Everest 2019: Weekend Summits?

Everest Southeast Ridge Route Map. Courtesy of www.alanarnette.com © reproduction prohibited without authorization

The winds are still stopping the rope fixing progress but not the acclimatization process on either side. This weekend there could be a break.


On both sides, the winds are calm at 7,000-meters, i.e. both Advanced Base Camps, but is still roaring on the summit. I can tell you it’s the strangest experience to be in your tent hearing what sounds like a huge train passing by at full speed, and it is constant. That’s the jet stream ripping across the summit of Everest at maybe 100 to 150 mph. Obviously not a day to be up there.

Everest Plume Tibet Side 2019

As word spreads that the ropes fixers may be back at work this weekend, some of the teams that went to lower villages are slowly returning to their base camps and starting the preparations for their summit bids. However, remember there is still a solid 20 days left in the season so a long time to go.

I was told the Icefall Doctors have declared they will stop maintaining the route to Camp 2 on May 29. Not sure how this date was selected but it has been warm this year (again) and the route through the Icefall begins to get very dangerous as the already teetering seracs loses their frozen foundations.

Cable Car to the Summit

Being associated one way or another with Everest and climbing since 1997, I’ve heard every joke and jab but the most common is about putting a cable car to the summit … well … it appears this might actually happen on Kilimanjaro. Reuters is reporting that a study is underway by Tanzania to build cable car to the summit. Before we all cry foul, think about the lifts on Elbrus, Mont Blanc, and elsewhere around the world. All of this is to make money off natural resources but on Kill, there is a big fear it will put many of the 20,000 porters out of business.

Nepal – Loads to South Col, No Summit Ropes, Lhotse Time

Mingma Sherpa and his Imagine Nepal company has been quite successful over the past few years both in Nepal and Pakistan. I asked Mingma how he was doing this year on the Nepal side. Looks like Lhotse first.

“We were already concerned about the big wind so we finished our acclimatization before it comes and kept everyone on rest. Today our Sherpa team dropped first load to south Col and they will take 2 days rest for another load to south Col then we are ready for summit push. The weather from 11 May is getting better but we are not in hurry this time. Most probably we will go Lhotse Summit first.

Ropes: I found this year is better than last year. Fixing team has done great job. The rope to summit must be after 14 May. We set up our south Col on 29 may last year but this year we are still struggling with weather for setting camp 4. All depends on weather for now. My team is composed of two Greece woman, 5 Chinese, 1 Pakistan, 1 Indian boy and one Canadian. Additional one Greece man and a Chinese for Lhotse. Also 4 members from Everest will attempt Lhotse.

I asked Garrett Madison, who is hosting and managing the rope fixing team, when he expected the see them reach the summit: “Looks like winds dropping on May 12, so hopefully after that”

Tibet – No Crowds, No Ropes

I checked in with Kathmandu based Rowling Excursion on how their climb was going on the Tibet said. All good thus far:

“No damage to our camp on North from the Cyclone. The rope fixing team has not gone above the North Col. So cant say anything about a summit date. This year, the North Side doesn’t seem crowded at all.”

On Wednesday, May 8, Rob Lea climbing with Alpenglow made this post about the winds when they tried to get to the North Col:

We went for the North Col today (23,000 ft). We didn’t quite make it. But for every foot below the the col, we experienced one of these gales where you’d just hang on for dear life. It was exciting, interesting and brutal. It’s so nice to be back in the comfort of advanced base camp. Although, it’s a little unnerving when you’re sitting in your tent and you literally think you here a freight train coming. Within 20 seconds the wind hits your tent and you’re hoping the tent was made well enough

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4 thoughts on “Everest 2019: Weekend Summits?

  1. Alan, Thank you for the informative posts! I enjoy reading your posts each day. Small correction today – there is no lift on Mont Blanc – still a mountain to be climbed. A good thing! Cheers, Rosie

    1. Thanks Rosie, I was referring to the Aiguille du Midi cable car aka Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi

  2. I love your Everest (and later your Karakorum) updates! Keep up the great work!

    Peace and love from Pakistan.

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