Everest 2017: Death, Summits and Thefts – Update

Southeast Ridge

Sunday morning, 21 May, had a death on Everest at the Balcony as reported by the Himalayan Times. Few details are available.


  • Fifth death:  Vladimir Strba, 50 from Slovakia, died near Balcony on south side.
  • Climber Missing: Ravi Kumar missing after getting separated from guide at Balcony
  • Fourth death: 54-year-old Francesco Enrico Marchetti, 54 from Australia, at 7500m while descending from summit on Tibet side.
  • Third death Roland Yearwood,50 from USA Alabama,  reported, few details.
  • Blind Austrian climber Andy Holzer summited on north with Furtenbach Adventures

Friday night thru Saturday morning looks to have been big on the south as the winds calmed for a day or so. Meanwhile, a serious breach of trust occurred at the high camp on Lhotse.

Good Weather on Southeast Ridge = Summits

This is a headline many have been waiting for. Adventure Consultants made a nice post as part of their team made their way up the Southeast Ridge between the Balcony and the South Summit. This is a section rarely talked about and I made a post on it earlier this season. First they posted on their progress:

Down here in base camp we have just received a call from Ang Dorjee that he and Paul have been moving well and are now 30mins below the South Summit, 8690m, the second highest point on earth. Travelling now along the true south east ridge it sounds like they are still experiencing a bit of wind, but at this point it doesn’t appear to be slowing them down as they continue to make good progress.

Then the good news that AC put their member,Paul Pheby, on the summit plus Chhuldim Sherpa (Ang Dorjee) from Pangboche – his 19th summit. My first climb on Everest in 2002 was with Ang Dorge and he is the younger brother of Kami Sherpa whom I summited Everest and K2 with. Also on the summit for AC were Ringin, climbing Sirdar, from Khumjung, Nepal – 4th summit,Pemba Nuru Sherpa from Pangboche, Nepal – 1st summit, and Rinji Pal den Sherpa from Thame, Nepal – 1st summit

Most teams reported good conditions Friday night into Saturday morning but Adventure Global suggested winds at the South Col stalled some members. This has been common this year with moments of high winds followed by calmer periods. If you are getting ready to leave and the winds are gusting to 60 mph, you stay put – good decision.:

We are very excited to announce that Anshu Jamsenpa, Furi Sherpa and Karma Sherpa summited about 45 minutes ago. This is Anshu’s 5th summit and the most by any Indian lady ever. Congratulations to Anshu, Furi and Karma. We are extremely proud of you. Neil and Tendi decided to stay at the South Col and not to push, because of the wind. They will reconsider their options later today.

Seven Summits Treks said they had 60 people going to the summit, no word on results. It is good that this large team got their chance and can clear off the route. The other large team is the Indian Navy who, I believe, also had their attempt but tweeted only a few climbers on the summits

Summit Climb said they put a couple on the summit and said more were coming but nothing was made public. The Himalayan Times said the death was an American on the SummitClimb team but this has not been reported by Summit Climb. Murari Sharma, Managing Director at Everest Parivar Treks handles the local logistics for Summit Climb made the report based on contact with base camp.

Mimgma Sherpa, Dreamers Destination said he had a first on Everests:

Elton Ng also reached the summit together with Tsang Yin Hung and Zhangjianguo this morning at 6am. Mrs Tsang Yin Hung officially registered her name as first Hongkong lady to Everest.

Nobukazu Kuriki Climb to West Ridge
Nobukazu Kuriki Climb to West Ridge

Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki made it to Camp 2 and should now climb up to the West Ridge for his summit attempt via the Hornbein Couloir.

But not everyone is ready to push to the top quite yet. Ben Jones with Alpine Ascents said:

After looking at forecasts we feel it is going to be much better to wait a couple more days for our summit push. The team is in great spirits and doing very well. The weather looks to be getting much better in a few days so we will just rest here at Camp 2.

Back at EBC – Nepal, Himex is finally ready to move. Guide Bruce Hasler posted:

We’ve made the plan to head up to Camp 2 tonight starting our summit attempt. Looking at this stage for summit bid on 25 but possibly 26th. There have been multiple summits today which is great to clear some folks off the hill. Still many people looking for their window of weather in next 2 days. Hoping it all goes smoothly and we get the wind to behave. Once again stay tuned… Summit shots 2013

The weather on the south has been tough the last couple of days. While some teams summited, others wisely turned back. Jangbu Sherpa, Himalayan Treks and Expeditions said:

On 18th May our team went to south coll with all the confident and strong on 19th summit plan. Unfortunately because of bad Wendy speed 90/100 pre hrs…spend 24 hrs at camp 4 … we decide to decent down now We all are safely arrived at base camp.


Everest from Tibet

And the last of three Transcend Adventures Indian Team posted that they had reached Camp-2 and would be moving to higher tomorrow. Based on the weather they will make the summit attempt. The details of the team members will be shared soon.

Other north teams that could summit at any time include: Furtenbach Adventures with 17 climbers (foreign/Sherpa/Tibetan)Arnold Coster Expeditions with 15, Iowans for Everest with 2, Transcend Adventures with 15? and Summit Climb  with 20+.

Update from Furtenbach:

Summit !!

Today at 7.10 in the morning, all participants were at the summit. Windstill and -26 degrees.

With Andy Holzer , the first blind man has reached the summit from the north. He is the first blind man at the summit of Everest. And he makes the Seven Summits full! Congratulations to Andy and his two companions Wolfgang Klocker and Clemens Bichler. With Anja Blacha the youngest German stood on the summit.

Rise without traffic jams, hardly any other people on the road. Thanks to our super meteorologist, who prognosticated us this weather window. The team has returned to C3 and will be off to the ABC tomorrow.

A great performance of the Sherpas – THANK YOU !! Congratulations to everyone !!


Occasionally, a team will report that something goes missing from their camp or tent. This can be an honest mistake or a premeditated act by a climber who choose not to provision properly for an Everest climb, or in their strange world, feels that everyone’s property s also theirs for the taking.

Without understanding the why, Tim Mosedale posted about an incident at their high camp on Lhotse. This is quite serious as his climbers were expected to find their gear and arrived to find it missing i.e. stolen.

Tim posted:

Some low life scumbag has taken the stash of oxygen from the tent at Lhotse Camp 4. Ronnie and Pemba have just arrived and were hoping to be poised for their summit bid for tomorrow.

It’s soooo obviously our tent (markings on the outside, gear inside) so there’s no excuse or chance for confusion.

Yes, if there’s an emergency, then we’ll help. As long as we know that our oxygen is being used we can get it resupplied (or the team needing it can replace it). But to turn up and take it causes not only an issue for the summit team but also jeopardises the lives of other climbers.

It’s completely unacceptable.

Thankfully we’ve got another stash close by so Pemba has gone down to get that but that’s going to waste an hour of his time and energy. I’d never normally wish ill on anyone but if these thieving bastards don’t summit, or get frostbite in the process, then that’s karma.

On a happier note he said Ronnie and Pemba Sherpa summit Lhotse today in very uncrowded conditions.

Everest 101

With the death, I know many readers will become quite worried about their climber. I will not speculate on what happened other than to note the weather was reported fairly good by most teams above the South Col.

This is part of Everest. Each year, on average, around 6 people die. This year has been safer than normal thus far. The common causes of death include altitude related illnesses – complicated by poor decision making when symptons first appear. In other words, turn back immediately upon any sign of altitude sickness – this is known by everyone but followed by few.

The summit pushes thus far have reported cold temperatures and there have been cases of frostbite. Guide are reluctant to talk about this as it reflects poorly on their leadership and decision making. Also it is not surprising for a guide service to have a death and never report it publically.

All this just re-enforces that every climber should come to Everest self sufficient with proper experience, knowledge and judgment to take care of themselves in any circumstance. To depend on others is to ask another human to take responsibility for your life, something you would never do at home, so doing so at 28,000 feet is simply silly when it can be avoided.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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3 thoughts on “Everest 2017: Death, Summits and Thefts – Update

  1. I am reading that Tim Mosdale reports that the Hillary Step has been reduced or even eliminated from the 2015 quake…what are you hearing..

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