Everest 2012: Avalanches

As we approach the end of April, drugstore teams are right on schedule with their acclimatization programs. The next “big thing” is a night at Camp 3. Thus far, sick the season is going well, right on a normal year schedule – whatever that means!

The Himex team, including the British Walking with the Wounded, are now starting to climb Everest proper after their extended acclimatization on Lobuche Peak. They are heading to Camp 2 for a few nights. Greg Paul posts of how Russell Brice prepared them for their first trip up:

“…Then Russell became quite solemn and described the the conditions in the Icefall. It has always been a dangerous place and we all signed up knowing that was the case.  Russell reiterated that reality and emphasized our personal responsibility in accepting that risk. He emphasized his efforts to provide for our safety but added that there is things that are out of his control .  We left the meeting knowing the Icefall is of concern to all expedition leaders this year more than usual.”


I received a couple of messages telling me about the recent avalanches. First was an avalanche off Nuptse and into the Western Cwm near Camp 1. A few years ago a huge avalanches calved off Everest’s West shoulder hitting Camp 1 and tossing several tents around, including the occupants. So C1 was moved closer toward Nuptse. Now it sounds like Nuptse is angry. No injures were reported. Update 2, one Sherpa cook was swept into a crevasse but was rescued and taken back to Kathmandu with back injuries.

Another incident was near the top of the Icefall where another incident occurred onto the route itself. No injuries are reported but the route had to be rebuilt creating a delay for some teams. As bad as all this sounds, it is actually not uncommon thus the appropriate warning to all the climbers to maintain a swift pace through these areas.

Kenton Cool has posted on YouTube a somewhat dramatic video of his experience in the Icefall. There are some beautiful shots in this video they made “on-site”

Lenna Shuttleworth provides a nice description of her climb to C2 and back with AAI. She notes the difficultly of sleeping at C2 for the first time:

The rest day at Camp Two wasn’t great at all for me. I woke up suffering from the altitude and was off my food all day. At that sort of altitude you don’t feel like doing anything at all, so I spent the afternoon napping, and then went promptly back to bed after dinner! Others were in similar boats regarding food and lethargy, but we all coped in our own ways and were up at 3:30 the next day for an early breakfast before our descent.

O’s or No O’s?

We often hear about supplemental oxygen and this is a critical part of climbing to extreme altitudes. But not every climber takes advantage of it. For some it is a style or image consideration, others want to test their bodies and others, well, I’m not sure.

This year we have what could be a record number of climbers going without the extra Os. In general supplemental oxygen only makes a 3,000′ difference. In other words at 28,000′, you body stills feels like it is at 25,000′. But you are much warmer, especially toes and fingers and you have a benefit without a doubt.

The “professional” climbers appear to be the dominate members of the No-O’s club including: Simone Moro (Italian), Conrad Anker (American), Cory Richards(American), Andrew Lock (Australian), Loveraj Dharmashaktu (Indian), Nacho Orviz (Spanish), Ferran Latorre (Spanish), Ulie Steck (Swiss), and Chad Kellogg (American)

Lhotse and Nuptse

While many eyes are on Everest, remember there are two other mountains being attempted this year in the same area. Lhotse has become extremely popular requiring almost the same effort as Everest. For a look at Lhotse, please see this post I did last month. Another interested effort is on Nuptse. A team from Himex is starting their acclimatization rotations in preparation for this seldom climbed peak at the gateway of the Khumbu Icefall.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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2 thoughts on “Everest 2012: Avalanches

  1. I look forward to your update every day, Alan! I feel like I am there with all the climbers! Thank you so much!

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