Everest 2023: Summits “Records”

Monday, May 22nd, was a windy but good day for summits and records. An estimated fifty more people summited, advancing the season total to close to 500. The season could end this week as winds will become too dangerous.

Scott Lehmann & Shayna Unger, self-described “Deaf Mountaineers & Explorers,” became what they believe to be the first “profoundly deaf” American couple to summit Everest. They were supported by Seven Summits Treks. I did a podcast with them before they left. Today, they gave this update:

“WE MADE IT TO THE SUMMIT AT 6:00AM! Sorry for the delay, it was freezing cold and super windy at the summit, our Garmin InReach ran out of battery and our phones wouldn’t work! But lucky us we had our cameraman with us so he took pictures and videos of us at the summit! We can’t wait to share more with all of you when we’re back at EBC”

Pasang Dawa Sherpa, 46, tied Kami Rita Sherpa’s, 53, twenty-seven summits Everest record. But it could be short-lived as Kami Rita is expected to make one more attempt before this season ends.

Most of the no-O’s climbs take place at the end of the season because climbers usually like to tag 8000 meters for acclimatization compared to 7000 for most people on Os. Also, they need to move as fast as they can since they will be colder and faster without the extra Os. Russians Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin said they summited and then skied down. It’s not clear if they truly skied off the summit and how far they skied, so let’s hold off the standing ovation until we get the confirmed details.

I’m getting first-hand reports that no Os climbers with Seven Summits Treks turned back on their attempts.

There were probably over 500 total summits on the Nepal side. There have been no summit reports from the expected Chinese National teams on the Tibet side, but they rarely promote their local teams. All the usual suspects reported summits: 7 Summit Club, 8K Expeditions, 14 Peaks, Altitude Junkies, Climbalaya, Climbing the Seven Summits, Dreamer’s Destination, Elite, Furtenbach Adventures, Imagine Nepal, IMG, Kaitu, Pioneer Adventures, Seven Sumit Treks, and more.

Madison Mountaineering reported from Camp 3 on this summit push that the winds had let up, as predicted. They will spend a full day as planned at the South Col, aiming to summit on Wednesday morning, May 24. Other teams scheduled to summit on Wednesday include Alpine Ascents, Adventure Consultants, Madison Mountaineering, Summit Climb, and a couple of Nepali operators.

2023 Deaths

From 1922 to May 20, 2023, 193 members and 125 Sherpas died on Everest on both sides by all routes. The top causes of death for all 323 deaths include avalanches (78), falls (72), Acute Mountain Sickness-AMS (38), exhaustion (28), illness-non-AMS (27), and exposure (26).

This spring season is well above the historical average of four. The top years for deaths on both sides, by all routes, were 2014 (16), 1996 (15), 2015 (13), 2019 (11), 1982 (11), and 1988 (10). These are the deaths during this 2023 spring season:

1-3. On April 12: Tenjing Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, and Badure Sherpa, all working for Nepali operator Imagine Nepal, died when the upper section of the Icefall collapsed

4. May 1: American Jonathan Sugarman, 69, died at Camp 2 climbing with American operator International Mountain Guides (IMG)

5. May 16: Phurba Sherpa passed away near Yellow Band above Camp 3. He was part of the Nepal Army Mountain Clean-up campaign

6. May 17: Moldovan climber Victor Brinza died at the South Col with Nepali operator Himalayan Traverse Adventure

7. May 18: Chinese Xuebin Chen, 52, died near the South Summit with Nepali operator 8K Expeditions

8. May 20: Malaysian Ag Askandar Bin Ampuan Yaacub got above South Summit, then became ill and died. He was climbing with Nepali operator Pioneer Adventures

9. May 21: Australian Jason Bernard Kennison, 40, died near the Balcony. He was with Asian Trekking

10. May 18: There was another death, Indian Suzanne Leopoldina Jesus, 59, who intended to climb Everest but left EBC ill and died in Lukla, so not technically a climbing death.

Nepal RECORD Permit Update as of May 14, 2023

Government officials say they will not issue any more Everest climbing permits this season, stopping at a record of 478. The previous Everest record was 408 for the 2021 season of 408. Nepal issued climbing permits for 1,176 climbers from 80 countries for 27 peaks. Looking at Everest only, China has the largest representation with 97 members, followed by the US at 89, India–at 40, Canada-21, and Russia-20. There are 44 countries represented by three or fewer climbers.

These permits have generated $5.8M in royalties for the government. Almost all of this revenue stays in Kathmandu, with some in various personal pockets and none to the Sherpas, porters, or other high-altitude workers. The Nepal Ministry of Tourism posted these foreign permit tallies as of May 14, 2022:

  1. Everest: 478 on 47 teams
  2. Lhotse: 156 on 17 teams
  3. Ama Dablam: 79 on 8 teams
  4. Nuptse: 63 on 6 teams (only a few will attempt to summit, most will stop at C2)
  5. Makalu: 63 on 9 teams
  6. Annapurna I: 54 on 5 teams
  7. Kanchenjunga: 44 on 5 teams
  8. Himlung: 41 on 5 teams
  9. Dhaulagiri: 37 on 4 teams
  10. Manaslu: 15 on 4 teams

Climb On!
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