Everest 2022 Season Summary: The Year of the Missing Jetstream

2022 brought even more stable weather windows than during the great Everest 2018. This May, a stalled high-pressure system made for horrendous temperatures in Northern India while paradoxically creating nearly ideal climbing conditions across much, but not all,  of the Himalayas. The net result was nearly 650 people summiting from Everest’s Nepal side and another 50 on the Tibet side.

Unlike previous seasons, this spring saw more experienced climbers resulting in fewer deaths, rescues, and an overall low drama environment. Despite this good news, there were periods of brutal weather and climbing conditions, and yes, there were rescues, close-calls, and, sadly, deaths.

This season, we saw the continued trend of a very high member to support ratio. A milestone reached with more Sherpas summiting than foreigners in total since Everest climbing began in the 1920s. We’ll dig into this later. All in all, it was a year like we saw a decade ago. But, unfortunately, it was not without deaths, three deaths on Everest and three more on the other 8000ers.

In the good news department, for the first time in many years, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism seemed content to stay out of the way and the headlines. But, this spring, significant changes appeared in the world of mountaineering. These changes will disrupt decades of climbing norms on the 8000-meter peaks.

Everest 2022: Weekend Update May 22 – The Season That Won’t End

This Everest season is like a runny nose that won’t stop. You blow hard, wipe it clean, and all of a sudden, there it goes again. Just as I thought base camp was empty, as well as the other 8000ers, people keep showing up at the South Col and summiting. I guess with winds so calm (relatively – there are still those moments) that leaders are demonstrating great patience and trust in the weather forecasters to let the route clear out before taking their peeps higher. And that’s how it’s supposed to be done. 

More Summits!

We have a few more summits to report as it seems the wind has picked back up but was still manageable last night. We’ll see how the week develops.

Pemba Sherpa of 8K Expeditions texted me that Norweigan Kristin Harila made the fastest link ever for males or females between Everest and Lhotse along with Dawa Ongju Sherpa. They summited Everest on May 22 at 8:45 am and then Lhotse at 5:50 pm – that’s 9:05 apart. Now she’s on to Makalu base camp by helicopter. She is trying to set a record for summiting all 14 of the 8000-meter peaks in the fastest time. Pemba tells me they will ask for an entry exception to climb Shishapangma in China. And they will climb Cho Oyu from Nepal. Thus far this season, she has summited Kanchenjunga on May 14, Dhaulagiri on May 8, and Annapurna I on April 28.

Another one we have been waiting for is German David Göttler, who summited Everest this morning. He climbed about as clean as possible these days with no O’s and no other human support other than using the fixed lines and ladders installed by the Sherpas. He summited on May 21.

Everest 2022: Summit Wave 10 – Recap

Lhotse Plume

This rare month of almost no winds on the summit of Everest has made for one of the calmest, smoothest, quietest seasons in history. Compared to the 2019 mess, this year is how it should be. But of course, the guides and climbers had nothing to do with it; all gratitude goes to Mother Nature. More summits Saturday morning.

But it has come at a cost. Northern India stills suffer from the unbearable heat, all brought on by climate change. We can expect to see this highly variable weather across all the world’s mountains, Time to adjust to a new normal.

Everest 2022: Summit Wave 8 Recap

Everest South Col 2003

I may have to start using scientific notation for numbering the summits wave. We are now at number eight. In 2018, there were 11 consecutive days, and in 2019, only three. I’m expecting a pretty low number of summits this morning, but I’m always surprised.

Yet another day of manageable winds, albeit Madison Mountaineering is reporting that it is a bit breezy at Camp 3 tonight, May 18th. This spike was in the forecast. They appear to be targeting Friday morning for their summit, which could be one of the last this season.

Alpine Ascents Int. is currently on the summit push from the South Col where they spent two nights. It’s unclear if there are many other teams with them, as most have cleared out already. There are probably a couple of Nepali outfits there.

Everest 2022: Summit Wave 7 – Recap

Wave Seven!, Yes, Tuesday will perhaps see wave seven depending on the winds.  At least 27 more summits Monday Morning, May 16, 2022, bringing the total on both sides to 396 on the Neal side and another 50 on the Tibet side. More going for Tuesday, depending on the winds. They are forecasted to gust to 45mph/70 kph on Monday night. By my count, there are around 40 to 60 people left to summit.

7 Summits Club is on their summit push aiming for Tuesday morning, May 18. No updates as of this post.  Alpine Ascents Int. is at the South Col where they are spending the night and will target May 18. And Madison Mountaineering seems pleased to hold out at Camp2 for a few more days.