We’re just a couple months away from teams heading to Kathmandu to begin their Everest expeditions for 2009, and much like last year, the status of the North Side remains a bit in question. We’ve heard that China was planning on shutting down the mountain once again in order to clean up the trash and protect the environment there, but as of now, there has been no real confirmation of that.
Now, the scuttlebutt is that China has issued climbing permits for teams from India for their side of the mountain, and at least one guide service is planning to go up the North Side this spring as well. Of course, there were those that planned to do the same last year, and we all know how that turned out.
Most of the guide services have are playing it safe and have now moved to the Nepal side of the mountain and will be going up the South Col. That includes Himex, which has traditionally operated from the Tibetan side of Everest, and missed out on the season altogether last year thanks to the Chinese pulling the plug at the last moment. It seems that few are willing to take that risk again this year, and are instead joining the crowds on the South Side.
All of this is an economic boon for Nepal of course, who sees more of the mountaineering money staying within their borders. Unlike last year, they won’t need to have a garrison on the mountain, with soldiers patrolling base camp and watching there route up to Camp 2 either. So, that should ensure that we have a free flow of communication from Everest this year at the very least.
For the latest on the Everest 2009 be sure to drop by Alan Arnette’s Everest 2009 page. Alan has some good interviews with climbers, and is constantly updating it with all kinds of news regarding the mountain and the impending climbing season there. And stay tuned, as it’s likely to be a very interesting season once again, even before anyone steps foot on the mountain.