Everest wrap-up: Sherpas open trail to the top – summit waves ahead

Working sherpas on the south side bagged the season’s first Everest summits today. Hordes of climbers will follow as soon as the current rough weather conditions improve. More details have arrived on today’s summits – along with rumors of a handful of climbers following tomorrow.

Simone and Denis are alone again and thus free to climb Everest, Lhotse (or both). 7-Summits guides Abramov and Cherny hope to open a route on Changtse on Friday – weather forecasts for that day are rather scary though.

On the north face, Ralf and Gerl are ready for a summit bid up the Supercouloir – and so is Gnaro Mondinelli, climbing on the normal north side route without supplementary O2.

Everest south side

Alpine Ascents were first to report today on their Sherpas reaching Everest summits – the season firsts! (Check a previous ExWeb story). Some time later, No Guts Know Glory comm. Manager John O’Shaughnessy provided further details.

Summits and more summits?

“Sherpas from International Mountain Guides, Alpine Ascents and Russell Brice’s Expeditions, taking advantage of low summit winds and clear skies, fixed lines from the South Col to the summit, with 10 of them officially reaching the summit of Everest,” John wrote to ExplorersWeb.

“Base camp is buzzing with news of the summits. After several early weeks of good climbing, the mountain has been bogged down with poor weather for almost a week and many teams have gone lower down the valley to rest and wait for a weather window to open for summit attempts. There have been rumours of climbers moving up behind the rope-fixing Sherpa team to try to take advantage of May 6th’s expected low winds for summit attempts of their own.”

“This will likely be a very small number of people though, as most teams are waiting until sometime after May 10th,” John noted. “Weather forecasts have the May 5th and 6th window closing hard on the 7th with high summit winds and remaining un-climbable until May 11th or 12th, at the earliest.”

As for other news, John provided a quick local tech roundup:

“Cell phones are everywhere in base camp with the locals now,” O’Shaughnessy added. “Our solar system is getting a workout charging our support and Sherpa team’s phones. Wherever we look, phones are in hand. It’s good for people to stay in contact with families, friends and their companies. The international phones aren’t supported; apparently it’s just the locals network.”

Everest BC under fresh snow last weekend.

Everest BC under fresh snow last weekend. courtesy Albert Bosh

Simone & Denis: Sudden changes and many choices ahead

“After two days rest in KTM, Aldo got sick: he spent all night vomiting and with stomach problems,” Simone reported Tuesday. “We flew back to base camp as scheduled yesterday ( I co-piloted the Fishtail heli together with capt. Ashis to BC) but Aldo continued to feel bad. So this morning after a medical consultation he decided to abort the expedition and fly back to Kathmandu and Italy to investigate what’s going on. Doctors said it’s probably an infection caused by perished food.”

“So Denis and I are now ‘alone’ in our BC without our friend and client Aldo. We are organizing the next 4 weeks and will decide what climb or route we want to try. There are a lot of projects to be done on Everest and Lhotse.”

Everest north side

SummitClimb team reported on the wild snowstorm last Saturday damaging several tents at the north Col. SC members were due to C2 this week.

Gnaro Mondinelli and co. are back down the valley for some richer air before the summit bid. “I’m not sure when weather will permit us to go for the summit; we’re expecting further forecasts – definitely not before the weekend though,” he wrote.

Jamie McGuinness team is back from the North Col, after witnessing the serac fall that killed Hungarian Laszlo. A Spanish climber commented on this part of mountain life:

“It’s almost inhumane,” Alfredo Garcia reflected after the deaths of Laszlo and a Sherpa (who died while sleeping in his tent) last week on Everest north side. “Such accidents are sadly common in the high mountains – they seemingly have no huge effect on fellow climbers, and none at all on Sherpas. There is no particular ceremony, no change in routines… everybody just go on with their climb.”

Tibetan rope-fixers went to work immediately after the serac fall and rebuilt the route in just one day, making for a longer but safer climb, according to Jamie.

Victory day plan: Abramov & Cherny for a new route on Changtse

7Summits-club leader Alex Abramov and team guide Nickolay Cherny (71 years old), hope to celebrate Russian Victory Day on May 9th, by climbing a new route up Changtse (7,550 m.) via the Southern Ridge from the North Col. Changtse is sometimes known as Everest north peak.

Everest north face

Gerlinde and Ralf are back in BC after their second and last acclimatization round. They spent a night at the base of the north wall, and then dealt with the snow storm on the way to the north Col, up 45º ice ramps and mixed terrain. After an extremely cold night at 7,100 (particularly tough for Ralf, ill with a cold), the couple proceeded up to 7,600m for a second night at altitude and a closer look at possible bivouac spots along the icy north face. They then returned to BC.

“We are now intently looking at forecasts – temperatures are currently too low and winds too high for a no O2 climb, but will depart as soon as conditions permit,” Gerlinde stated.

No comments yet.

Leave a Comment/Reply/Review