Everest 2018: The Risks of Everest

An avalanche off the West Shoulder of Everest onto the Khumbu Icefall in 2008.

Climbing any mountain has inherent risks and Everest is no different. While, the death rate is actually lower in recent years compared to when commercialization began in the early 1990’s, people still get hurt and die each season.

It has been snowing on both side of the mountain. A few of the Nepal side teams are staying in place at base camp or Camp 2 until the weather clears, yet still doing some active rest.

Sherpas Hurt

Yesterday two Sherpas were hurt near the Football field in the Khumbu Icefall when an ice serac collapsed. One was flown to Kathmandu and will recover, the other was treated at base camp. IMG reported that 100 meters of the route needed to be replaced with new ropes and ladders. It delayed their Sherpas by a day who were planning on going to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face and begin chopping out tent platforms.

Meanwhile those teams still at Camp 2 took a leisurely stroll to the base of the Lhotse Face. Jagged Globe has a nice track of their route. They added “All team members climbed to 6,750m at the foot of the Lhotse Face. In a cold and clear morning, with no other climbers moving above Camp 2, the team left Camp 2 at 06.00 following the trail to Camp 3. They turned back from the start of the fixed ropes at 08.30, and were back in Camp 2 for breakfast by 09.30. Conditions were a bit colder than expected, but they expect things to warm up a bit before they climb to Camp 3 next week.”

C2 to Lhotse Face courtesy of Jagged Globe

The fixed ropes are now up to the Geneva Spur.


I like Ryan Water’s of Mountain Professionals look at how Everest has changed. They just got back from their Camp 2 rotations:

It is quite interesting to see the changes in base camp living over 15 years of coming to the Himalaya. Gone are the days of the things called books, made out of paper, read over head lamps in your possibly shared base camp personal tent to pass time. Dining tents that had a heater were something out of a futuristic novel, and the first times I personally came to the Himalaya, a $7 a minute sat phone call home, maybe once every couple weeks was the only thread back to family and friends, unless you wanted to make the hour long trek down to Gorak Shep to sit in line at the “internet cafe” that consisted of 2 marginally functional laptops set up by an industrious Sherpa, to check your hotmail account.

In the never ending “space race style” competition to make the logistics as posh as possible, it is good to actually get out on the hill and go climbing from time to time. To reconnect with the mountain and be in the actual elements. But, coming down to the luxuries of our Basecamp are not lost on this dirtbag who has seen the changes over time. Our huge personal box tents, carpeted and with a bed mattress are a game changer. And the ability to stay connected to the outside world and loved ones is a welcome diversion to the rigors of a long expedition.

Tibet Progress with Pain

On the Tibet side, teams are proceeding with their normal acclimatization rotations to Advanced Base Camp and some on to the North Col.  Ricky Munday reports in. Click on his name to read the full post and see some nice pictures.

Three days ago we left basecamp 5,150m for the 10km move to interim camp 5,700m. Last year this took me 4h 15m, but this year I was up in only 3h 10m, which I put down to a much more effective acclimatisation schedule, which saw me walk up to 5,850m.

Sean had told me that the camp would be on the near side of a gorge, but I couldn’t see our camp anywhere. I sat and ate lunch with the Sherpas from the big Chinese team for 45 minutes, before deciding to head over to the other die of the gorge. I walked into every camp, but no sign of Makalu/Satori/Adventure Peaks anywhere. I considered walking up to ABC but didn’t have enough food or water. I decided to play it safe and re-cross the steep gorge, where I caught sight of Sean waving at me to cross back. In the end, we didn’t set up our own camp, but used Arun Trekking tents for the night. One of our extended group had lost the path and didn’t arrive until 8pm – a very long day for him!

Next morning, we were off early, and Sean was off like a rocket. I knew I could never match his pace, but settled into a steady rhythm and started counting paces of a thousand steps at a time. This time last year I struggled quite badly on this section, and counted 80 paces at a time! I arrived at ABC in only 4 hours, which was 1hr 45m quicker than last year. Sean was already here, and I rested with a cup of tea as the Sherpas finished building the camp.

Tomorrow we’ll leave at 08:30 to climb the north Col. It’ll feel great to be back climbing on Mother Goddess of the Earth. I’m looking forward to it, but have some level of apprehension, given the effort involved. That will complete our first rotation, and we’ll head back to base camp the following day to rest and recuperate.

Getting the body adjusted to the thin air is hard. climbing with Furtenbach Adventures, Michael Lutz notes

Me coming down from our first acclimatization circle. Acclimatizing is hard! The human body is only capable to adjust up to ~5500m. Everything above is only possible for a short term, accompanied with physical degradations.
We spent one night at 6000m and three nights at 6400m, including some climbs above. After being back from our first circle I can still feel the tremendous impact that high altitude has on the human body:
1: Constant feeling of thousands of needles pinching into my feet due to oxygen undersupply – really painful!
2: Getting a small blind/grey spot in my left eye due to oxygen undersupply of the corneal

2018 continues to be a normal season with better weather than last year. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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