Click for site home
The Blog on alanarnette.com
Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
May 082022
 

It was a busy week in the Himalayas with summits on multiple 8000ers, including Everest. On the Nepal side of the mountain, Kami Rita Sherpa led the rope team to the summit and at the same time extended his summit record to 26. Sadly, there were two more deaths of the season, one on Kangchenchunga and another on Everest. Still, thus far 2022 is a low-drama season. With the good weather emerging, the summit trolls will now allow everyone to make their attempts.

Big Picture

2022 is turning out to be an unusual season but in a good way. On Thursday, I did a podcast with three world-class meteorologists, Michael Fagen of Everest Weather, Chris Tomer of Tomer Weather Solutions, and Marc De Keyser of Weather4expeditions , about what we are seeing and can expect these last few weeks of the season. They all agreed that it is warmer than usual, drier than usual, and with less wind than usual. The culprit is the Jet Stream is not sitting on top of Everest like it usually does.

They even suggested that we may see another year like in 2018 when we had 11 consecutive days of low winds that allowed a record year for Everest summits with 802 summits on both sides. The Nepal side saw a total of 562 summits made up of 266 foreigners (aka members) and 296 High Altitude Workers (aka Sherpas). We won’t see anything like that number of summits in 2022, perhaps around 400, including support.

A wild card was a potential typhoon brewing in the Bay of Bengal but now it appears that  “ASANI” will track away from making landfall. Again, there are currently NO typhoons warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center:

Typhoon Asani projected track, May 8, 2022. Courtesy of Joint Typhoon Center

That said, it does look like sporadic winds above 30 mph/50kph through Tuesday, May 10.

Last Week

Summit Ropes

Kami Rita Sherpa at age 52, led a team of 11 Sherpas who over-powered the upper flanks of Everest on the Nepal side to open the flood gates for commercial summits late Saturday, May 7, 2022, at 6:55 pm. Seven Summit Treks had the contract to fix the upper mountain and assigned these strong Sherpas to the task:

  • Sona Sherpa
  • Ngima Tashi Sherpa
  • Phurba Tsering Sherpa
  • Tenjing Gyaljen Sherpa
  • Lakpa Tenji Sherpa
  • Phurba Kusang Sherpa
  • Mingma Dandhu Sherpa
  • Pastenji Sherpa
  • Tareman Tamang
  • Phurba Chhotar Sherpa

Kami Rita may get number 27th if he guides commercial clients this season. The rope team was now expected to move over to Lhotse and set the line to the summit.

Deaths

Sadly, on May 6, 2022, a 52-year-old Indian client of Pioneer Adventure died after leaving Camp 4 on Kangchenjunga. His outfitter reported to the press that Sherpas told Narayan Iyer to turn back, but he refused. There is usually more to these stories than first reported.

And on May 8, 2022, a member of the Russian team, Seven Summits Club died at Camp 1 of assumed altitude sickness on Everest while completing their acclimatization rotations. He was helped to descend to C2 where he died. Pavel Kostrikin,55, according to the Himalayan Database, had attempted Everest in 2013 and 2016 turning back both times citing exhaustion. His body has already been airlifted back to Kathmandu and returned to his family.  source source

Chinese Summits

There were two waves of Chinese who summited Everest last week taking their total to around 50. The second team of 13 included five who installed a series of weather stations on Everest. The highest station was installed around 11:00 am, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, located just beneath the summit at 8800-meters. You can still view their live-stream of the climb and installation on Facebook on May 4, 2022.

Pakistani Progress

With Kanchenjunga, Pakistani climber, Sirbaz Ali Khan, on Saturday, became the first-ever Pakistani to climb 10 of the world’s 14 highest peaks above 8,000 meters after he successfully scaled 8,586-metre Kanchenjunga,,32, got his 10th 8000-meter peak, the most of any Pakistani. And on May 5, Shehroze Kashif became the youngest person to summit Kanchenjunga in addition to the youngest to summit Everest and K2. Well done to both.

Next Week – First Member Summits

Weather forecasts are calling for amazing summit conditions with light winds and temperatures around OF/-20C after May 10. I’m hearing several teams looking to summit between May 11 and May 16. Some teams may hold at EBC for a few more days if the weather shows low winds, and no Typhon impact, so I’m expecting a steady stream of summit through at least May 22.

Multiple teams are moving higher on Everest to be in position for their summit bid. The usual program is to leave EBC and move to Camp 2 for two nights. Then to Camp 3 for one night, and next is the South Col, hopefully, arriving before noon. The climbers will rest and leave for the summit in the early evening hoping to reach the summit around dawn. They spend a short time, under an hour at the most, before retracing their steps to Camp 2 for the night and then to EBC the next day. Overall, most teams will take about five or six days.

Some teams will modify this schedule by spending a full day at the South Col, on supplemental oxygen, before making their summit bid, then instead of returning to Camp 2, they will spend another night after the summit. This modification can add one or two nights to the overall schedule

8000ers – Summits, Carlos Back to BC, Kanch Summits, Soon on Makalu

On Dhaulagiri, Carlos Sori, 83, Sito Carcavilla, and Sherpas are now back to Base Camp after reaching Camp 2 when snowfall moved in. They retreated to Camp 1 hoping for a break, but have now backtracked to Base Camp. Their plans are uncertain, but it may be over for the 13th attempt for the 83-year-old. His home team posted:

Finally Carlos Soria, Sito Carcavilla and Mikel Sherpa have descended to the base camp of Dhaulagiri, after the last snowfalls and the forecast of strong winds in height for tomorrow’s day.

However, Pemba Sherpa, of 8K Expedition, noted that Norweigan Kristin Harila did summit Dhaulagiri with three Sherpas: Dawa Ongju Sherpa, Mingma Thenduk Sherpa, and Pasdawa Sherpa. She summited Annapurna this season and now will attempt Kanchenjunga. She is on a mission to summit all 14 of the 8000ers in record time for a female.

Pioneer Adventure had a big week on Kanchenjunga with 20 (19?) summits and eight (seven) members supported by 12 climbers. Also putting climbers on top was Mimnga G of Imagine Nepal with 13 made up of six members supported by seven Sherpas.

Still on their summits pushes are Kobler & Partner, one of the oldest operators out of Europe, who is at C3, and the KanCan2022 team, Both are at the high camps looking to summit Monday morning, May 9, 2022.

Over on Makalu, Alpenglow’s Adrian Ballinger gave this update:

“It’s a process that I know and love deeply, and one that still excites me after doing it in the Himalayas for almost 20 years. This last rotation I climbed up to C2 (6,600m, 21,700’) and stayed the night before carrying my skis ⛷ and some other equipment up to C3 at 7,450m, (24,500’). It was a hard day, but so much fun!! Now Im back in ABC, resting, looking at weather, and trusting the process.


When the ropes touch the summit, and the weather is clear; on my, do your emotions ramp up!

Anticipation

You have been hearing about the infamous summit window for years. The last few days, it seems like that is all you’ve talked about. At breakfast this morning the table talk went like this. “So, do you believe the forecast?” you throw out to the table at large. “You mean the one that said we would have clear skies and no winds the day the cyclone hit us? The skeptic in the group responded. “Yeah, that one.” You continue undeterred. “You know if it’s right then we leave tomorrow or the day after for our summit push.” The table gets quiet as each person looks into their soupy porridge. No need for a lot of words. This is why you are here. Each person is lost in their own private world for the next few bites.

You’ve heard the talk from the lead guide to be ready at a moment’s notice as the weather forecast changes quickly. She took joy in telling the story of a few years ago when they got an update at 9:00 pm Everest time from the States where it was 11:45 minutes earlier. What’s up with the 15-minute thing? Anyway, the story goes that everyone had gone to their tents after being told the weather was horrible up high and there would be no summit push for at least a week. Each climber had done their nightly routine and crawled into their sleeping bags with their toes being warmed by a Nalgene filled with hot water. They had completed their last crocodile roll in their sleeping bag around 10 when, like Paul Revere, the lead guide came urgently to the member tent area shouting. “Hey everyone, if you want to go to the summit this is your chance. Pack your summit pack and be ready to leave base camp at 2.” Wow, talk about whiplash!

Well, you were ready. Hell, you’ve been ready for the past three years as you saved money, put off big purchases, trained on lesser peaks, and pushed hard to get your body in shape. The last few weeks, it has all come together. Yeah, the first climb to Camp 1 was slow. You thought a few times that you weren’t up for this but you pushed on. The next trip up to Camp 2 was better, but then that damned Lhotse Face. Lucky you, this year it was hard blue ice, no snow for steps to be kicked into. It seems like it took forever to get to lower C3. But you did it. Your team didn’t sleep there like others before you. The new thinking is you don’t have to punish your body with that horrible night at 23,000-feet to acclimatize, you only need to get to 7,000-meters, have a snack, and return to C2. Good God, you hope they are right.

Leaving breakfast early, you skipped the regular chat group for some alone time. Sitting crossed-legged in your tent, you look at your summit gear spread out on the tent floor. You get that 1,000-yard stare in your eyes as you begin to visualize the next few days. The last climb through the creaky Khumbu Icefall, the hot Western Cwm, up the steep Lhotse Face, then … well you don’t know. You only know what you’ve read and been told. Leave C3 before dawn, continue up the Face and turn left towards the Yellow Band. Clipped into the fixed ropes, scale the limestone rock and then to the base of the Geneva Spur and scramble over the exposed rock to the South Col. Spend a few hours resting on Os then leave just after dark. Up the pyramid to the Balcony, the Southeast Ridge and South Summit, the Traverse, and then whatever is left of the Hillary Step and on, and on to the top of the world. You know the music but do you know the words? Can you sing the song? Can you keep up with the band? Can you …

All of a sudden your frozen stare locks onto a picture you placed in the tent mesh pocket three weeks ago when you arrived. You focus carefully on the faces. You look into their eyes, half expecting them to say something. You listen carefully and then you hear a voice. “I love you. We believe in you. We will be with you each step. You are where you should be. I believe.” Locked into the moment, you give yourself permission to go somewhere else. The change of scenery feels good. Your breathing is calm, and controlled. You are at peace.

Each item on the tent floor has its own place in your pack. You slowly and methodically organize your kit. There is something comforting about the familiarity of this routine. You’ve done this many times as you trained for Everest. Some of the gear, you pick up and cradle in your palms. Yes, this will keep me safe. And you put it in the same place as before. Eventually, the floor is clear and the pack is full.

Rolling over onto your unzipped down sleeping bag you lie down and look at the ceiling. Closing your eyes, you hear the sounds of base camp, Everest Base Camp. The hiss of a gas stove, the chatter of teammates still talking trash, Sherpa, or Nepalese language, you still have a hard time telling the difference, but enjoy the cadence, the strength, and confidence in their conversation. Off in the distance, the gentle tone of a yak bell. You know the huge furry beast is probably nodding off. The sounds of camp act like a soft sleeping pill as you go to that place between sleep and awake.

Knowing your time will come soon, you take one more breath and go to that place of sleep. Soon you will be climbing Mount Everest.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything


Nepal Permit Update as of May 8, 2022

The permits for Everest have leveled out at 317, around 100 less than the record set in 2021 of 408. Climbing permits have been issued for 953 climbers from 74 countries for 26 peaks. Looking at Everest only, the US has the largest representation with 65 members, followed by the UK-34, Nepal (non-Sherpas)-21, India-23, Canada-17, Russia-17, France-13, China-14, and Austria with 11. There are 37 countries represented by one or two climbers. Nepal generated $3.9 million in royalties from these permits.


Follow Along!

I’m updating my annual team location table and track climber’s blogs (see sidebar). If you have a team not listed, please let me know, and I will add them if I can track them. Likewise, please contact me if you prefer not to be mentioned. Finally, if you would like to see anything special this year, post a comment or drop me an email.


Here’s the video podcast version of this weekend’s update:

30 views

The Podcast on alanarnette.com

You can listen to #everest2022 podcasts on SpotifyApple PodcastGoogle PodcastsPocket CastsRadioPublicAnchor, and more. Just search for “alan arnette” on your favorite podcast platform.


Why this coverage?

I like to use these weekend updates to remind my readers that I’m just one guy who loves climbing. With 35 serious climbing expeditions including four Everest trips under my belt and a summit in 2011, I use my site to share those experiences, demystify Everest each year and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease. My mom, Ida Arnette, died from this disease in 2009 as have four of my aunts. It was a heartbreaking experience that I never want anyone to go through so I ask for donations to non-profits where 100% goes to them and nothing ever to me.
donate to Alzheimers

Ida Arnette 1926-2009

Previous Everest 2022 Season Coverage Posts

Comments on/from Facebook

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(valid e-mail required)