One of the biggest criticisms about climbing Everest that you’ll hear on an annual basis is how crowded it is. With the vast majority of the teams attempting either the South Col route in Nepal or the Northeast Ridge in Tibet, it is easy to understand why there are bottlenecks and traffic jams on the way to the top. But Everest is a big mountain, and there plenty of other potential ways to get to the summit. This year, three teams will attempt new routes on the mountain, which should make for an interesting and exciting season.
In his latest blog post, Alan Arnette has the scoop on all three of these expeditions, including one that teams two all-star mountaineers together in what should be a fascinating climb to follow. That particular climb will see Simone Moro and Ueli Steck joining forces to open a new route on the Nepali side of the mountain. More information is expected to come in the near future, but the two men are looking to rendezvous in Kathmandu at the start of April before launching their endeavor.
Also joining forces are Denis Urubko and Alexey Bolotov who will attempt the Southeast Face, launching their expedition from the Western Cwm. The men will go in as pure a fashion as possible, eschewing the use of Sherpas, oxygen and even satellite phones.
Finally, Glab Sokolov and Alexander Kirikov will attempt the East Face from Tibet in alpine style and without oxygen. Alan says they’ll first acclimatize on the 7550 meter (24,770 ft) Changtse Peak before heading over to Everest. Hopefully there will be no issues getting in or out of the country this season for all climbers traveling to Tibet.
The Everest season is still a month and a half from really getting underway, but these three climbs should certainly provide an interesting change of pace. I hope they are all successful in their bids as it would open new lines for others to try, or at the very least encourage mountaineers to think about other new routes. It should definitely be interesting to see how these play out in the weeks ahead.
Good luck to everyone!