Everest 2012: Weekend Update April 22

Lama Geshe Blessing the Sherpas
Lama Geshe Blessing the Sherpas

This was an extremely difficult week on Everest with the deaths of two Sherpas. However teams continued to make progress in their acclimatization spending nights at high camps, taking advantage of the mostly good weather on the south while high winds hindered progress a bit on the north.

Sherpa Deaths

A heavy tone hovers over Everest with the deaths. First was 40 year-old Karsang Namgyal Sherpa climbing with Prestige Adventures. He was the son of Ang Rita, there a mainstay in the Sherpa community for decades with 10 summits, salve all without oxygen. Namgyal had several summits of Everest himself. The cause of death is unknown and an autopsy will be performed in Kathmandu.

Then on Saturday, Peak Freaks’ Namgyal Tshering Sherpa fell from a ladder into a crevasse near C1. The new father had summited Everest several times and reportedly was not clipped into the fixed lines which provide support in event of a fall.

These deaths have shaken the entire Everest community.

About this same time in 2006, three Sherpas were killed in the Khumbu Icefall. A serac collapsed while Sherpas were carrying loads to C1 killing Ang Phinjo Sherpa, Lhakkpa Tseri Sherpa and Dawa Temba Sherpa and injuring several others. In spite of desperate attempts to save their lives, the tons of ice did not allow that opportunity. A day of mourning was declared on April 22, 2006.

The Sherpas take on more work and more risk than anyone else on Everest. Nepalese Sherpas suffer the most with 12 of the 59 deaths this decade occurring almost all on the south side from falls, avalanches and crevasse accidents. Once again, I want to express my sincere condolences to their families, fellow Sherpas and their guide families and teams.

Higher Camps

One of the most difficult aspects of climbing is how to continue after a tragedy. Almost without exception, the climbing continues with the additional goal to honor the fallen with a safe summit. In this spirit the climbing continued this week with teams spending the nights at Camps 1 and 2 on the South side. over on the North, several teams are now at Advanced Base Camp.

The Adventure Consultants team, now at Camp 2, made a climb to 6800m/22,300′ on the Lhotse Face. This is about halfway to Camp 3. They reported cold and windy conditions but nothing unusual for example, excessive snow. Keep in mind that these first climbs of the Lhotse Face are like the carnary in a coal mine as to how the climbers will do later. This is a critical part of the overall physical and mental preparation.

Mountain Potpourri

As I have mentioned there are many teams strewn throughout the Himalaya on other large climbs. For example, Lance Metz climbing with South Africa’s Adventure Dynamics has been keeping us updated on their Cho Oyu climb. This is often a precursor for Everest so it is good to follow along. He and the team appear to be having a lot of fun.

Of course the action is heavy on Manalsu with another Adventure Consultants teams; Alli Pepper is keeping us updated there. Over on Annapurna 4 there is an IMG team. Then there is an ambitious effort by Don Bowie on Annapurna fighting avalanches. Uli Steck is still wandering on the Khumbu (Cholatse and Lobuche) lower peaks in prep for “something big”on Everest.

Chadd Kellogg, attempting another speed climb from EBC-south has not posted any new info since he had gear stolen on 31 March on his site or his sponsor.

As from the reclusive Everest West Ridge (WR) climbers, following them remains, well elusive. National Geographic finally starting putting some information on their public website but keeps the “good” stuff for their iPad application which, obviously, requires an iPad. Thus far, not a lot of unique insight into Condrad Anker’s WR effort but we do know they have been to Camp 2 near where their WR climb will begin. As for the Eddie Bauer’s WR team with Jake Norton and crew, zero word as far as I can tell. There was a post on the RMI site from Dave Hahn (part of this dual summit re-enactment) climbing the South Col route but no mention of the WR effort.

Looking ahead

This next week we will see teams put very serious time into nights at the high camps. Many on the south will spend 3 to 5 nights at camp 2, some will even tag or sleep at Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face if the Sherpas get the lines fixed there. Over on the north a similar story with a few climbers going all the way to the North Col. Lines are fixed well above there already.

At this point, leaders are watching the weather very closely as a surprise storm is immensely more dangerous with climbers at high camps than at base camp. Sometimes it will be a fire drill with teams pushing to accomplish an objective then rushing lower for cover.


I like to use these weekend updates to remind my readers that I am just one guy who loves climbing. With 30 serious climbing expeditions including four Everest trips under my belt and a summit last year, this site tries to share those experiences, demystify Everest each year and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease. My mom died from this disease a few years ago as did two of my aunts. It was a heartbreaking experience that I never want anyone to go through thus my ask for donations to non-profits where 100% goes to them, and nothing to me.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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4 thoughts on “Everest 2012: Weekend Update April 22

  1. Once again your blogs are so informative and the work you do incredible. Again thank you for following Lance and his team on Cho Oyu . Kindest regards always Viv

  2. I have had to wait all day before I had chance to access my IPad but it was worth the wait.You managed once more to take us to the base of Everest and feel part of the daily routine which becomes more and more difficult.As you say, the deaths of two friends must have a created a very somber mood in the camps and reaffirmed the difficulty of the tasks in front of the climbers which they couldn’t achieve without the help of those wonderful Sherpas.The Himalayas are certainly very busy at the moment, lots of action to follow for inactive people like me to follow.I am full of praise for the climber in her seventies, I really hope she does well.Your donations for Alzheimers is certainly a worthy one.I think everybody knows someone who has been afflicted by this terrible disease, Thanks again Kate

  3. A great week of dispatches Alan, looking forward to the coming weeks. Very sad news about the two Sherpa’s though.


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