Everest 2009: Storm Hits the Mountain

In yesterday’s update I noted that the South Side of Everest was being deserted very quickly, with teams heading back down the Khumbu Valley to catch flights to Lukla. There was some talk of flight delays out of the area due to a storm that was moving in very quickly, and today we have news on just how severe that storm actually is.

Alan Arnette continues to update his Everest 2009 page with details from both sides of the mountain. His sources on the North Side are telling him that this storm is pretty bad, having dumped a meter of snow already, and with high winds, visibility is reduced to just 2-3 meters as well. A number of teams had planned on making summit pushes from that side of the mountain this week, with the hope of topping out on Thursday, but according to an e-mail to Alan from the Canadian Mad Frogs Team, those that started up the mountain are now stranded in Camp 1, waiting to for an opportunity to come back down.

I also posted yesterday that the Lhotse-Everest Traverse Team was at the South Col, hoping to give their expedition one final go. The new today is that they have abandoned that effort, and are now back in BC, and preparing to return to Kathmandu. The team is made up of some of the strongest climbers on the planet, but bad weather stymied their efforts at every turn, which has to have frustrated them considerably.

It seems that the Monsoon may have hit early this year, as most seem to believe that the climbing season is now over. In recent years, particularly on the North Side, there have been summits well into June, and there yet may be, depending on how the teams in Tibet feel once it stops snowing. But it’s going to be a much tougher climb with all that snow on the ground, and their doesn’t appear to be a weather window in sight at the moment. In fact, the next weather window might not be until September. Such is climbing in the Himalaya.

Kraig Becker

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