Today the Nepali Department of Tourism released its official stats for the spring climbing season on Everest, tabulating all of the numbers from what was one of the busiest seasons in the Himalaya to date. The world’s highest peak was especially crowded this year, recording a record number of summits as interest in the mountain continues to rise.
According to The Himalayan Times, 563 climber from 39 different countries reached the top of Everest this past spring. That’s a fairly dramatic increase from 2017, when 449 people reached the summit. Still, the DoT says that its records show that at 292 climbers –– including 212 Nepali high-altitude workers –– came up short in their attempt to climb the mountain.
Most of the summits took place during an unprecedented weather window that ran from May 13 to May 24. During that time, 511 male climbers from 37 countries, and 52 female mountaineers from 15 countries were successful in their bid. 18 of the women were Nepal, showing the increase in the number of local female climbers in recent years. According to Nepali records, that brings the total number of successful summits from the South Side of Everest to 5891 since it was first summited back in 1953.
These numbers fall in line with estimates made this past spring. Just making a quick head count it was clear that somewhere around 560 climbers reached the top on the South Side. Add in another 150 or so from the North, and the number of total summits on Everest for 2018 easily exceeds 700, which is another record as well.
Concerns about overcrowding on Everest in 2018 were somewhat alleviated by the unusually wrong weather window. However, had that window not remained open for more than 11 days, things could have looked very different. The number of climbers coming to Everest continues to rise each year, but for the most part traffic jams haven’t been a major issue over the past three season. If the weather window tightens up however, the crowds could become dangerously slow on the mountain in years ahead.
For now though, things are going about as smooth as ever with the big operators on the mountain running a tight ship. That has made Everest into a well oiled machine, which is the only way it can accommodate so many people. Hopefully it stays that way and remains safe, because it doesn’t look like things are going to quiet down there in the foreseeable future.
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