Rope Fixing Team Makes Summit Push on Everest

Last week there was some indication that we might see a summit push on Mt. Everest this past weekend. While news from the mountain has been scare this spring, there were various reports that indicated that the two teams on the North Side of the mountain were preparing to make their way to the top. As it turns out, that summit push didn’t materialize after all, but we now have a better idea of the upcoming schedule.

According to ExWeb, a summit push was set to get underway yesterday, but was thwarted by poor conditions on the mountain. Apparently, the lone commercial team on Everest this year, along with a squad of surveyors sent to remeasure the height of the peak, set off for Camp 1 yesterday, only to find the route covered in deep snow.

Avalanche danger was also a concern, forcing the two groups to retreat back to Advanced Base Camp at 6500 meters (21,325 ft). Apparently, they are still in ABC and waiting for conditions to improve.

Today, The Himalayan Times reports that the current plan is for the ripe fixing team on the North Side to make its final push to the summit tomorrow. The team is currently in Camp 3 and is waiting for confirmation that the current weather window will remain open, allowing them to complete their work. If conditions continue to remain stable, they plan to complete the installation of the lines and reach the summit on Tuesday, clearing the way for other climbers to follow.

The Times goes on to report that the survey team is in position to follow the rope fixers just as soon as they have wrapped up their work. But, the commercial team led by Yarla Shampo has apparently left Everest to do an acclimatization trek up nearby Lhakpa Ri. After they’ve completed that climb, which tops out at 7045 meters (23,113 ft), they will then return to Everest Base Camp and launch a summit push of their own. If all goes according to plan, that could happen later this week.

Thanks to the coronavirus, it has been a strange year on the world’s highest peak. Both China and Nepal shut the mountain down in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Later, China reopened the North Side in Tibet, but is only allowing Chinese nationals to climb this season. The government there also took advantage of the quiet year to send the survey team as well.

As far as we can tell, only about 80 people in total are on the mountain this spring, making it one of the quietest years in recent memory. That’s a far cry from 2019, when more than 800 summited from the Nepali side of the mountain alone.

Stay tuned for more updates over the next few days. Hopefully we’ll continue to get news on the progress of these teams.

Kraig Becker