Everest 2009: First Summits of the Season!


The news spread fairly quickly earlier today that the first summits of the season have occurred on Everest, with IMG reporting that one of their Sherpa Guides, Mingma Tenzing, was the first to step foot on the summit for 2009. He was soon followed by four others Sherpas from the top teams on the mountain, including another from IMG, one from Alpine Ascents, and two from Himex.

The Discovery Channel team is reporting that shortly after the Sherpas finished fixing the lines and stood on the summit, David Tait joined them. David hasn’t updated his own blog as of yet, but considering this would be his third summit, one of those included a North to South traverse, it should be no surprise that he went up right behind the Sherpas. Congrats David! Well done. Just don’t come down and tell us you’re done with Everest again. 😉

Billi Bierling confirms David’s summit in her latest blog post, in which she gives a number of perspectives on what it is like to be on the mountain at this point of the season. She discusses the dreaded Khumbu Icefalls as well as what it is like to climb up to the various camps on the mountain. Interesting stuff for those who haven’t followed what is going on up until now.

As you can imagine, this is big news on the mountain, as teams can now look for the first weather window and start planning for their summit bids. The First Ascent Team was quick to announce that Ed Viesturs, Peter Whittaker and Melissa Arnot will begin their push on May 8th with an eye on topping out around the 12th of the month. I suspect that most are looking at the same time frame at this point, but I’m also guessing that this crew doesn’t want to get caught in a traffic jam and will be out in front, hoping to be one of the first on top.

So, it’s beginning to look like next week will be very busy, at least from the South Side, on the North Side we’re not getting as much news, but last I heard, the China-Tibet Mountaineering teams were still fixing the lines. It is obviously far less crowded there, so teams are not as concerned about when they’ll get their chance to go up, but expect them to be following soon as well.

For now, the teams will rest, conserve energy, and physically and mentally prepare for what is ahead of them. If the weather window opens as expected, it is going to be a very busy week next week.

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