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May 232016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Why People Die on Everest

Why do people die on Mount Everest? That is the question many people are asking this Monday after three deaths were reported over the weekend, five thus far for the season with tragically more to be reported. Sadly, many of the press articles, and pundits, are looking for a villain, someone or some organization to blame. Much of this is a good intentioned effort to save future lives but some are self-serving efforts to demonize climbers, guides and climbing itself. So with the caveat that I also have an agenda, lets look at why people die on Everest without going too continue reading

May 222016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Arnold Coster Statement on Climber's Deaths

I am passing this along from Arnold Coster, owner of Arnold Coster Expeditions. This past weekend two climbers on his team died while on their summit climbs of Everest. In Arnold’s view there has been a lot of misinformation published so he wanted to set the record straight as he was there and heavily involved. I also understand that Dr. Marisa Strydom family learned of her death thru the Internet. Apparently as the rescue efforts were underway, communications over publically available radio channels were monitored and then reported to the press who published the story before authorities were able to contact the family. continue reading

May 212016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: May 21 - Summits, Frostbite and Deaths

The summits continued on Saturday morning, 21 May 2016 on both sides of Everest. However, there were two deaths on the Nepal side and reports of frostbite and multiple helicopter evacuations from Everest Base Camp and Camps 1 and 2 in the Western Cwm. The climbing conditions were reported as good with calm winds and normal temperatures for the summit. Summits On the Nepal side IMG put 28 climbers on the summit from their Hybrid team. They had four western guides, nine clients and 15 Sherpas. Seven Summits Treks guided 5 female clients from the Indian NCC Girls Expedition plus another continue reading

May 202016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Slow Climbers put Others at Risk

The final summit pushes continue on the Nepal side while it feels like everyone on the Tibet side is going for the summit on the same couple of days! As crazy as this seems, it is business as usual on the world’s highest peak. The huge teams from International Mountain Guides and 7 Summits Club represent the bulk of the climbers tonight and tomorrow while many other smaller teams are drafting off their lead. These and others have split into multiple teams to reduce the crowds. There should be about 100 to 150 summits from Nepal tonight and tomorrow and about the same from Tibet. continue reading

May 192016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: More Everest Summits to Come, 300 Thus far - Update

After 202 climbers summited the morning on 19 May, another couple of hundred will continue tonight looking  at 20 May for their time on top of the world. Sadly, there was one death  but it was not associated with the summit push. Some teams reported lines but that appears to have been not widespread judging by the team and individual reports. There have been 300 summits just from Nepal thus far, and only a few from Tibet as of today. Big Picture The 2016 season continues to go about as good as an Everest season goes – decent weather, manageable summit continue reading

May 182016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Summit Wave Underway - Update 2

A constant stream of Everest aspirants are steadily making their way from the South Col to the South Summit, over the Hillary Step and to the summit as I write this around 3:00 am Nepal time Thursday 19 May 2016. It is estimated that about 200 people evenly split between foreigners and Sherpas left the South Col between 7:00 pm and midnight in calm winds and clear skies after enduring a windy night at the Col. PARTIAL Summit Updates 202 summits – 120 Sherpa/82 foreigner on 19 May reported in good but a bit windy conditions See location table for latest Died from continue reading

May 182016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Winds Let Up for Next Summit Push

After the surprise wind storm on Tuesday 17 May, the winds seem to have let up on Wednesday 18 May and teams at the South Col are preparing to give it a go tonight – in a few hours actually. Potentially close to 200 people. Those positioned at Camps 2 and 3 will move up to the South Col for their summit attempts hoping to top out on the 19 of May. Punishing Night Those that spent last night and today at the South Col were punished. I had a similar experience in 2003 when we expected good weather but it turned continue reading

May 172016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Huge Winds Stop Summits

After a span of six consecutive summit days, the jet stream got revenge today with high winds that have stopped summit pushes and even forced some teams to retreat to lower camps to wait out the storm. This is not unusual. In fact, most of the summits thus far this year have been in high winds, but not quite this high! To state the obvious, when winds are gusting over 30 mph (48kph), the risk of frostbite dramatically increases – even with the worlds finest down suits. Fingers and toes get numb, climbers struggle to breathe and even move; visibility becomes limited continue reading

May 152016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Wave #3 Summits and Major Push On

Once again the Everest 2016 teams are getting summits from the Nepal side but they are having to work for it dealing with high winds and deep snow. Russell Brice told me by email “When they [Himex Sherpas] made the route to the summit the snow was thigh deep between South Summit and top of Hillary Step.” When I climbed the same route in 2011 to the summit, I found the snow between the South Summit and Hillary Step not a factor at all. Meanwhile teams on both sides of Everest are moving into position for the next wave of summit attempts. Wave 3 continue reading

May 142016
Everest/Lhotse 2016: Fast Summit Start Slows with Wind

Gambling that the current high winds will let up during the summit climb, multiple climbers and at least one team, Adventure Global are on their push to summit Everest. Most teams however are looking at topping out on the 18th or 19th of May. Fast Start to the Season After a fast start to the season with an impressive team of Sherpas fixing the ropes to the summit on May 11th, a couple of high profile climbers who were under the radar at base camp, made a stealth climb to summit on the heels of the Sherpas to claim first foreigner summit status. What I called continue reading