Everest 2024: Weekend Update May 25: Season nears the End with Summits and Death

The week’s activity on Everest revealed significant issues for climbers. While there were hundreds of summits and several deaths, it wasn’t pretty. A route collapse at the Hillary Step could be the canary in the coal mine of Everest. Some Tibet-side teams summited.

Each weekend during the season, I’ll post a “Weekend Update” summarizing the main stories from the past week and what to expect next. This may be my last update before my traditional season summary to close out my coverage.

Big Picture

With sporadic winds and huge crowds this past week, it was not the Everest experience many sought. Team leaders struggled with schedules, but most pushed through despite forecasts of high winds, while the highly experienced leaders stayed in the mid-level camps, letting the crowds thin out before making their bids. Once again, the wide range of judgments reflects potential clients’ choices when selecting an Everest guide company. A poor choice may save you money but cost you your life.

Everest 2024 courtesy of Rajan-Dwivedi
Everest 2024 courtesy of Rajan-Dwivedi

Many of the over 500 summiters stood in long lines from Camp 3 to the South Col and again between the South Summit and the Summit.

When there are short weather windows like this year, and in 2019, these spots become bottlenecks, with hundreds of people literally stuck in place. The only real choice is to unclip and descend, a choice few are willing to make.

Several climbers succeeded in summiting without supplemental oxygen, and a few paid for it with their lives. For unknown reasons, the success rate was lower than we’ve seen in previous years.

Some teams, like Alpine Ascents International, Furtenbach, and Maddison Mountaineering, got all their clients who left the high camps for the summit on top. But not all teams got all of their clients who paid for a spot and trekked to base camp summited.

There may be a few teams left to close out the season. For example, Alpenglow is in Tibet, with the entire mountain to itself.

As for summits, I estimate that 200 clients, supported by 300 Sherpas, summited on the Nepal side, totaling about 600 summits. That makes for a 1:1.5 client-to-support ratio. Nepal issued 421 foreign permits, so they had a 47% success rate compared to 58% for members in Nepal from 2000 to 2023, per the Himalayan Database. On the Tibet side, I estimate that around thirty clients, supported by thirty support climbers, summited. Everest will see around 670 summits this spring, well below the 2019 record of 877.

Last Week

A long line of an estimated fifty climbers was too much for the Hillary Step, causing a soft cornice overhanging the Kangshung Face to collapse. Several people plummeted down the Kangshung Face but were stopped by being clipped into a fixed rope. Tragically, British climber Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, climbing with Sherpa Pas Tenji Sherpa, 23, fell and have not been found. Separately, Nawang Sherpa, 44, climbing with Kenyan Cheruiyot Kirui, 40, is still missing while plans are being made to recover Kirui’s body. Search efforts were called off for the three missing climbers.

There are many questions.  Why did climbers overload the cornice? Why was the fixed rope near the overhang? Why didn’t experienced mountaineers see the developing situation and stop climbers from overloading it? Was this a result of the warm Himalayan winter? It’s dangerous to speculate, but this incident needs a full review by independent, experienced climbers like a Conrad Anker, for example.

There were over 500 summits from over 25 teams:

May 25: 10

Summit Climb: 5 clients with 5 Sherpas – 1:1

May 23: 75+ (27+ clients with 48+ Sherpas)

  • 14 Peaks: 7 clients with 12 Sherpas –  1:1.7
  • Adventure Consultants: 6 clients, 13 Sherpas –  1:2.2
  • Alpine Ascents International (AAI): summits but no details
  • Ascent Himalaya: 3 clients with 5 Sherpas – 1:1.6
  • Maddison Mountaineering: 4 clients, one guide with nine Sherpas – 1:2.5
  • Pioneer Adventure: at least 1 client with at least 1 Sherpa
  • Climbalaya: North (Tibet) side – 1 client with 2 Sherpas –  1:2
  • Furtenbach Adventures: North (Tibet) side – summits but no Sherpa or member names.

May 22: 50+ (24+ clients with 26+ Sherpas)

  • 8K Expeditions: 7 clients with 10 Sherpas – 1:1.4
  • 14 Peaks: 2 clients with 4 Sherpa – 1:1
  • Adventure Peaks: 3 clients with 2 Sherpas – 1: 0.6
  • Climbing the Seven Summits: 5 clients with 9 Sherpas –  1:1.8
  • Pioneer Adventures: 1 client with 1 Sherpa – 1:1
  • SPCC: 2 Icefall Doctors with 2 SPCC Executives – 1:1
  • Seven Summits Treks: 2 clients with 2 Sherpas – 1:1

May 21: 193+ (83+ clients with 110+ Sherpas)

  • 14 Peaks: 8 clients with 8 Sherpas – 1:1
  • Arnold Coster (Seven Summits Treks): 3 clients with 4 Sherpas –  1:1.3
  • Asian Trekking: 11? summits but no details
  • Climbing the Seven Summits: 5 clients with 14 Sherpa –  1:2.8
  • Climbalaya: 1 client with 1 Sherpa –  1:1
  • Elite Exped: 10 clients with 19 Sherpas – 1:1.9 (exact date unclear)
  • Himalayan Ascent Team: 8 clients with 9 Sherpas – 1: 1.12
  • Imagine Nepal: 14 clients with 18 Sherpas – 1:1.28
  • Furtenbach Adventurs: summits but no details
  • Makalu Extreme: 12? summit but no details
  • Mountain Experience: 5 clients with 7 Sherpas – 1:1.4
  • Peak Promotion Team: 2 clients with 4 Sherpas – 1:2
  • Pioneer Expeditions: 3 clients with 3 Sherpas –  1:1
  • Summit Force: 1 client with 3 Sherpas –  1:3

May 19: 163+ (73+ clients with 90+ Sherpas)

  • 7 Summits Club: 13 clients with Sherpas support not named
  • 14 Peaks Expeditions: 8 clients with 8 Sherpas – 1:1
  • 8K Expeditions 17 clients with 21 Sherpas – 1:1.2
  • Angs Himalayan Adventures: 1 client with 3 Sherpas – 1:3
  • Climbalaya: 1 client with 21 Sherpas –  1:1
  • Kaitu Expeditions: 8 clients, 13 Sherpas –  1:1.6
  • Satori Adventures: 5 clients with 11 sherpas – 1:2.2

I’m so pleased and proud of Ryan Mitchell,19, a Summit Coach client who summited with Maddison Mountaineering. When we first spoke in December 2022, Ryan had no climbing experience. He prepared well and trained hard to get the necessary experience on the Ecuador volcanoes, Denali and Aconcagua, before his Everest summit. He posted:

“The thought of going after Everest began when the stupid idea of making a YouTube video titled “I Climbed Mount Everest” crossed my mind, just about a year and 5 months ago. I thought it was a good title, a “banger” as we say, so I looked lightly into Everest. Then I dove deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of Everest and mountaineering. From there I was hooked and promised myself I’d make it happen

Just a couple days ago, this vision became a reality as Phurba had the 2 of us running from camp 4 to the summit in just 5 hours

The amount of growth, physically and mentally, I’ve recieved from this sport and journey is that I’d be nowhere near if I had continued to sit in my comfort zone, making minecraft videos 8+ hours everyday.
This 40+ day long expedition would not have been possible without Garrett Madison and his skilled team of sherpas. I also could not have done it without Alan Arnette’s mentorship and guidance.”

Four of my five Summit Coach clients reached the summited across three teams.

2024 has seen several records. While I am not sure they are newsworthy, they are noteworthy for the climbers. They included:

  • Sherpa Kami Rita Sherpa, 54: Achieved a record 30th Everest summit
  • Brit Kenton Cool, 50: A non-Sherpa record of eighteen Everest summits.
  • Slovakian Lenka Polackova: tenth female to summit without supplemental oxygen.
  • Polish climber Piotr Jerzy Krzyzowski: first and fastest person to summit both Lhotse and Everest without supplemental oxygen in 1 day, 23 hours, and 22 minutes.
  • Nepali female Phunjo Jhangmu Lama: fastest Everest in 14 hours and 31 minutes.
  • Nepali female Nangsal Choedon Lama: first Nepali female to summit both Everest and Lhotse.
  • Nepali female Purnima Shrestha: first woman to climb Mount Everest three times in a single climbing season.
  • Sherpa Dawa Finjok Sherpa: Three Everest summits in a single season, 8 days, 13 hours, and 35 minutes.
  • Ligia Madrigal Moya: first female from Costa Rica to summit Everest

One record was cited, but it is incorrect. Indian Kaamya Karthikeyan, 16, was reported to be the youngest Indian female to summit Everest, but in 2013, Indian Poorna Malavath summited at 13 years, 11 months.

And in the “I can’t believe I read this, and will soon forget” department, Devon Levesque did a backflip on the summit, and the video went viral.

Next Week

Alpenglow is in Tibet, with the entire mountain to itself. It is on its summit and looking to finish in a few days. Elite Expeditions is on the final Nepal-side summit push.

Other 800ers

There were summits on Annapurna, Makalu and Lhotse but none on Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Cho Oyu or Shishapngma.

Death and Missing Totals

The bodies of Usukhjargal Tsedendamba, 31, Purevsuren Lkhagvajav, 53, and Romanian climber Gabriel Viorel Tabara, 48, were brought to Kathmandu on Friday. Nepal issued a rule that all dead bodies have to be taken off the mountain. The Nepal Army is assisting in the efforts.

Everest Four Deaths and Three Missing

  1. May 23 – Nepali (not a Sherpa) Binod Babu Bastakoti, 37, died near the south Col after summiting and climbing with Yeti Adventure/Pioneer Adventure.
  2. May 22 – British Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, is missing near Hillary Step after summiting and climbing with 8K Expeditions.
  3. May 22 – Pastenji Sherpa, 23, is missing near Hillary Step after summiting and climbing with 8K Expeditions.
  4. May 22 – Kenyan Cheruiyot Kirui, 40, died above the Hillary Step, climbing without Os with Seven Summits Treks.
  5. May 22 – Nawang Sherpa,44, is missing above the Hillary Step, climbing with Seven Summits Treks.
  6. May 13 – Mongolian Usukhjargal Tsedendamba, 53,  died on the SE Ridge after summiting, climbing with 8K Expeditions.
  7. May 13 – Mongolian Prevsuren Lkhagvajav, 31, died on the SE Ridge after summiting, climbing with 8K Expeditions.

Lhotse One Death

  1. May 21 – Romanian Gabriel Tabara, 48, was found dead inside his tent at C3 attempting Lhotse. Climbing with Makalu Adventure.

Nepal Permit Update

The Ministry of Tourism collected USD$5.1 million in royalties, with Everest accounting for USD$4.5 million. This is the 2024 tally for the 8000ers the MoT posted through May 22.:

8000er Teams Male Clients Female Clients Total
Annapurna I 3 14 11 25
Cho Oyu 1 1 0 1
Dhaulagiri 3 22 8 30
Everest 45 345 76 421
Kanchenjunga 5 21 14 35
Lhotse 16 128 28 156
Makalu 7 43 21 64
Manaslu 1 2 0 2
TOTALS 80 574 158 732

 

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything


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

This update and a narrative on descending from the summit

158 views

You can listen to #everest2024 podcasts on SpotifyApple Podcast, Breaker, YouTube, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Anchor, and more. Just search for “alan arnette” on your favorite podcast platform.


Previous Everest 2024 Season Coverage Posts


 Everyday Everest

A 16-part podcast series during the Everest 2024 climbing season.

Based on my Fictional 2020 Virtual Everest series, I posted a twenty-minute updated episode a few times a week throughout this season. Everyday Everest follows a fictional team of nine climbers and their personal Sherpas from leaving home to trekking to base camp, acclimatizing, and finally, on their summit push. The story’s protagonist, Harper, sets the tone for the story when she tells her husband, Marc, “Honey, I’m going to climb Everest.”

You can listen to Everyday Everest on SpotifyApple Podcast, Breaker, YouTube, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Anchor, and more. Just search for “alan arnette” on your favorite podcast platform.

Previous Everyday Everest Episodes


Why this coverage?

I like to use these weekend updates to remind my readers that I’m just one guy who loves climbing. With 38 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 hope no other family will go through; thus, I asked for donations to non-profits, which 100% goes to them and nothing ever to me.
donate to Alzheimers

Ida Arnette 1926-2009

Preparing for Everest is more than Training

There are five Summit Coach  clients on Everest in 2024

summit coach

If you dream of climbing mountains but are unsure how to start or reach your next level, from a Colorado 14er to Rainier, Everest, or even K2, we can help. Summit Coach is a consulting service that helps aspiring climbers worldwide achieve their goals through a personalized set of consulting services based on Alan Arnette’s 30 years of high-altitude mountain experience and 30 years as a business executive. Please see our prices and services on the Summit Coach website.

Everest Season Special through May 31, 2024: 10% discount on all plans.    Mention Everest 2024

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10 thoughts on “Everest 2024: Weekend Update May 25: Season nears the End with Summits and Death

  1. I just hope that Ryan, who you have expertly mentored, does not ‘influence’ too many untrained, unfit and unskilled idiots to attempt this climb.

    1. It’s and will continue to happen as long as operators advertise “Climb Everest at a low price, no experience required.” Ryan showed amazing maturity when we first spoke when he as only 18. He earned this summit and I hope will be a role model and case study for what to do.

  2. Dearest Alan,
    I am a longtime follower, as I have insatiable curiosity about all things Everest and you, darling man, satisfy like no one else and always come through!
    Thank you for introducing us to Ryan Mitchell, this year. As his coach, in the kindest & most gentle way possible, could you please teach him about the use of the word “many”, as he uses “much” too much, when he should be using “many”.
    Do you know if Ryan was hiking down from base camp after his summit or did he take the heli-flight back to Kathmandu ?
    Keep up your very hard work and dedication. We adore you and all that you share with us.
    Karen
    San Antonio

    1. Many, much thanks Karen! I think he heli’d down with the rest of the team. Sadly thats was most do these, many, days 🙂 I always thought trekking back was fantastic as it gave me time to think and reflect. In any event, I’ll pass on your many thoughts :). Seriously, thanks Karen.

  3. I watched some of Ryan’s recent videos this morning atfer you mentioned him in this post. What an impressive young man.. From couch to summit of Everest in 17 months, incredible!

  4. Hello Alan Sir, You are the Great. Thank you for support Nepal Tourism. Amazing Details information About the Top of the World Mt. Everest. I think in the future Nepal government can be limited for for Climbers to do Summit due to Heavy traffic and a Pollutions in Everest regions and many other regions.

      1. Photographs before and immediately after the cornice fall have been posted by explorersweb.com, showing the line of climbers and the fixed rope running directly along the crest of the cornice, not offset downslope to windward as expected. It looks like a dangerous route even for a single climber and strengthens your call for further investigation.

        PS your X account is being treated strangely by the algorithm there: searches for your name or handle return no results other than mentions in other people’s posts, and links within your own posts are being suppressed. It’s a shame to see such a lack of respect for an esteemed commentator! Keep up the great work.

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