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May 272019
 

While almost all the teams are packing up at base camps on both sides, a few are still aiming to summit and one did this Monday, May 27 morning.

Mike Hammil’s Climbing the Seven Summits‘ team lead by Casey Grom summited with no one else around!

They say the weather is perfect and they have the summit all to themselves! Everyone on top so 100% from CTSS for everyone who left Base Camp on a summit bid. Just confirming but 4 climbers, 3 guides, 9 sherpa: Mrika Nikqi – Kosovo Arianit Nikqi – Kosovo Ignacio Montesinos – Argentina Chris Kulish – USA CTSS Guides: Guide Casey Grom – USA Guide Tomas Ceppi – Argentina Guide Parkash Sherpa – Nepal

Update: It appears one of the CTSS members listed on their website as a successful summit died on the descent, 61 year-old American lawyer Chris Kulish. Reuters is reporting:

Christopher Jon Kulish, 61, scaled the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) peak from the normal Southeast Ridge route in the morning but died suddenly at South Col after descending from the summit, Mira Acharya, a Nepal tourism department official said.


Beautiful picture from Garrett Madison:
4 days ago I was savoring one of my favorite views, looking down the summit ridge of Mount Everest, a perfect morning and not many people on the route. Behind and to the left is #Lhotse the 4th highest peak. I’m very thankful that all of our team made it down safely and we are now back in #Kathmandu thanks to helicopter

  21 Responses to “Everest 2019: Summit Wave Recap 7 – Quiet Summits, Another Death”

  1.  

    Hi Alan – your work is appreciated! Just pointing out a small error, the CTSS Guide is Casey Grom, who also guides for RMI

  2.  

    Saw you on the Newshour tonight. Thank you as always for your balanced reporting.

  3.  

    I’m no mountaineer but I follow coverage on this blog every year. Can I just say that I find it troubling that CTSS’s blog and Facebook page still don’t mention Mr. Kulish’s passing? Instead, the blog proudly says that “We’ve had 100% of the climbers who left Base Camp on a summit bid, successful despite tough weather windows and record crowds.” This is technically accurate, and yet framed in such a way as to deliberately hide the harsh reality.

    Same goes for Dreamers Destination Treks who lost a client on the descent and still claim that their whole team “successfully climbed [Everest]” on Facebook (again: technically true). And there’s probably others – for instance, Seven Summits Treks carefully fails to mention their lost member in any posts about their successful season.

    Is losing clients on the descent what passes for “100% success” to these operators? I get it, it’s bad for business to talk about it, but it seems especially dishonest to frame things in this way. Not to mention a bit disrespectful to the families of those who trusted their lives to these people.

    Sorry if I’m off base here, but it bothers me as an outside observer.

    •  

      CTSS has acknowledged this in their blog: http://climbingthesevensummits.com/in-tribute-to-chris-kulish/

    •  

      Let’s not have a rush to judgment here. If you check the CTSS blog its been updated to reflect the fatality. Keep in mind that the CTSS summit success posting was made before they were aware of Mr. Kulish’s death. He was discovered in his tent in the high camp after the decent from the summit. The circumstances were much different in comparison to the many other deaths that have occurred.

    •  

      An additional point is the family requested privacy to create a statement and this takes time. As soon as these deaths are announced, there is a media rush. You can understand the request for a day or two of consideration.

      •  

        That’s fair, and point well taken. And as other comments have noted, they have acknowledged it now. They were the last team to suffer a loss of life, though, in the midst of a media circus, and my point stands for the other operators that are continuing to act like nothing went wrong, nearly a week later.

        It’s especially unfortunate how the media doesn’t even seem to be doing basic research in the rush to push the “crowding” narrative this year – even just a quick read of this blog, or indeed waiting until CTSS itself confirmed the situation, would have told them that crowding was not a factor in Mr. Kulish’s death.

        •  

          I’ve been trying like crazy to get the balanced message out one the why behind this years 11/21 deaths: few summit days, record permits, inexperienced members, inadequate support.

    •  

      Who would regard Seven Summit Treks as having had a successful season?

      According to Alan’s list here (http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2019/05/23/everest-2019-3-new-deaths-now-6-on-everest-15-overall/), SST has lost six Sherpas and clients on various 8,000ers since the start of the season.

      Still, they don’t seem to have been on the receiving end of any new allegations of insurance fraud this year – as far as I can see – so perhaps that counts as a good year for them.

  4.  

    Hello Alan. Thank you for your unending patience is answering so many questions (many of them redundant and some thoughtless). You have the patience of Job. I refrained from asking any until I had read all your posts and thus hopefully reduced your burden a bit. Now I also eagerly await your season summary. Please indulge me a few questions that I doubt will be covered in it.

    Back in 2013 I borrowed from the library all the books pertaining to Everest climbing and watched all the videos, movies and clips on YouTube at that time. I’d like to do more reading but could you recommend something? I am constantly confused by the maps of the mountain and surrounding areas. Why are the maps not oriented with due north at the top? Or is it that the “north” and “south” sides are not actually north and south? I wish I could go to a seminar with a presentation compiling all the best graphics and photos and aerial footage showing everything. Is there going to be any such lecture on your calendar?

    Which is the most precarious to cross, the balcony or the cornice?

    Are the Tibet climbers summiting from a different side? In other words, does a Nepal summiter and a Tibetan summiter not see each other until on top?

    Is there a training manual for Everest? I am curious what is required to get in good enough physical condition to climb. (Not thinking of climbing, just interested in the recommendations.)

    And of course I look forward to your final blog hopefully understanding who will do the thankless job of removing the ropes, how the cleanup efforts went, and what you think of the Tibetan installation delay.

    I have also been wondering how the Madison team was able to summit (Wed or Thurs???) and have such a great low #s experience at the same time the Hillary backup photo was realeased. We’re those two different days? Or Wednesday vs Thursday?

    Sorry so many questions. No worries if you are too busy or exhausted to answer more questions. I am humbled by your work.

    Respectfully,
    Jessica

    •  

      Thanks Jessica,
      Books:
      Tons of Everest books out there. just pick a few from Amazon and enjoy. Everest:West Ridge by Tom Hornbein is a good one to start.

      Which is the most precarious to cross, the balcony or the cornice? Cornice for sure it’s a sidewalk that drops off 3,000′ on both sides …. Balcony is basically a flat area the size of a average house room

      Are the Tibet climbers summiting from a different side? In other words, does a Nepal summiter and a Tibetan summiter not see each other until on top? Correct, the routes never meet. See this page I did on routes: http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2017/12/28/comparing-the-routes-of-everest-2018-edition/

      Is there a training manual for Everest? I am curious what is required to get in good enough physical condition to climb. (Not thinking of climbing, just interested in the recommendations.) Not really. Climbing is a never ending series of climbs with each one tougher, harder, higher or requiring different skills (ice, rock, alpine, etc.) The people best suited for Everest have spent at least 5 years, more like 10 learning how their nobody perfuse at altitude and acquiring all the basic skills they need. While Everest is not “technical” like a Makalu, Nanga or K2, it does test all your basic skills.

      And of course I look forward to your final blog hopefully understanding who will do the thankless job of removing the ropes, how the cleanup efforts went, and what you think of the Tibetan installation delay. The ropes are generally left and replaced with new ropes the next year. Occasionally, the old ropes are removed. As for timing, the climbers have a hard hard job, so I won’t criticize them for timing.

      I have also been wondering how the Madison team was able to summit (Wed or Thurs???) and have such a great low #s experience at the same time the Hillary backup photo was realeased. We’re those two different days? Or Wednesday vs Thursday? I think Wednesday

    •  

      Not Alan, but I’ve been (re)-reading a lot of Everest and K2 books this climbing season. One that was new to me, which I think was published in the last year or two, is called Ascent into Hell by Fergus White. I picked it up because it was cheap.

      I’ve never climbed Everest so I can’t verify as to the accuracy, but what I liked about the book is that it’s more of a journal and goes into a lot of detail of day-to-day climbing. I enjoy books like Into Thin Air but they don’t necessarily go into detail on the ‘boring’ details of what it’s like to climb the Icefall. This book goes a lot more into details, I felt, which I as an ‘armchair adventurer’ knowing little about mountaineering appreciated.

      •  

        Thank you for taking the time to give me your suggestion! I agree, never enough detail!

  5.  

    Any word on the Australian that was rescued? I have a work colleague attempting a no o2 from Tibet. Curious if this was him

    •  

      It was announced on the news today. Yes it was my work colleague. He survived the avalanche at base camp, and now survived passing out at 7500m.

  6.  

    Thanks Alan, I have thoroughly enjoyed your reports as I do each year. I’m a bit sad that the Everest climbing is coming to an end. My condolences to the families of the unfortunate climbers.

  7.  

    Thanks for the reporting. I’m so sad for the people who lost their lives. It seems many could have been prevented with a little more care and better decision making.

  8.  

    Thank you Alan. I’m so sorry about another death. I look forward to your analysis at the end of the season.

  9.  

    Alan, thank you for your updates. Question – are the ropes removed at the end of the season/before the arrival of the monsoon? If yes, then is it the same team that installed them?

    •  

      Yes, new ropes are put in each year. They become weak a=the longer they are exposed to the UV sunlight and are not safe after a few months. The same team fixes the route on the Tibet side. On the Nepal side from EBC t C2 by the “Icefall Doctors” and by on elf the commercial teams from there to the summit.