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May 252013
Everest South Col 2003

Everest South Col 2003

As most members are in Kathmandu or even home, the Sherpas continue to work hard on Everest. This end game on the expedition is called ‘cleaning the mountain’.

Simply put, cheap it means that everything they brought, they take back down. That goes for tents, oxygen bottles, some ropes and anchors, garbage, everything. Throughout the season even the human solid waste was collected and processed down valley at one of villages. It is not a prefect system as human solid waste is left above Base Camp. On the North side, there are few rules and waste is a big problem.

All the commercial expeditions are required to put down a USD$15,000 trash deposit as part of the permitting process on the South side. This helps to motivate the teams to leave no trace but sometimes smaller or one-time teams may not follow the rules.

Eric Simonson, IMG, does a nice job of characterizing the situation at Base Camp:

The Sherpas did the last carries this morning, and everyone is safe and sound off the mountain. Well done! We are pleased to have seen 46 summits from our 2013 IMG team (44 on Everest, 2 on Lhotse). Most of the climbers have now departed Base Camp. Some are hiking and some are catching a ride on a helicopter, so everyone should be back in Kathmandu in the next couple days.

Greg and Jangbu will be leaving in the morning, while sirdar Ang Passang will be staying a few more days, working with his crew to finish drying tents and getting everything packed up for the yaks and porters. Gear in good shape will go to our storerooms in Gorak Shep and Pangboche, and items requiring repair or dry-cleaning will go back to Kathmandu. Per the rules of our permit, all burnable garbage goes to the incinerator in Namche, all cans and bottles go to Kathmandu for recycle, all human waste goes to the designated burial site (in the soil) down towards Lobuche, and all empty O2 cylinders go back to Kathmandu for re-export. Only after we have fulfilled all these conditions will we get our $15,000 garbage deposit back.

Last Summit?

A twist has occurred for 82 year-old Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan, trying to regain the male age record. It has been reported on Japanese Yuichiro Miura’s Facebook page that a major collapse in the heart of the Icefall has effectively closed the route. They are now planning on using helicopters to return to Base Camp. This is the post:

Due to weather condition Helicopter was unable to fly into EBC & C2, today. They will try tomorrow morning. Today, there have been major collapse in the Icefall. Luckly no one was hurt but the part of Ice fall route have been destroyed and route has been closed. Few climbers and sherpas had to return back to C2.

I am waiting for official word the Icefall has been closed thus ending Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan, effort to regain the age record. There is always a chance the Doctors will find a way around the collapse. It is not clear how many teams still had gear above the Icefall. Usually the route is open until everyone has cleaned their camps, normally until June 1st.


Tim Ripple, Peak Freaks, posted a couple of interesting items on his blog. The Nepal Ministry of Tourism now requires a photo of your face on the summit to give you summit credit. Tim also noted that the power will be shut off in Namche for 6 months as they replace a dam that provides hydro-electric power to the area.

9th Death

A ninth death has just now been confirmed. A Japanese, still unidentified, died on the North side below the top of the exit cracks on May 20th. It is unclear if he had summited but eyewitness reports believe he was descending.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Comments on/from Facebook

  22 Responses to “Everest 2013: Cleaning the Mountain, 9th Death”


    Dear Alan,

    My 7th grade students and I are studying Everest this week in our geography class (we are located in Charlestown, MA which is part of the Boston Public Schools). Thank you for putting this blog together – it is very interesting and allows us to learn about what happened on the mountain this year.


    So I guess that’s about it for this season. No amount of Everest bashing can take away the fact it is an awe inspiring adventure for all who have a go no matter how experienced.Death is just around the corner if you don’t pay the mountain the respect it demands.I believe Everest is for all no matter how many aids are required to help them reach the summit.As long as other lives are not put in danger I admire anyone who sets off to achieve their dream and sadly each year a number of folk die chasing it.The world is getting smaller and distant lands are easier to reach for the everyday guy so there will be bottle necks during the short climbing window.The media loves to publish controversial articles, I have lost count the number of times I’ve seen last year’s photo showing the long queue of climbers waiting their turn. Joe public may believe that happens every week of every year unaware of Everest’s short season.There is an environmental problem caused by the waste that is left behind each year. This problem has to be dealt with and I’m sure it will be dealt with to ensure that the hard working Sherpa population benefits from the tourist intrusion into their homeland. Here’s to next year and to the new adventures that will come with it. Cheers Kate


    RIP the Japanese fella 🙁


    An Ecuadorian team called Somos Ecuador summited on the north side on May 25 I think. Led by Ivan Vallejo, who had already climbed all 14 8000ers without supplemental oxygen. Probably 3 other Ecuadorian men were with him on the summit this weekend. More info on Ivan Vallejo Twitter.


    I am glad I found your very interesting website Alan. I enjoy following the Everest climbs each season but it’s even more interesting now with your comment. Thank you. Maxine Wright, Gold Coast, Australia.


    Do you know if Chad Kellogg reached the top of Everest and back to base camp safely, and within the goal of under 32 hours round trip? I read about him on the Outdoor Research website. Thanks.


    There were a few helicopter rescues this year. Do you know if Moro was involved, as he suggested he would be. I hope so, after all that happened.


      Yes, he was paid to fly his own helicopter on the rescue flights including the highest long line rescue in alpine history – 7800 meters near the Yellow Band


    saddened to hear this. 🙁


    He was on the North and appears to have died in his tracks.


    Hi Alan,

    In terms of removing ropes and anchors, do the sherpas return to the summit and remove the ropes they set all the way up there?

    I guess you often hear of problems with people getting tangled in old ropes that have been left up there, especially on the north setps and the Hillary step.

    I would have thought at the very least the rope fixers would have tried to clear some of this stuff when fixing the lines initially to avoid both confusion and accident.


    Josh Hick

    (Wodonga, Australia)


      Hi Joshua,

      They do remove some ropes but those up high are usually left thus the tangle of ropes. Occasionally the Sherpas and/or Western Guides will cut them away to remove the clutter. A lot depends on weather, schedule and overall difficulty. Some years no ropes are removed at all.


    Alan, I am very sorry to hear about the nineth person who lost their life ! Were they killed decending the Icefall ? Thanks again for your updates !


    I have been glued to your coverage and fascinated by your experiences as well so hope our contribution to your very worthy cause helps to make some difference – climb on!


    Thanks for the informative update.


    I thought Min was 81.


    Thanks for the updates!


    9th death??? I must have missed a lot when I was in the hospital for my cat bite. I only knew about one or two deaths. Very sad to know there were as many as 9. I can’t wait for the year there are zero deaths