There were 14 summits of this next, and perhaps next to last, window of the spring 2019 season early Monday morning, May 20, 2019. Meanwhile literally hundreds of other climbers are moving up the gauntlet of camps getting ready for their time on the summit. Its Summit Madness!
First off, it cold on the summit of Mount Everest! With the jet wobbling around today, teams are pushing hard to summit and get back down. Usually it is a week long process:
|Nepal||Camp Altitude||Gain/Loss||Tibet||Camp Altitude||Gain/Loss|
|Day 1||Camp 2||21,000′|
1, 066 m
|Day 2||Camp 2||ABC|
|Day 3||Camp 3||23,500′|
|Day 4||South Col||26,300′|
|Day 6||Camp 2||21,000′|
1, 068 m
As you can see, summit night on the Tibet side is bit shorter due to starting higher, at 27,390′ / 8,300 m compared to 26,300′ / 8,016 m from the South Col. This is why many feel the summit night on the Tibet side is a bit easier, but the winds are the wildcard. Most years, the Tibet side has higher winds as there is nothing blocking them coming from the North.
Now the big question is what the jet and winds will bring to both sides. The best companies on both sides have paid for 2 or more professional weather forecasters and are not using free Internet sites. However, secrets on Everest are like those on a reality game show where everyone knows everything.
A few days ago the winds after the 20th looked to be calm for as long as 5, even 9 days, but now may split into two separate ones. So this means some teams will push hard to get the summit on May 21/22/23 and others will go during May 26/27/28. In any event, we are getting closer to the end of May and the end of the season for most.
There is growing concern about so many people in such a short window with such cold temperatures. Now is when climbing with a highly experienced team is critical to both summiting and surviving.
I do my best to track the teams I can during the summit push but don’t have direct communication with any of them or know the status of any individual. You can see what I am seeing on the tracker table.
Monday, May 20 Summits
Mingma Sherpa’s Imagine Nepal got seven members on the summit plus seven Sherpas. They were the only summits on Monday morning to my knowledge but there may have been a few others.
My 7 members and 7 Sherpa successfully summit Mt.Everest today morning. Huge Huge congratulation to my Everest Team.1. Flampouri christina -greece,
2. pranay bandbuch-india,
3. jia lin chang-China
4. liu yongzhong-China
5. zeng hui wen-China
6. wang xue feng-China
7. Dawa tenzin sherpa -Nepal
8. Tamting sherpa -Nepal
9. lakpa tamang -Nepal
10.Dawa gyalje sherpa -Nepal
11. Phurba chhotar sherpa -Nepal
12. Dendi Sherpa -Nepal. 6 members and 6 sherpa summited at 7:15 am.
13. Archontidou vasiliki-greece
14.Kili Pemba sherpa -Nepal
1 member and 1 sherpa summited at 8:00 AM.
Tuesday May 21 Attempts:
It looks like the winds still may be higher than some guide prefer. Mike Hammil’s Climbing The Seven Summits (CTSS) home team said they are at the a windy South Col:
A quick update for you to let you know that the team at the South Col are going to hold there for the day due to high winds. They will continue to rest and let the winds die down a little and commence their bid tomorrow.
Note that can only do this due to careful planning that if they need to spend an extra night, they will have sufficient food, fuel and, most important, supplemental oxygen. If a team has not prepared, this is not an option and they either do a very risky summit attempt or retreat to Camp 2 or below. Most members only get one shot at the summit. Oh, and there are no refunds!
Each year, Gyanendra Shrestha, a representative fo the Ministry of Tourism stays at base camp and tries to track who climbs when. He does’t really manage anything but helps with coordination and communication back to Kathmandu. He is key to help manage deaths. On his Facebook page he posted late today:
* May 21 : 122 people
* May 22 : 297 people
* May 23 : 172 people
* May 24 : alternative option for big group
Teams looking summit Tuesday, May 21 morning and are at the South Col on the Nepal side include:
- Summit Climb
- Jagged Globe
- 65 degrees North
- Climbing the Seven Summits (postponed to 22 due to wind)
Those were who were planning to move to Camp 3 or to the South Col today for a Wednesday, May 22 summit include:
- Adventure Consultants
- Asian Trekking
- Climbing the Seven Summits
- Dreamers Destination
- Friends of the Himalaya
- Madison Mountaineering
- Mountain Professionals
- Pioneer Adventures
- Summit Climb
Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja and team is at Camp 2 to summit Everest, Makalu and Lhotse within a span of three days, beating his previous record of five days and 10 hours. He posted on Instagram:
@Nimsdai and team are currently at Camp 2. With the plan to be at Camp 4 tomorrow morning and summit of Everest and Lhotse on the 22nd (weather dependent). @nimsdai reports that there is already heavy traffic as more than 200 climbers are looking to summit between 21st and 22nd May.
Adventure Consultants commented on the summit wind chill at ~-50C/-58F:
Recent forecasts for the days ahead have given wind chill temperatures of -50° c. Truly cold conditions that when matched with the depleted oxygen at 8000m, make really challenging climbing conditions. It’s essential to keep moving in conditions like that, so if those conditions potentially coincide with queues or moving slowly, you can appreciate the amount of time we give to making decisions, and attempting to choose the best summit day.
EverestER made a post about the cold a few days ago:
Just how cold and windy is it up there? This case of frostbite occurred in mere seconds, in a climber who removed gloves to change headlamp batteries at Camp 4. This brief exposure resulted in the frostbite we see pictured.
The big news is that the ropes are not expected to reach the Tibet side summit until Wednesday, May 22nd to the summit weather permitting. This dynamic will create serious crowds on that side given the wobbly jet.
Some teams are staged at the North Col, where it was reported having heavy snow, and at Advanced Base Camp for their summit push. Most of these teams continue to look at their summit bid for May 21 – 24 but it may be a day or two later. The teams at North Col include:
- Chinese Team
- 360 Expeditions7 Summits Treks
- Adventure Peaks
- Summit Climb
Scott Woolums gave a good update on the ropes plus a great picture of the “plume”
Lots of wind in the forecast! We’re launching today for ABC at 21,000 ft. on a 7 to 10 day rotation up high, hopefully up to the summit on 27, 28 or 29. Discussed fixed lines with the Chinese Sirdar (boss) this morning and he is saying tomorrow lines go into 8500 meters and then 22nd to the summit weather permitting. Again the 24th in the afternoon the wind is back for a couple days. We have been planning the next good day after the 25th, which looks very windy. Will be in good position to go in a few days! Good luck to all teams going for 23rd!
Rolfe Oostra Mountaineer at 360 Expeditions summed it up nicely from the North Col:
It’s going to be a tough one and there is no getting around that. The weather window looks narrow and with the winds still present it is going to be a cold one. With the narrow window comes strict time frames and cut off points. Rolfe and our Sherpa team have made solid plans for each climber. With a team of 6 you can’t have one plan that suits all.
We are hoping the window opens up a little more and hoping that the wind (which is making it extremely cold) calms down. Every hour brings a change of forecast, making planning very fluid. We are monitoring this very closely.
We have a very strong support team and quality logistics. We can do no more. Now it’s down to the weather gods and each climber to dig deep. Our team of 8 Sherpa and 6+1 climbers are ready! They are buzzing with a mixture of nerves and anticipation and left this morning to ABC. The plan is loose, but looking at a summit push between the 22 – 24.
Furtenbach Adventures: “Flash team arrived well in ABC, tomorrow North col. All doing good. Classic team will follow tomorrow. Weather window looks promising.”
And from Cory Richards and Topo Mena striving to put a new line in on Everest’s Tibet side, not a great situation. They will leave from CBC at midnight May 21. They will not be giving any updates during their climb. Click here to hear a video from Cory:
The weather window is here. It’s not ideal, but if we wait more, we risk loosing the opportunity. In alpinism, there are never perfect conditions, and that’s part of the process and journey. Taking calculated risks are expected, and luckily in our case, we are surrounded by experts who help us form our decisions.
@estebantopomena and I aren’t proud and machismo attempting to conquer or tame the wild. We are here on our individual journeys, together for a single goal. I feel scared as much as I feel strong. Fear is good – it keeps us safe. As I’ve expressed, my battle with mental health includes anxiety that runs high, and it is one of the factors that keeps me cautious and conservative in decision making. It’s that exact quality now that makes my near-and-dear a little more at ease.
This picture posted by Erich Roepke who is filming their effort, is the gulley where they will begin:
In just a few hours @coryrichards and @estebantopomena set off to make Everest history — attempting an unclimbed route on the north of Mt. Everest (pictured here). -I have been lucky enough as a young alpinist and filmmaker and have the crazy privilege to document these two for @roam as they prepare for the climb of a lifetime. For the past two months I’ve watched them prepare for this task at hand. I can tell you that I have never witnessed such a continuous level of focus for anything.
Lhotse South Face
Sung Taek Hong and team have left base camp on their summit push. This is his 6th attempt to scale this route.
Best of luck to all the climbers as they poke their nose into the next window.
Memories are Everything!