A short spell of big winds and heavy snow has now moved off both sides of Everest and teams are now preparing to begin their first rotations on the Nepal side. Over in Tibet, no word on when the rope team will begin to fix that route. Traditionally, they start later but seem to catch up quickly.
Its crowded! Nepal has issued a record 374 climbing permits to foreigners as of 16 April. Last nationality count had 87 from India, 68 – US, 62 – China, 42 – UK and 12 – Nepali national as the top countries represented.
EverestER gave an update on an already busy season. One line caught my attention: “A couple of cases of frostbite already – one not surprising – a patient with boots that were too tight and 2nd degree frostbite of the toes.”
Warning personal rant ahead:
There is virtually zero reason for anyone to get frostbite these days. With the major advances in technology of boots, gloves, down jackets and suits, getting frostbite reveals serious inexperience on the part of the climber, or their advisor. Boots too tight? If you are on Everest you should already know that feet swell at altitude and make accommodations. And on and on.
Occasionally, someone will suffer after having a horrible accident, or make a sacrifice while helping someone else. And those climbing without supplemental oxygen are significantly more susceptible to it. But come-on man, lets be smart and protect whats important.
I Can’t Access Facebook!
I’m still seeing reports of slow speeds with EverestLink but other users are saying its now OK. Some report better speeds late at night when most people are off the system. No problems reported from the Tibet side who are mostly using 4G mobile connections.
Nepal Teams Head to High Camps
IMG, who arrived much earlier than most teams plus has already slept high on the 20,000-foot trekking Peak Lobuche East, has one of their three sub-teams going up early Friday morning
Down at EBC, we have now received an improved weather forecast and have given the “green light” to our climbers to begin tomorrow! Team 1, accompanied by their Sherpas, will be departing at 3am for their Camp 2 rotation. The team will work their way through the Icefall and spend two nights at Camp 1 before climbing further to Camp 2 for an additional two nights.
Russell Brice, Himex, is back this year with a solid team from the UK that I will profile later. I’ve always enjoyed Russ’s updates as he says much more than “Everyone is great and the food is delicious!” This is his 59th 8,000m and 24th Everest expedition. They arrived at EBC on 25 March and have already stocked Camp 2.
In this first note, he introduces the team and reviews their acclimatization strategy. Russ is always on the leading edge and was an early pioneer in 2009 using the trekking peak, Lobuche East, and sleeping on the summit at 20,000-feet, before most people caught on. Now he has shifted strategies again.
This year he is using Pumori Peak at 23,419’/7138-meters, equivalent to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face, for acclimatization. Please read his update, along with a short history of yak husbandry in Nepal and Tibet, for all the details.
Pumori was once used by other Everest teams, most notably Tim Ripple of Peak Freaks but became too avalanche prone to continue. Tim made attempts in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 never reaching the summit mainly due to poor conditions.
Russ feels that after the 2015 earthquake, the danger has eased. Also, of note, is in 2017 when Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara, Temba Bhote, Chhepal Sherpa, Dorchi Sherpa, Nuri Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa all summited Pumori while acclimatizing for a winter Everest attempt.
Pumori was first summited by the German team of Gerhard Lenser, Ernst Farrer, Ueli Huerlemann, Hans Ruetzel in 1962. Since then, there have been 516 summits and 41 deaths – 19 from avalanches and 16 from falls. Pumori has a death rate of 2.37 compared to Everest’s 1.23. The most recent summit prior to Txikon was by a Czech Republic team on 1 November 2011. There were unsuccessful attempts in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 on multiple routes.
Windy CBC and Stocking ABC
It was very windy at Chinese Base Camp on the Tibet side. Adventure Peaks noted they held their puja INDOORS!!!
Last night was by far the coldest night so far with wet wipes, water and so on freezing, but once the sun comes up things start to thaw out. After breakie it was time for our Puja. However since it was still blowing a hoolie we had it in our store tent. Stu says it’s the first time he’s known an indoor Puja so it must have been windy!
Cory Richards and Topo Mena have arrived at CBC. They will slowly acclimatize for their attempt of a new route on that side. They are using the logistics from Adrian Ballinger‘s Alpenglow team who posted “The first 100 yaks of the season began moving our equipment and food the 12 miles from BC at 17,200 feet to ABC at 21,000 feet. Progress on the mountain has begun!”
Kari Kobler has partnered with Alpenglow these days on their Everest climbs. They posted a great drone video of what CBC entails. Enjoy (turn the volume up!)
The large Annapurna team climbing Annapurna by the normal route and supported by Seven Summits Treks, are holding for the next weather window expected around April 23/24. The fixed ropes are now at Camp 3. This is an outstanding video of the climb thus far by Nirmal Purja Purja Purja MBE: “Project Possible – 14/7” and Don Bowie.
So far so good as the teams on both sides of Everest begin to make their way up the Hill. The weather looks good for the next few days but perhaps a bit ugly mid next week so time to make hay while the sun is shinning!
Memories are Everything