Click for site home
The Blog on alanarnette.com
Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Feb 282021
 
Everest 2021: Team Locations and Headlines

Welcome to the 2021 edition of Alan Arnette’s annual coverage of the Everest climbing season. I try to provide insight and interpretation of the activities ranging from routes to weather to the challenge and reward of climbing Everest. It’s based on my own three Everest attempts and my 2011 summit plus my climbing experiences of a K2 summit in 2014, Manaslu in 2013 and 30+ more peaks around the world. My reporting uses my own research, sources, and public information.

Apr 182021
 
Everest 2021: Weekend Update April 18

Everest Base Camp is quickly filling up. Sherpas are busy establishing and stocking Camps 1 and 2. Thus far the fixed ropes have been set to the Yellow Band around 24,000-feet. As previously noted, there are few trekkers this spring so the teahouses and trails feel empty to those I’ve spoken with. Internet at EBC is sketchy at best. There is one 40-person Chinese national team on the Tibet side, otherwise, it’s closed to foreigners. They established their base camp this past week.

Apr 162021
 
Annapurna Summits! - Update 3

After running out of rope the night before, it appears Annapurna saw 68 summits the night of April 16, 2021. By any measure, it was a record night for the deadliest 8000er. The deadliest metric will drop dramatically assuming everyone descends safely. 

The weather continues to be a concern, not current but previous with a dry winter of little snowfall making the Lhotse Face rock hard blue ice. We are seeing this on Annapurna with a summit bid underway. Unexpected hard ice above Camp 4 caused the Sherpas to use more rope than they carried and they ran out. More was helicoptered in from Kathmandu, a first to my knowedge.

Apr 152021
 
Everest 2021: First Steps in the Icefall

The first few climbers have made rotations to Camp 1 while the rest of the teams at Everest Base camp are preparing to enter the Khumbu Icefall for the first time this season. The permits for Everest continue to grow, now 321 on 34 teams approaching the 219 record of 382. Lhotse has an astounding 83 on 9 teams. Look for over 700 people on the routes this spring.

The weather continues to be a concern, not current but previous with a dry winter of little snowfall making the Lhotse Face rock hard blue ice. We are seeing this on Annapurna with a summit bid underway. Unexpected hard ice above Camp 4 caused the Sherpas to use more rope than they carried and they ran out. More was helicoptered in from Kathmandu, a first to my knowedge.

Apr 142021
 
Everest 2021: Puja Before Climbing

I was asked to summarize the Everest season thus far, my answer, “normal.” The fear of quarantines, extensive testing, and chaos in Kathmandu never materialized. In fact, most people flew in and out over a couple of days, shorter than usual. Flights to Lukla were about as expected, albeit with some delays for the smoke from forest fires. And the trek to EBC, well normal except that the teahouses were pretty empty due to the lack of trekkers. Now with climbers at base camp, they are ramping up for their first rotation, again pretty much on time. The only pressing issue, other than potentially a massive COVID outbreak at camp, is the weather.

Apr 132021
 
Everest 2021: Climbers to Watch

The number of permits continues to rise for Everest. Now at 290 spread across 30 teams, it appears Everest will be crowded again for this spring of 2021. Reports are coming in of low snow amounts this past winter so rockfall may be an issue, especially with so many people climbing together. We saw this same objective danger on K2 this past winter.

Base Camp is filling up as more teams continue to end their trek. They are taking a few days to rest and brush up on skills before making their first rotation to Camps 1 and 2 in the Western Cwm. Internet service at EBC appears to be spotty according to many reports I’m getting. Climbers are having to do “walkabouts” to find a signal. This happens all the time with Ncell, the mobile phone provider, but for EverestLink, it’s usually more reliable and available. I’m sure they will improve it.

There appears the be the usual profiles on the peak Many who had permits for last year, jumped at the chance to go this year.  Also, there are the “repeat” customers who have tried before and not made it for a variety of reasons and, also, as usual, there are those who are seeking to make a name by a “first.” Let’s drill down on a few.

Apr 112021
 
Everest 2021: Weekend Update April 11

The Everest 2021 season is right on track with teams pouring into base camp. However, this year remains different with few trekking teams on the trails resulting in almost empty teahouses and some closed, perhaps forever. Remember that the Tibet side is closed to foreigners and I don’t expect updates from the Chinese team or two that might climb this spring.

Apr 102021
 
Everest 2021: Everest's gatekeeper - the Khumbu Icefall

Teams are approaching Everest Base Camp with some already there, others expected tomorrow and into early next week. They will take a few days to adjust to their new home at 17,500-feet while they will review the skills needed to safely climb the icefall. I expect a few teams to do a rotation to Camp 1 late next week.  Through April 9, Nepal has issued 244 Everest climbing permits to foreigners.

Apr 082021
 
Everest 2021: Where are They Now?

The number of climbing permits granted keeps increasing. 222 permits are now in Everest aspirants’ hands and 389 for all Nepal peaks for all teams this spring. With hundreds of climbers and trekkers on the trails, the Khumbu is busy, but reports are coming in saying overall it feels quiet compared to previous years. The main difference is the absence of so many trekking teams. Some teams will arrive at base camp this weekend or early next week. Look for the first trips through the Icefall around April 15, a bit earlier than usual. I’ve also added a new short feature in the video the Gear Corner where I briefly talk about the gear used on Everest.