note: the air temperatures have been very cold this season.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything!

  3 Responses to “Everest 2019: Summit Wave 2 Update and Recap, Kang Deaths – Update”


    Hi Alan, any word on Seamus Sean Lawless who was on Noel Hannas` team and reached the summit this morning. May he be found safe and well.


    First of all congratulations all of the climbers to success their summit of Everest.
    Especially I would like to give big congratulations to mine good friends Kenton cool to his 14 times summit and Dorjee Gyaljen .


    Alan,I was wondering the same the same thing as Frank Rich. Very sad to hear about the 2 Indian climbers.