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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
May 202021

The remanence of Cyclone Tauktae is playing cat and mouse with the aggressive teams. Madison Mountaineering hoped to get a jump on everyone and went to C3 only to find high winds. Four Sherpas from IMG made it to the South Col and also reported high winds. So the summit plans are off by a day with Madison now targeting May 22.

Big Picture

Teams are scattered from base camp to the South Col. Most appear to be targeting May 21 through the 24 for their summit. Sherpas stocked the Col over a week ago with supplies needed for the summit, however, some tents are reported to been blown away by the winds from Cyclone TC01A aka Tauktae.

As I posted yesterday due to warm temps this season, the Icefall Doc saying the route will be closed on Saturday, May 29. Complicating matters is another cyclone brewing in the Bay of Bengal that might, might, impact Everest around May 27/28/29. But given the Icefall closure, teams need to be off the upper mountain by then anyway. So that leaves us with low-wind days between May 23rd through May 26th.

As for crowds, well it depends. First on the number of summit days, second on how many members are really left, and third on the willingness of the guides to thread this tiny eye of the needle. Obviously, the more days of low winds, the less chance of crowds. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot this weekend to clear off the mountain for those leaving base camp now. As for how many members are left, it’s hard to get a reading on that given the cover-ups, lack of transparency, and gag orders from both the government and the operators. But it’s their choice as to how much to share, my job to ferret it out 🙂 At this point, It’s safe to say that there are fewer than we thought a month ago. Finally as for the eye of the needle, well this is why people hire guides – for their experience, connections, and judgment. I wish them all well.

Cyclone Action

Marc De Keyser, Meteorologist/Owner of weighs in on the current and potential second cyclone:

The old cyclone is expected to clear tomorrow but the high winds between C3 and C4 will linger into the 22nd. Best day will be the 23rd but the difficulty will be to reach SC the day before. I am a bit worried about the new cyclone yaas, from the 23rd developing inthe northern BoB. If this happens as currently indicated, everest and makalu will be affected with massive cloudcover and showery/thundery outbreaks. But 6 days ahead forecast concerning the influence of a cyclone on one particular place is not very confident!

Team Updates

Many teams are holding at Camp 2, some are higher. Here’s what some are saying. A comment on my process, I follow around 200 sites several times each day in addition to phone calls, emails, and texts from multiple sources and my own experience of six times on Everest/Lhotse (with one Everest summit in 2011) to generate these updates. However, if a team doesn’t provide timely updates, I cannot report on them thus you might not see your favorite one listed.

7 Summits Club. Note Alex Abramov hoped to make a no O’s attempt but will not now.:

News from the Everest team. We decided not to go down, stayed in the camp 2 (6500 m). Survive the weather here. Conducted another oxygen training to exclude surprises upstairs, walked with oxygen to the Lhoje wall and back. We plan to go to the third camp in a day and then to the top. I have decided to abandon the cold ascension, the success of the whole team is more important.
Our current Everest and Lhotse summit teams are at C2 and C3 looking to summit over the next few days. Conditions on the hill are overcast with a bit of wind today with weather due to improve tomorrow. At C3 is our Lhotse team of Wolfe and Francisco, and Everest climbers Francesco and Remy with their private guides and Mario(Croatia) and Akash with Big Tendi. At C2 are Jessica, Jessica, HP, Clayton, Tomi, Asma with little Tendi, Malu, Ossy, Vanessa, and Mario (Ecuador). Our Western Guided team and Damien are at EBC.
Our Team at Camp 2 is doing a great job practicing patience. IMG Senior Guide Phunuru Sherpa reported that four of our Sherpa made a light carry to the South Col today and confirmed very high winds above the Yellow Band. They had to really struggle across the Geneva Spur and onto the Col as they climbed above any wind protection afforded by Nuptse.

Today we climbed up from Camp II to Camp III.  We are currently in Camp III.  Happy to be here on the Lhotse Face.  It’s been a stormy day – very blustery, lots of snow fall, and high wind gusts throughout the day.  We got up here to our camp and spent the first three hours digging out our tents which had been consumed and covered in fresh snow and spin drift blowing by the wind.  Once we got moved into our tents, got our stoves going and made some water, we had dinner.  Everyone is getting to bed now.

The weather changed a bit.  We were hoping to head up to Camp IV tomorrow, but with the new forecast and the inclement and blustery weather on the way tomorrow, our plan is to hunker down here in Camp III and take a rest day and wait out the weather and then move up to Camp IV the following day on the 21st of May.

Mountain Professionals:

Summit day is officially in sight! Mountain Professionals’ #Everest team continues to progress nicely up the mountain and is currently safe and sound at Camp 2. They set off on their final trip from Base Camp on the 17th, ascending straight to C2 to cap off what always ends up being a long and challenging day.
Shifting weather patterns due to India’s Tropical Cyclone Tauktae have complicated matters a bit, leading to high winds and moderate snowfall in camp. Out of an abundance of caution, the team decided to push their target summit date back and take a second rest day at 21,000’. With any luck, the weather will settle soon and the team can set out for Camp 3 feeling recuperated and ready to go!

Today was test day for the Mountain Trip Everest team and everybody passed! Scott Woolums has been in charge of covid testing for the team, and he spent the morning testing all members including kitchen staff, Sherpa team, and all climbers and he was happy to see all negative results today. We had a couple of tests fail to produce a result the first time, but had enough available to try again and got results we are confident in on everyone.

This isn’t the only challenge in front of our Everest team, but it was a big hurdle and we’re happy everyone is healthy and Covid-free in the Mountain Trip camp. They’ll maintain a “closed camp” and not interact with any other teams while our focus turns towards the challenges of weather and logistics for the summit push. So far, the cyclone that has been moving through India hasn’t produced a ton of snow on the mountain and should be clearing out in another day or so. We’re watching the weather and other climber traffic closely now as the team looks towards a summit opportunity at the tail end of this challenging season.

Pioneer Adventure:

Our team is planning for their final Summit push soon. We wish the good luck, good weather, good health and safe climb

Summit Climb:

Everest News: Because of the cyclone forecast and 5 new cm of falling snow, we decided we should remain in Camp 2 today. Our plan is to move to c3 on 20 may (tomorrow), c4 on 21 may, rest in c4 on 22 may, and then ascend the summit on night of 22 and morning of 23 may. According to the 4 weather forecasts we checked, thats when the winds should be the most quiet. Lets hope it has stopped snowing by then, otherwise it would be like walking in a huge blizzard. Fingers Crossed!

Tim Mosedale:

Well the weather hasn’t been playing ball recently and lots of teams are sitting it out at C2 or C3. Looks like things are about to start improving so expect plenty of movement imminently. It’s still going to be reasonably challenging tomorrow so wish everyone luck and safe passage. The next port of call for a lot of teams is The South Col – at 7,950m it is the highest camp on the Nepal side

Climbalaya (from Mingma Sherpa)

Today we practiced ice climbing at the base camp. We will depart for the upper camp in a few days for the final summit rotation. Hope the weather will be change better in some days.

 And Quentin Roberts reporting for them:

Just got down from an amazing mission on the mountain! Over a meter of snowfall had us descending fast, but not without spending two nights up there and dialling in the first half of the route. We got down to find out that we’ve actually got a real window coming up in the next days! SO PSYCHED!!! The puzzle pieces are falling into place, let’s hope they continue to do so, and we’ll be raging in two days time!! To the top
And finally from Sanna Raistakka and Roeland van Oss with their Project 21:

The rest period is now over and the time has come to get ready for the summit attempt. The weather forecasts have been changing on a daily basis and so it did this morning also, showing us that we need to leave tonight if we want to avoid the next lot of bad weather coming.

We’ve had a good long rest and, in fact, are as ready as we can get for a summit push. Mentally we feel excited and energized to give it a go; physically we’ve slept, rested, and eaten as much as our bulging bellybuttons allow. Now that the brief gap of calm is on the mountain, we’ve got to grab with both hands and go for it.

There will be many other teams there too, but we are hoping that the several, clear weather days will spread the summit teams in a way that allows everyone to have a go within the safest possible way, space, and time.

As the summit date itself may still change I won’t jinx it by writing it down 😉, but hopefully we can give you some good news in a few days’ time.

Wish us luck!

Everest/Lhotse Traverse

Kilian Jornet and  David Göttler reportedly aiming to summit Everest via the West Ridge and then follow the ridge to Lhotse (and perhaps Nuptse) for a true traverse are in a holding pattern as well. Gottler posted:

For all that we are itching to start our climb, the weather is just not doing what we need it to do! So, we keep ourselves busy with runs and hikes up, down and around the peaks surrounding @the_edelweiss_pheriche. It’s really cool to see how different these training sessions feel to those I did when I arrived at the beginning of April. How the body acclimatises to altitude over time is fascinating…and appreciated!
Kilian added this call for help for Nepal:
In the moment Nepal is suffering a lot from covid and economically from the lack of tourism so I cannot but encourage you to travel to this beautiful country when the situation is back to normal. And if you have this country in your heart to support one of the many associations and NGOs who are helping out in this country!

International Help for Nepal

Spain used their charter flight to evacuate their national from Nepal to bring help to the struggling country. The Himalayan Times noted: “more than 5 tonnes of health materials, includes 15 respirators, 10 oxygen concentrators, together with consumables and spare parts necessary for their use, 144,000 FFP2 face masks and some 125,000 antigen test kits.”

Pakistan Climbing Update

The Pakistan government announced limited re-opening effective May 24. They are seeing a significant spike in COVID cases due to their proximity to India. Stefan Nestler reports, “Mountaineers, trekkers and High Altitude Porters from Nepal or those mountaineers/individuals who have been in Nepal in past three weeks are not allowed until Nepal is taken out of the ‘List of Category C countries’.”

Potential Summit Schedule

Overall, I estimate between 250 and 300 total people left to summit throughout this period. See my location table for team locations.

  • 21: Teams at C2/3/SC
  • 22: Teams at C3/SC, Summits
  • 23: Summits
  • 24: Summits
  • 25: Back to C2
  • 26: Cyclone #2?
  • 27: Cyclone #2?
  • 28: All high camps cleared
  • 29: Icefall route closed

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Video Version of this Post

Everest 2021: Summit Plans

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You can listen to #everest2021 podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Anchor, YouTube, and more. Just search for “alan arnette” on your favorite podcast platform.

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  2 Responses to “Everest 2021: Summit Plans”


    Cracking stuff as usual Alan, Why is the Icefall shut on the 29th… it for the season?


      As we approach June, temps go up making the Icefall even more unstable. This season has been a tad bit warmer thus the Docs must feel it’s necessary to shut it down, for the season, earlier than usual.