I continue to read reports coming from the Everest region. There have been approximately 316 summits so far and ten confirmed deaths. News stories over last weekend were grim and surely upsetting to anyone on the mountain. The majority of teams have completed their climbs, but some of the most experienced teams will make their bids soon.
The weather appears to be cooperating and another summit opportunity has opened up. With the jet stream parallel to the mountains and with moisture holding to the south, conditions are favorable to climb. The remaining teams on the south, are at high camps and today and tomorrow will push for the summit. Traffic will be lighter than over the weekend and no bottlenecks are expected. Winds are expected to increase on Sunday.
On May 19th, Ngim Chhamji Sherpa (age 16) became the youngest female to summit. She was accompanied by her father, a three time summiter and others on her team.
I’ve been reading reports coming from Mt. Everest especially those from the south side. There is a summit window this weekend (May 19-20), and if the weather holds, many of the teams may try for the top.
The main problem right now is that the lines at the summit have not been fixed. Sherpas from several of the teams will combine their energies to get this done hopefully by May 17-18th. Fixed lines aid safety, but climbers can proceed without them.
A Chilean team seems to be moving aggressively to summit without the lines in place. One long term weather forecast indicates that this weekend may be the only feasible summit window. Some climbers may feel this is their only chance to summit this season and go for it. If the weather holds, some estimate 300 climbers may summit from the north and south.
Last season (2011), 525 climbers summited Everest bringing the total number of climbers to get to the top to 3425. Most will recall that it was Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who were credited as the first to summit Everest back in 1953.
This year’s climbing season is well under way and I thought the connection of Base Camp in Into the Land of Snows was more than enough for an excursion into what’s currently happening on the mountain.
Ever wonder what it might cost to sign on to one of these teams to summit Everest? A quick search revealed that for around $50,000 you too could take up this challenge. That’s a bit much for most of us, but there’s no reason we can’t live vicariously.
There are three routes from which teams will try to reach the top of the world. They are the South Col, NE Ridge, and West Ridge. By far, the South Col is the most commercial and most popular. From the south, two teams have called it quits, but most of the remaining 30 international teams on the mountain have reached Camp 3 and await the summit push. The 300 climbers (and about 400 Sherpas) are waiting for a five day weather window to allow them the summit push. With the weather being so unpredictable, it is often the case that climbers will get the go ahead and start the push, only to be called back again. This can be a frustrating and anxious time. In the meantime, the teams are resting and a summit push may be possible around May 21. Ropes have been fixed in the South Col and winds are expected to remain calm until the weekend.
This is such an exciting time on the mountain and I think we’ll check back in a few weeks to see how things are going. An internet search will help you to find blogs and websites that carry daily updates though.