Everest 2023: Final Summits? and Another death, now 11

As the Everest spring season nears the end, we see more Everest summits and peak bagging. With fifty more summits on Tuesday, May 23, the season is approaching 550 total summits by members and Sherpas. More theft was reported at the South Col.

Adventure Consultants put their team of four clients with seven Sherpas on the summit.

Norwegian 8000er collector Kristin Harila summited Everest in the dark early morning hours, then went immediately to bag Lhotse eight hours later. Tenjen Sherpa Lama and Seven Summits Treks were in support. She and her Sherpa support team have summited Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Kangchenjunga, and now Everest and Lhotse since April 26, 2023. She wants to collect all fourteen in six months.

In the horse race who can get the most Everest summits, 53-year-old Kami Rita took the lead with twenty-eight surpassing the seven years younger Pasang Dawa Sherpa at twenty-seven. Both have double summits just this season.

2023 has been an impressive year for climbers with disabilities. Mexican Rafa Jaime became the first Mexican blind climber to summit Everest. He was with his teammate Gesman Tamang and supported by Seven Summit Treks. This follows the double summit of Everest and Lhotse by Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger, who were born deaf. And British Gurkha soldier Hari Budha Magar became the world’s first double above-the-knee amputee to summit Everest. There could be more.

Ang Kami Sherpa died at Camp 2, where he worked in the cook tent, taking the season toll to eleven. Meanwhile, climbers Malaysian Hawari Bin Hashim, 33, and Indian Singaporean Shrinivas Sainis Dattatray remain missing despite searching for many days now.

There were thirteen summits by a Chinese science team working on their weather station. No foreign teams climbed on the Tibet side because of China’s late decision to begin re-issuing of tourist visas. All the usual suspects reported summits from the Nepal side: 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.

There were more oxygen bottles stolen at the South Col, including 72 from one of the largest Nepali-owned operators. This makes three teams, two Western and one Nepali, who had kit stolen at the South Col.

Teams on their summit push, hoping to get there early Wednesday morning, May 24, include Alpine Ascents, 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 23: Ang Kami Sherpa, camp cook  died at Camp 2. He worked for Peak Promotion

11. 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

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5 thoughts on “Everest 2023: Final Summits? and Another death, now 11

  1. I still don’t understand the extreme narcissism that climbers must express to go to the summit. What a selfish endeavour- and could you make it without those who get paid so little to risk their lives to carry your gear and your asses up and down the mountain so you can brag that you ‘did it!’

  2. How does one get away with stealing 72 oxygen bottles that high on the mountain? How is it even possible that with such a short list of possible suspects the perpetrators are not immediately identified and caught red handed?

  3. Thanks for your commentary this season. I really enjoyed your description of the climbing experience from a first person perspective

  4. Excellent post Alan and all of season 2023 posts. RIP for those that perished this year.

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