The moment we’ve all been waiting for in this highly unusual 2020 Everest climbing season may finally be here. Today, the two teams on Everest have launched their summit pushes at long last, with an eye on topping out this coming Friday. This news comes after poor weather stymied their attempts last week, throwing the schedule into disarray and causing delays that have extended past the traditional weather window.
According to The Himalayan Times, the first group to go for the summit will be the rope-fixing team. This unit consists of seven very experienced Sherpas whose job it is to install the climbing ropes to the summit, allowing other mountaineers to follow. The team had hoped to complete that work last week, but high winds turned them back at 8600 meters. Since then, they’ve been waiting for conditions to improve before heading back up towards the summit. If all goes according to plan, they should open access to the top of the world’s highest peak by tomorrow or Wednesday.
Meanwhile, not far behind them will be a team of surveyors. With Everest closed down to everyone except Chinese nationals this year, China has taken advantage of the empty mountain in order to send a research team there. That squad is working on remeasuring the height of summit, promising to get the most accurate measurement of its altitude ever.
That team has actually been in Base Camp since late March and is now approaching the end of its second month on the mountain. That’s a long time to be waiting, but the group should finally get their crack at the summit in the next few days.
Finally, there is the lone commercial climbing team, which is organized and supported by an outfitter by the name of Yarla Shampo. This group consists of somewhere around 26 total climbers, all of whom completed an acclimatization climb on Lhakpa Ri last week, returning to BC on Everest last Friday. If they are rested and ready to go, they should be following not far behind the surveyors as well, potentially topping out on Friday too.
Right now, the weather window looks clear, calm, and long, which is exactly what these climbers want as they head up. Of course, over the next few days we’ll be keeping a close eye on their progress and will report on how events unfold. There won’t be many summits this season, but there will still be some worth noting for sure.
Good luck to all the climbers as they set out up the slopes of Everest. Go up safely, get down swiftly.
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