Himalaya Spring 2017: Summit Rope Fixing Stalls on Everest and Another Climber Perishes

It is now crunch-time in the Himalaya. We’re now a week into May and more than a few teams on

1280px Mount Everest

Everest are eyeing the weather to determine the best time to launch their summit bids. Those should come very soon now, but thanks to high winds on both sides of the mountain, things have been delayed slightly.

Last week I wrote that the plan was to install the ropes to the summit by this past weekend, clearing the way for teams to begin their final push to the top. Unfortunately, high winds have kept that from happening, forcing the Sherpas in charge of that job to retreat to Camp 4 and wait for better conditions. Reportedly they will make another attempt at reaching the summit today and tomorrow, with the hopes of getting the lines in place before descending back to Base Camp for a much needed and deserved rest.

The weather reports indicate that high winds will continue over the next few days however, so it is possible that the team won’t be able to complete their work as expected. If that happens, it could cause all of the commercial squads to adjust their plans, as none of them will go up the mountain until the route has been completed. The result would be a delayed summit push, although at the moment things appear to be still on track. We’ll no more in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, a South African climber has been detained by Nepali authorities for climbing Everest without the proper permit. Ryan Sean Davy was taken into custody over the weekend when it was discovered that he had been living at Camp 1 for several weeks, as he acclimatized for an eventual summit push. Davy’s passport has been seized, and according to The Himalayan Times, he is en route back to Kathmandu, where he will face charges. The usual fee for climbing Everest is $11,000.

Alan Arnette checked in with the EverestER team, where he learned that the medical staff is dealing with a lot of sick climbers this season. In fact, so far they have dealt with more than 365 patients so far, which is a high number than all of last season. In addition to the normal conditions that are found at altitude, the team has seen a flu bug sweeping through Base Camp as well.

Finally, there was another death on Everest this past weekend as well. On Saturday it was announced that 86-year old Min Bahadur Sherchan died in BC on the South Side of Everest. Sherchan was on the mountain in an attempt to win back the title of oldest person to summit the highest peak on the planet, which he did a decade ago at the age of 76.

The cause of death has yet to be revealed, but teammates say that he was moving comfortably and acclimatizing well prior to his passing. This is the second official death on Everest this season, after the shocking loss of Ueli Steck a week ago.

That’s all for now. More updates throughout the week as we get closer to summit season.

Kraig Becker