It looks like the Everest season has finally ended with a big cold slap in the face to many teams on both sides. The weather deteriorated for the few teams making a push this week so much so, some classified it as the worse ever. Another death was reported earlier this week of a Japanese climber on the north, still no details. But another death was also mentioned and again now. Details are vague at best. Duncan Chessell told the Australian news: “They were the worst conditions I have ever encountered by a factor of at least 10 on the [continue reading]
With the summits mostly ended, climbers are making their way back down to Base Camp. As they recover from their summit push, stories are emerging of rescues. Once again, we are seeing tangible proof that the climbing community is a tight one; especially in times of need. We are also seeing that pure accidents happen in spite of every precaution and mountaineering is dangerous and altitude treats everyone the same; regardless of experience. While impressive and motivating to non-climbers, one of the downsides of having a 13, 16 and 22 year old summits this year is that it could portray [continue reading]
The last summit window was heralded as a great success by many teams. However it was not without incidents and many were not reported. EverestER, the base camp medical facility on the south posted a very revealing report on this summit window. And there are other reports on both sides from this season. First from the south and EverestEr: Approximately 90 people reached the summit of Everest in the last few days, a rough total of Sherpas and foreigners. Congratulations to all for getting down alive, summit or no summit. There were no fatalities. Along with summit bids, however, comes [continue reading]
With several teams targeting Sunday, May 16th as a summit window, the question of rescues often comes to mind; especially if the weather looks marginal as this one does. Followers of Everest know that rescues are difficult and sometimes impossible above base camp or 17,500′. In his book, Into Thin Air, Jon Krakurer details the daring rescue of climbers at the top of the Icefall at 19,800′. Now a new service from Fishtail Air is underway that designers are confident can rescue climbers deep in the Western Cwm, well above 19,500′. While an experiment this season, it has already proven to save lives on other high peaks.
News travels quickly on Everest. Teams on both sides are sadden by the avalanche incident and have a heightened awareness of the dangers of high-altitude mountaineering. However, they push on knowing that danger comes with the sport. For teams on the north is has been a difficult few days with the avalanche on the North Col. The missing climber is László Várkonyi is a well known Hungarian climber. I contacted Ang Tshering Sherpa who is the Founder and Chairman of Asian Trekking who provided them with logistical support. He sent me this immediate reply for which we deeply thank him:
UPDATE: In a statement by climber David Klein on expeditions.hu, he and his partner Laszlo Várkonyi were involved in the avalanche and Laszlo is still missing. Original story: I received an email overnight from Duncan Chessell of Chessell Adventures. He is leading an expedition along with Adventure Dynamics on the north. Jamie McGuinness of Project Himalaya, passed through Duncan a first hand account of yesterday’s accident on the North Col. Over on the south, the Icefall continues to be tricky with a small incident that did not hurt any climbers but created a period of anxiety.
There was a large avalanche near the North Col on Monday, Tibet time. Before going further, remember that breaking news of accidents from Everest, especially from the north side, in almost every case is inaccurate. The early reports from multiple teams are contradictory. Some say it was a rock fall but most eyewitness are saying it was a large serac or cornice that collapsed near the fixed ropes.