The hold that COVID-19 has on mountaineering appears to be easing. Viewed another way, some guides are taking more risks, so now it’s up to the clients to make their own decisions. However, it’s easy to hear what you want to hear, so this is a critical period for due diligence.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan made a startling statement recently, as reported in the media by Dawn. His comment was met with disbelief by many due to the dramatic increase in COVID cases and deaths. I reached out to my contacts in the Pakistani mountaineering community for their reactions. The bottom line, summer climbing looks bleak but perhaps in autumn.
Follow Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas starting April 2, 2020 Now that word is spreading that both Nepal and China have closed the 2020 Spring Everest (and other mountains) season let’s talk about if this was the correct decision. For me, the answer is clearly yes. Climbing is a sport, it’s optional and it’s supposed to be fun. It’s also an industry, the Everest Industrial Complex has many layers and supports many families and livelihoods. For a small country like Nepal, trekking and climbing are the backbones of their tourism economy. But sometimes, the case is just too continue reading
Follow Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas starting April 2, 2020 Nepal has joined China in closing the spring climbing season on all mountains, including on Everest citing Covid-19 aka the Coronavirus. Nepali officials also decided to temporarily stop issuing on-arrival tourist visas to all countries through the end of April. Previously it only applied to eight countries with a large number of virus cases. According to this article in the Kathmandu Post, the leading Nepali operator, Seven Summits Treks had 60 clients signed up but six canceled just this week. Seven Summit Treks, the largest expedition operator continue reading
Follow Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas starting April 2, 2020 According to operators running Everest expeditions on the China/Tibet side of Everest, they were notified today, March 11, 2020, that the China Tibet Mountaineering Association aka CTMA that all permits for the spring season are canceled due to the Coronavirus. Operators are reacting differently: Adrian Ballinger, founder of Alpenglow told me: China officially closed Everest for spring last night (I was notified via my CTMA contacts). I agree with the decision (my partners and Dr (Monica Pérez) were leaning towards canceling based on news of the continue reading
Follow Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas starting April 2, 2020 Early March is an awkward time for aspiring Everest climbers. It is too late to make serious advancements in physical training and too early to eat what you want, assuming you will lose weight during the climb. Making serious gear changes is not advised nor is changing guide services. But there is still work to do! Other than persistent rumors, and maybe a last-minute rule change from Nepal or China, Not much will happen for the next few weeks as climbers are en route. Once they continue reading
I caught up with Jost Kobuschh and congratulated him on a fine effort. In review, he was attempting a winter, solo Everest climb on the rarely attempted West Ridge without supplemental oxygen and no Sherpa support. This exact style and the route had never been attempted or accomplished. The German alpinist tagged his high point at 7,329-meters/23,750-feet. He said before starting the expedition, he would be pleased to tag 8,000-meters so he got close. Well done by any measure. I asked him three questions and he generously replied: 1. Overall, how are you feeling – physically and emotionally? Emotionally its this time continue reading
Follow Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas starting April 2, 2020 Nepali officials are adding visa steps for travelers from five countries experiencing the highest levels of the Coronavirus. The usual process for most visitors is to obtain a visa at the airport once they arrive. Now visitors from five countries, China, Iran, Italy, Korea, and Japan must get their visas before arriving in Nepal. Note, this does not stop visitors from coming to Nepal, only adds an additional step before leaving their home country. Also, by omission, it doesn’t impact any other country. Confusion Conflicts continue reading