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Mar 302014

Kathmandu DoormanKathmandu has become flooded with climbers in addition to the normal spring trekkers. The hotels are full, the restaurants noisy and an overall feeling of anticipation in the air.

In spite of all the bad press Everest receives each year, it is forgotten once the team arrives in Thamel. The climbing teams will trickle in over the next week to begin the trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC). The trek will take between 7 and 10 days so look for the first sorties’ into the Icefall around April 10th or so. The climbers looking at the Tibet side usually lag about a week.

The next big thing is the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla to begin the trek to EBC. Teams arrive in Lukla at 9400’ and finish at EBC at 17,500’. While it is “only” 30 miles, it is the altitude that makes for the slow going. The general rule of thumb for acclimatizing is to gain about 1000’ a day, which almost no one does that little, to allow the body to adjust to the thinner air.

There have been some reports of delayed flights to Lukla but that is somewhat normal. This time however, it was low visibility at Kathmandu and not storms at Lukla that created the delays. In any event, that flight is one of the milestones of an Everest climb. More on that later next week.

Out of the Ordinary

Attempting a new route via the Southeast Face are Horia Colibasanu and Peter Hamor.

Not many people attempt Everest without supplemental oxygen. In fact to date about 192 have summited sans gas. This year there will be several including Isaiah Janzen.

I will be posting an in-depth interview with this novel team but wanted to give everyone a heads up that a team of three climbers lead by Willie Benegas will attempt something never before accomplished: climbing Cho Oyu, Everest then skiing the Lhotse Coulair all in one push in one season. Father and son, Mike and Matt Moniz will be joined by Jim Walkley for this effort. To get a preview, visit Jim’s blog.Bill Burke Gear

Jagged Globe reports that one of their two chefs will be making an attempt. JG has become known for their culinary delights on Everest, but also their recent success rate – around 90% over the last three years. So they are doing many things right, it appears!

72 year-old Bill Burke is heading back to another attempt on the North side. I love this picture he posted on his blog. He does a great job of keeping us informed and will be one to follow this season on the north.

Celebrity Sighting?

Jeff Smith, climbing with Himex, reports that Tim Medvetz of the Discovery “Rest of Everest” series in on the Himex team this year. Tim has used his fame for some amazingly good work with The Heroes Project, working with wounded soldiers.

Landed in Kathmandu, just had a meeting with Russell and the teams about the plan, and introducing everyone. Discovery Channel fans may remember Tim Medvetz who is on our team this year, and finally I fell up the stairs wearing flip flops, fortunately only one witness, and I’m quite glad we wear boots on the hill!

Himex is hosting two film crews this year so Russ will be busier than normal.

Speaking of celebrities, wing suit flier Joby Ogwyn is making the celebrity appearance rounds on his way to Nepal. Looks like the Discovery Channel is going all out to make this a rating hit. You can see his interview with Jimmy Fallon of the Tonight Show. It is actually pretty funny and interesting. He thinks he will hit 200 mph (321kph) on the flight down.

Filed under the category of something your spouse would not like to read, Joby told CNN:

“I’m very scared. I think it’s the fear of death or destruction that kind of keeps you above that, but I’m not afraid to die. I’m not afraid to live my life on my own terms. And this is my dream and I am willing to risk everything to make it happen.”

Lhotse Rush

As expected there are many climbers attempting the world’s 4th highest peak, Lhotse at 27,940′ (8,516 m). The Altitude Junkies team has five on the schedule. Of note, all have climbed with the Junkies before, a good sign when you have such loyal customers!

Confusing North

I am still looking into this but apparently several climbers have been refused entry visa to climb Everest from Tibet. The reasons sound suspicious including age and “not having been to Tibet before.” If anyone is also hearing about this, please contact me.

Confusing South

Just when you think the Nepalese have leaked all the new rules they could possibly leak, a new one showed up late last week. Now they are floating the idea that every climber must be accompanied by a “local guide”. I have no idea what this means but Ang Tshering was quoted as saying that “Most of the accidents that take place on Everest involve mountaineers from abroad who don’t use local guides”.

The last time I checked, with the exception of professional climbers like Simone Moro and Ueli Steck, all climbers have a Sherpa with them. But then again, a Sherpa might not be considered a local guide. Oddly, the Ministry gave improving accessibility and lowering cost as one of their primary reasons for doing away with the single permit fee of $25,000, now $11,000. Requiring a “local guide” will certainly increase costs. Like I said, I really don’t know what to make of this one but will have no impact on 99.9% of all climbers this year.

Deserved Recognition

Started in 1991, the highest award in the world of alpinism is the The Piolet d’Or (French for The Golden Ice Axe) determined by the French magazine Montagnes and The Groupe de Haute Montagne. Last night the 2014 winners were announced: Ueli Steck (Annapurna South Face solo) and Raphael Slawinsky & Ian Welsted (Northwest face of K6). Congratulations to all on well deserved recognition.

Climb On!
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  2 Responses to “Everest 2014: Weekend Update March 30 – Arrivals and Confusion”


    Hi Alan,

    I’m a little bit nervous with your comment about Confusing North, as I am supposed to join an expedition on April 14th. I’m 54 and never went to Tibet, so if that is true, should I not better stay home?

    My tour operator will ask the organisation in Katmandu, in the meantime, I don’t know what to think about this.

    Please let me know if you have further details.

    Best regards,



    Hello again Alan and readers from the past and new one’s coming on board for the 1st time this year. Looking forward to reading about all the excitement that lays ahead. Wishing everyone great success and more importantly safe return. As they say “going up is optional but coming down in mandatory”. Let’s hope there are no deaths this year