Everest 2013: Teams Summit From North And South Side

Lhotse sunset from ABC

As expected, the weather improved and the winds died down over the weekend, providing access to the summit of Everest at last. This led to a massive number of climber reaching the top of the mountain over the past few days as numerous teams took advantage of the weather window to complete their climbs. While the exact number of summiteers is unknown right now, estimates put it at a couple of hundred climbers.

If you’re looking for recaps of all the weekend’s action, Alan Arnette is the best source of information around. Alan always does an amazing job of keeping us all informed of where each of the teams stand and he was working overtime the past few days to keep track of who went up to the summit and when. His site is being continually updated with the latest news and with more summits to come in the next few days, I’d expect those updates to just keep coming.

One of the teams that we’ve been following all season is the IMG squad, which put two different units on the summit over the weekend. They report that everyone is doing well and most are now descending back down the mountain. Jagged Globe had a successful weekend as well with their climbers topping out yesterday. They expect to drop to Camp 2 today and then back to Base Camp tomorrow. The Peak Freaks topped out on Sunday, putting 14 of their team members on the summit. They report excellent weather but very busy conditions on the way up and down.  Alpine Ascents is another well known commercial climbing company that also took advantage of the good weather to top out on Saturday as well.

Other teams are now getting into position to make their push. The RMI team, led by Dave Hahn, is now on its way up to Camp 3, but their latest dispatch indicates ongoing drama on the Lhotse Face. While the weather remains good, and even warn, there is a climber descending from Lhotse who is in trouble. Dave indicates that he is “incapacitated” and that a team of Sherpas is trying to help bring this person down. That is of course taking a lot of effort and preoccupying some of the climbers at the moment. Hopefully everything will go well and this particular climber will get off the mountain safely.

Similarly, Himex has launched their summit push and as usual they’ve waited for most of the teams to get out of the way first. They’ve just started moving up the mountain and are now looking to top out on Thursday of this week. By then, things should be a lot quieter on the upper slopes.

yellow band simon arnsbyOver on the North Side, the 7 Summits Club put two of their groups on top over the weekend, capping another successful season for that organization. The winds were higher than expected on that side of the mountain however, which prompted the Altitude Junkies to stay in Camp 2 and wait for things to calm down. They’re now looking to summit on Wednesday this week, which is a couple of days off from their previous schedule.

There was exciting news from the Tibetan side of the mountain this weekend. David Liaño summited from that side of the mountain just a week after climbing from the South. You may recall that David was amongst the first climbers to summit this season and upon descending, he immediately drove to BC on the North Side and started to climb from there. In reaching the top for a second time this year, Liaño has become the first person to successfully summit from both sides of Everest in the same year. An impressive accomplishment to be sure.

Chad Kellogg has wrapped up his final acclimatization round after climbing to the Yellow Band on the South Side last week. That puts him in position to have another go at a speed climb up Everest this year. He has tried in the past but his health and the weather have not always been cooperative, but at the moment he seems strong and focused. He’ll launch his speed climb at 3:00 PM local time on Wednesday of this week. It should be very interesting to see how he performs.

Finally, more sad news from the weekend as well. Namgyal Sherpa passed away on the North Side of Everest at 8300 meters (27,230 ft) on Friday. He was a well known member of the Sherpa community and a strong veteran of numerous climbs. His leadership skills and experience will certainly be missed. Condolences to Namgyal’s friends and family.

That’s all for now. Expect more updates from Everest in the next few days. We’re getting down to the final moments of the spring season but there are still plenty of climbers who are hoping to reach the summit. Lets hope things continue to go well and the weather holds out long enough for everyone to take a crack at the top.

Kraig Becker