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]
updated with more team summits. more than 108 for both sides now! It was another long day on Everest for an estimated 200 climbers, split evenly on both sides. The weather at the high camps was reported to be so warm that climbers were in T-Shirts and complaining about their down suits. The ever-present wind was nonexistent. At that point their biggest concerns were getting ahead of the crowds to avoid the bottlenecks on the way up, and down. However the weather forecast had a nasty kick up in the winds for Sunday afternoon. And there were summits! Starting with [continue reading]
Excitement is building once again for more summits as team after team left Base Camp for camp 2 on the south and ABC on the north. Their enthusiasm, however, was tempered by talk of monsoons in India; more on that in a moment. There were talks of additional summits for Tuesday, May 18th, but nothing has been reported. As the weekend summiters return to base camp on the south, more details are coming in of summits. First up is on the north, Julio Bird’s wife Maribel sent me this email: I just talked to Julio. He reached the top on [continue reading]
The situation on the south side of Everest continues to be quite fluid. I have confirmed Phil Crampton of Altitude Junkies’ update that Ann-Marie will NOT attempt the summit during this narrow window. Phil had already kept the rest of his team back at base camp. They are planning on using the longer weather window in the forecast about a week from now. The situation is simply too dangerous according to Phil.
With teams now heading higher, the race between Carina Räihä and Anne-Mari Hyryläinen to be the first Finnish woman to summit Everest is being explained fully by their support teams, Peak Freaks and Altitude Junkies. Both are viewing it as a friendly race (kind of) and this is supported when I interviewed Anne-Mari back in February. She commented then on the “race”:
The lure of Everest’s summit has taken on new dimensions and is spreading throughout the south base camp. First up, we have an old-fashion foot race on Everest. Two Finish women are literally racing to claim bragging rights to being the first Finish woman to summit Everest. Then in addition to the previously announced summit intentions, including the Hanesbrands team, the entire Summit Climb team is heading up. The concern is that summit winds are currently in the 80 mph range. The forecast calls for a reduction on Saturday night and then regaining strength. Climbers like to see the summit [continue reading]
This was a busy week on Everest with the first summits for the 2010 season along with a risky gamble. And several accidents and, sadly, a reported death on nearby Lhotse. A team of nine Sherpas fixed the ropes to the summit on the south side. They included Sherpas from IMG, Alpine Ascents and Himex. One western guide who was doing route work high on the mountain also joined them to the summit. Over on the north, it is an entirely different story. According to teams, the ropes are currently fixed only to camp 3 or about 27,300′, far short of the summit and thus stopping most summit attempts. The weather has been difficult this year. As usual, the north receives more snow and wind than the south and increases the difficultly of climbing on that side. It appears no summits attempts until May 11th when the winds could begin to ease but more likely it will be a few days later than that.
Once again we find teams all over the Khumbu. Many are down valley in the village of Periche enjoying some time at the teahouses and the richer oxygen environment but others are still high on the mountain. The weather continues to play havoc with those climbers. AAI reported an aborted attempt to reach camp 3 on the Lhotse Face due to high winds. They will try again on Tuesday, Nepal time. But as usual, the Sherpas rarely get a day off as described by Phil Crampton of Altitude Junkies: Our Sherpas have been doing a fantastic job of getting the [continue reading]
Well, right on schedule a somewhat unexpected snowstorm, complete with lightening and thunder, rolled into the Everest camps. Climbers stopped in their tracks, literally, to wait it out. Needless to say, this put a bit of a chill on talks of an early summit. But we will see. As I had mentioned before, it uncanny how the weather is excellent in April then turns ugly on May 1st almost every year – happy May Day!
The big news is that the route to camp 3 on the Lhotse Face is now in thus preparing the way for climbers to spend the night at the highest camp prior to their summit bid. Many teams on the south have now spent a few nights as high as camp 2 and on the north only a couple have even made it up to the North Col due to harsh weather at the moment. Over the years, the strategy of acclimatization has not significantly changed. The primary tenet is to climb high and sleep low thus stressing the body to create more red blood cells needed to provide oxygen to the muscles.
Right on schedule this weekend, teams mad their way through the Icefall and into the Western Cwm for the first time. Some went all the way to camp 2, or sometimes referred to as ABC on the south side. But most were content to put in a sleep at camp 1 just above the top of the Icefall. Meanwhile over on the north, Bill Burke reports in from their ABC that it is snowy and teams have already made day hikes to the North Col.
Right on schedule, the second week of April, camps 1 and 2 are already in. It was April 14th last year when the first teams reported these camps established, identical to 2007. During this time at base camp, teams are reviewing and brushing up on skills, including a few techniques many climbers have not experienced – walking across a ladder with crampons.
A constant debate within the climbing community is not what you climb, but how you climb. Style. It is all about style. Mike Farris found himself in the middle of this argument on the summit of Everest last spring. He climbed with style but paid a price with the removal of portions of seven fingers, both big toes, and portions of six smaller toes. Climbing pundits will rate Reinhold Messner as a superior climber to Ed Viesturs even though both climbed the fourteen highest mountains on earth without supplemental oxygen. Messner climbed new routes and Viesturs used standard routes. Messner [continue reading]
Finland is usually associated with Nordic sports like ski jumping and cross country skiing. Now Anne-Mari Hyryläinen wants to make history by being the first Finnish woman to summit Everest. An accomplished marathoner, she saw Mount Everest for the first time while bicycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu. She stopped at the north side base camp and the dream was born. Her training has taken her to Europe and Asia including Mount Blanc (traverse, Goutier 3-summits route) and several 6/7000 meter high peaks in Nepal (incl. Tukuche Peak, Chulu West, Kang Guru). She currently lives in Dubai with her husband so [continue reading]
Everest 2010 looks to be special for an interesting reason – no drama. The past two years have been difficult with last minute requirements by the Chinese that resulted in almost every team climbing from the south. 2010 looks to return to normal – whatever that means on Everest – but we have come to expect the unexpected recently. The owner of Altitude Junkies, Phil Crampton, took some time to discuss the upcoming 2010 season with me. I wanted to look at the politics, the realities and if the events over the past several years would have any impact on [continue reading]