Himalaya 2011: Everest North Side Updates

800px Mount Everest North Face

Over the past few weeks there has been a flurry of activity on the South Side of Everest, as the commercial teams are well organized, and worked together to fix the ropes. That has led to the first wave of summits, and as we all know, many climbers are currently moving up the mountain to get in place for a second summit push at the end of the week, when a 48-hour weather window is expected to open once again.

But getting news from the North Side of the mountain has been especially difficult this season and to date, there have been no summits from that side of the mountain. In fact, as of Sunday, it seems that the ropes aren’t fixed to the top yet, which is leaving climbers sitting in Base Camp, wondering when they’ll get their opportunity to go up. As you probably already know, rope fixing on this side of the mountain is handled by the Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Association, which seems to be a bit unorganized and lagging behind their counterparts to the south.

Still, there is some word as to what is happening. Kenneth Koh, who is climbing with the Project Himalaya team, has been sending out tweet from Everest, and you can glean some information from what he has posted. Yesterday, Kenneth sent out a tweet which read: “It’s too long to just sit around BC, so we are hiking up to ABC today for a couple of nights to keep fit.” That indicates to me that they’re still waiting for the okay to go up the mountain, and like everyone else, they’re hoping for a weather window. In an earlier tweet, he mentioned that it looks like everything could be set by the final week of May.

Kenneth’s teammate Grant Rawlinson has also been blogging from the North Side, and he echos his companions comments. They’re continuing to wait and trying to stay busy and healthy until their opportunity comes. But what if that doesn’t happen? The Sherpas may not get the ropes fixed until the weather window at the end of the week, and since it is only 48-hours in length, the teams may not be in position to take advantage of the opportunity to dash up the mountain. What if another window doesn’t come? The entire North Side season would be a bust, leaving many bitter and disappointed climbers. Lets hope that doesn’t happen.

Finally, two guys who may be well suited to make a quick dash up the mountain, Ueli Steck and Don Bowie, arrived in Base Camp today. The note on Don’s site says that they will take the next few days to assess the situation and prepare for their climb. If anyone can take advantage of a small window, it is probably Ueli and Don. Stay tuned. If Steck summits, it’ll be his third 8000 meter peak in a little more than a month.

Kraig Becker

4 thoughts on “Himalaya 2011: Everest North Side Updates”

  1. Wow! Thanks for the link Dennis. Much appreciated. It sounds like things are rough there at the moment. Sure hope they can get those ropes fixed for them. Talk about frustration.

  2. 7 Summits Club is now reporting that the Chinese have promised to have the fixed ropes to the summit in place on the 20th. Summit Club is now moving their teams from ABC up to the North Col, looking to summit the night of the 20th – 21st.

  3. Good to hear. Lets hope the weather holds and they get a chance. I'd be upset if the route never opened at all.

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