We’re just a little over a week into the New Year, and the spring climbing season on Everest is still several months off, but already there are interesting things to talk about regarding when it comes to discussing the tallest mountain on the planet. With the Nepali government putting new rules into place, more and more budget climbing companies joining the fray, and an increasing demand to climb the mountain from places like China and India, Everest has once again become a wild, controversial place. Recently, our friend Alan Arnette posted two interesting articles regarding the upcoming season, and both offer some very interesting insights.
The most recent of those stories is an interview with Phil Crampton of the Altitude Junkies. Last year, the AJ team elected not to go to Everest due to the shifting politics and logistical challenges of operating on that mountain. Instead, they looked for new challenges on Makalu. But this year, Phil and company are returning to the Big Hill, although in a major shift they’ll jump to the North Side in Tibet instead.
In his interview with Alan, Crampton talks about the decision to go to the Chinese side of the mountain, how he perceives things are changing on Everest, and his thoughts on the increasing number of climbers on the mountain – particularly on the South Side. He also shares his thoughts on the fast climbs that use high altitude tents to prepare for the expedition ahead of time, why he believes the North Side is harder, and much, much more. It is definitely an interesting interview for those who follow the Everest scene closely.
The other recent article from Alan regarding Everest was published just after Christmas and is his annual look at the various routes used to climb the mountain. As usual, Arnette offers excellent insights into the challenges of each of the various climbing routes that are used by climbers, with the South Col and North Col routes being the two most popular. The comprehensive look at the two sides of the mountain also includes a rundown of the famous landmarks found along the way – such as the Balcony and the Hillary Step on the South Side. He even takes a look at which route is the most dangerous, how much an expedition costs, and a wide variety of other topics.
Having climbed from both sides of the mountain, Alan knows the challenges very well. He also follows the expedition season extremely closely each year, making his sight an invaluable resource for those of us who cover the unfolding drama that ultimately ensues in the lead up to the summit push. I expect we’ll get the same reliable and insightful coverage again this year when things start to get rolling in April.
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