Everest 2018: Summit Wave 3 Recap – Sherpa Death on Everest

A Sherpa has died while over 140 people summited Everest on Wednesday morning, May 16. But a series of oxygen system failures stopped at least one team. Look for another day of summits on Thursday as May 17 was the date many teams had target last weekend as the winds calmed. Last night was clear, winds were not an issue and about the usual temperature -4F/ -20F.  Here’s the recap.

Sherpa Death

Lam Babu Sherpa from Kurima Solukhambu died on May 15.  Details are unclear but he is said to had snow blindness. He was on the Nepal side reported missing on 14 May above the South Col. The rescue team based at Camp 2 by Seven Summits Treks was reportedly unaware of the situation. I have confirmed all of this with Gyanendra Shrestha, the Ministry’s representative at EBC. This is the second Sherpa to die on an 8000 meter peak this spring. Ang Dawa Sherpa (32) from Solukhumbu died on 14 May at the Makalu base camp after having altitude related sickness at Camp 2 after their summit.


At least three Tibet teams experienced failures of the oxygen regulators in mid climb. Alpenglow sent the warning out to other teams after they had 10 of 39 regulations fail near the 2nd Step. They reported, and I’ve confirmed, that Transcend and Furtenbach both also experienced failures. Adrian Ballinger turned his 26 person team around and the guides and Sherpas gave up their regulators to keep the members on supplemental oxygen. Adrian told me, “Most happened above 8500m (it was almost like fireworks with our regs and Transcend Himalaya regs failing in rapid succession on the 2nd step). But multiple failures occurred lower, as low as 7900m on descent. The failures were not while attaching/detaching bottles. They were mostly while climbing.  Some were “explosive” with oxygen forming big loud plumes out the top of the reg; others were quieter but caused rapid emptying of bottles.” He went on to say ” “Explosions” was a figure of speech.” They were using oxygen cylinders, regulators and mask from the UK’s Summit Oxygen. Adrian added “We tested every reg and mask at 6400m (abc) before taking them up hill. This problem did not manifest until very high on mountain.”

Adrian and his team certainly showed their experience and professionalism with how they handled this potential disaster. They are back to at least ABC now with no injuries. Its unclear what their next step is but Furtenbach immediately stepped forward and offered their regulators they used that are known to be good, if the Alpenglow wants to do another attempt. You can read the realtime updates and a statement from Summit Oxygen at this link.

Jim Morrison who was on the team posted this first person account:

Just follow the rope to the roof of the world, About a thousand feet to go and two more steps and ????but instead it went like this. I was just to the ridge where you can see into Nepal and chaos came over the radio. The Alpenglow team 15 minutes ahead of us that started from 8300 meters and was doing great had a sudden batch of oxygen regulators fail. A moment later my backpack emitted a venomous roar and all my precious oxygen dissipated into 8500 meter air. Nbd we have backups so I just waited for Adrian and explained what happened. We replaced and moved on up through the first step where the radio did its thing again. And then on cue my regulator blew, all backups were being rushed to the other team, and we were out! So… Mingma my spiritually enhanced friend from Phortse just took his mask and handed it to me. We descended and shared the one mask, me on it and him refusing to take it. An incredible swift climb turned to a different adventure. Everyone is safe, I’ve written more than a tweet, I’ll see Mingma in the fall and learn more from this Lama ???? @adrianballinger @protectourwinters So we can come back and so can our kids.

Also Kara Stinson reports in:

My team was involved in the mass oxygen equipment failure at 28,500ft on our summit push. Our oxygen regulators began to fail en mass at an extremely dangerous altitude and location. With the selfless help of our Sherpa and guide team, we all were able to get to a safe altitude alive while keeping our fingers and toes. Can’t quite wrap my head around the events of this morning yet, but extremely grateful for the safety of my team.

As predicted, it was a big night on the Nepal side with close to 100 summits. There were records broken and first time summits across the board.


48 year-old Kami Rita Sherpa set the individual summit record at 22 with his summit at 8:30 am 16 May 2018. He broke the record he shared with Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa with his 2017 summit. He says he wants to get to 25 then retire. He was guiding a Chinese team of nine members for Seven Summits Treks who all summited with eight other Sherpas.

Lhakpa Sherpa broke her own record for most female summits with another today, her ninth. Her first summit was in 2000 followed by 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2017 and 2018. She lives in the U.S. She was climbing with 7 Summits Club and summited at 5:40 am. She has said she wants 10 summits.

Kenton Cool broke his own record for most UK summits at 13 when he guided Ben Fogle, Mark Fisher who was filling the climb for a documentary.  There were also three Sherpas along, names not listed, to the summit.

Nepal Summits

Gyanendra Shrestha, the Ministry’s representative at EBC said there were 41 foreigners and 53 Sherpas summited today. Adventure Consultants reported summits at 5:43 am 16 May 2018 by Guy Cotter and Leow Kah Shin. Ascent Himalayas put 12 up there including Ole Hovestad becoming  the youngest Norwegian to summit at age 23. Jagged Globe was going for the summit but are not giving any updates until they are back to the South Col. As of 10:30 pm in Nepal still no updates. Satori Adventures and Expeditions put 11 on the summit of Lhotse including 79 year-old Matsumoto Tatsuo, setting the age record for Lhotse. Seven Summit Treks reports that from their International team Indian Sivangi at age 16 along with Rohtash summited with Sherpas Dawa, Nima Norbu and Furba Dorchi. Also Javier Camacho (Spain) and Jangbu Sherpa

Dreamers Destination also had a good night with 4 members and 4 Sherpas summiting. They were the First Women Journalists Everest Expedition a group of five young female journalists advocating on different social issues including sustainable mountain development, nature conservation and gender advancement: Xiao Jun Wu (USA), Leichen Bian (China), Xingfeng Lian (China) and Chin Wui Kin (Malaysia) along with their sherpa, Phurba Thiley Sherpa, Lakpa Nuru Sherpa, Pemba Dorjee Sherpa and Bis Bahadur Gurung. Kaitu Everest Expedition team also put 6 members and 8 Sherpas on top between 8-8:30 am.

Tibet Summits

Furtenbach Adventures said all of 5 members of their classic team with 5 Sherpas summited safely. They experienced oxygen issues but had enough spares to keep going.

Furtenbach Adventures Everest 16 May 2018 Summit

Climbalaya said they had 3 members and 3 Sherpas on the summit at 9:44 am: Valentyn Sypavinn , Alexander Shalaev, Evgenii Pushkarev , Pema Sherpa, Pema Sherpa and Pasang Dawa Sherpa.

Transcend Adventures with their “youth” team had an excellent night even though they also had a few oxygen issues. Their home team told me:

  • Shaik Himamsa, M, 23 yrs becomes the first climber from the Transcend team to reach the summit at apprximately 1:55 a.m. He belongs to the youth team and is a part of the Govt’s initiative to promote adventure sports.
  • K Raja, M, 24 yrs reached the summit at 3:21 a.m. He also belongs to the same team as above.
  • Kavidas,  M 19 and Umakanth, M 19 both reach the summit at 3:25 a.m.
  • Manisha, F 19 and Parmesh M 18 reach the summit at 4:25 a.m.
  • Ajeet Bajaj, M 53 and Deeya Bajaj F 24 reach the summit at 4:40 a.m., in doing so they become the first father-daughter duo from India in achieving this feat. Ajeet has been an adventurer all his life https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajeet_Bajaj. His daughter has been following her father’s footsteps and has undertaken various skiing and mountaineering expeditions from a very young age.
  • Nigma Nuru Sherpa: He was the guiding Sherpa for the Bajaj Family and reached the summit along with them for a record 21st time.
  • Mehul Joshi Reached the summit at 4:30 a.m.
  • Surya Prakash, M 24 yrs reached the summit at 4:30 a.m.
  • Asha Kiran Rani, F 21 yrs reached the summit at 7:20 a.m.

They also had 13 Sherpas with them:

  1. Ngima Nuru Sherpa, Theso
  2. Kami Chhiri, Buksa
  3. Ngima Tenji, Khori Khola
  4. Phurita, Thamotyang
  5. Lakhpa Tshering, Furte
  6. Tenzing Chhotar, Thame
  7. Nima Nuru, Thame
  8. Sonam Tashi, Thame
  9. Nima Tashi, Thame
  10. Karma Gyaijen, Phortse
  11. Pemba Tamang, Mojo
  12. Pasang Tsering, Thamel
  13. Nima Rita, Phortse


7 Summits Club has 10 people at C3 headed up tonight. They report clear skies and excellent conditions and “only” about 60 people for tonights climb.  Transcend has another seven along with seven Sherpas. Look for another 20-30 on the Nepal side.

Other 8000ers

Marco Confortola, Don Bowie, Sophie Lavaud, Sergey Baranov, David Liano and Herbert Hellmuth ended their attempt on Kanchenjunga due to weather. They may try again.

On Dhaulagiri, climbers are reported at Camps 1 and 3

Simrik Air posted an update on the search for Boyan Petrov on Shishapangma. At 7:51 AM Nepal local time today, we flew with our crew members along with two Bulgarians for the search & rescue mission. We once again flew over Shishapangma and then slowly flew down to the base camp as part of the search mission with the hope of finding any trace. We ascended further and also searched to lower parts of the mountains making lot of approaches. The entire search flight over Shishapangma was of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any sign of Boyan.

My condolences on the lost and best wishes to those climbing. Congratulations to the climbers across the board.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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8 thoughts on “Everest 2018: Summit Wave 3 Recap – Sherpa Death on Everest

  1. Just a small human intrest story on Kami Sherpas record breaking 22nd summit.In 19886 when he was 15 he was our porter guide on his first trek.His father came along to meet us to check out that we were OK.I do remember he ate copious amounts of food we had to pay for.Colncidently in 2002 while staying with Appa Sherpa ,whose record he has just broken,at his lodge in Thame,we met him again.There he was Appas neighbour repairing his garden wall.
    Congratulations to him,and thanks Alan for the great web site,am an avid follower.

  2. I’ve had a fascination with Everest for many years but only this year discovered your blog Alan. Many thanks for the detailed, insightful and respectful coverage. Must admit to refreshing your page every hour while sitting at my desk in New Zealand!

  3. That is a big crowd on top do they all take turns going to the actual high point or is within 1 meter close enough?

    1. The summit is about the size of a U.S living room. Technically, no one stands on the tippy top out of respect for the Tibetan belief that is where Miyolangsangma, the Tibetan Goddess of Mountains, lives.

  4. When you say: 140 people summited Everest – does that include Sherpas and guides as well?

    1. Yes. Nepal: 41 foreigners and 53 Sherpas and estimate on Tibet is 23 foreigners and 23 Sherpas/Tibetans so 64 foreigners and 76 support

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