Cyclone Drives Everest Team Back to ABC

8000ers Everest
A satellite image shows a mass of clouds moving to Everest.

Cyclone Amphan has lost strength and will not hit Everest directly as feared, but the snowfall it has caused has thwarted the Chinese team’s second attempt to reach the summit.

The rope-fixing team, which had set off from Camp 2 early today, had to turn around at about 8,000m after an exhausting march in deep snow, while dodging falling rocks. They retreated to camp for a short rest and made a second attempt some hours later, but heavy snowfall and avalanche risk forced them back again.

Spokesman Wang Yongfen said that the ropes laid to 8,600m 10 days ago could no longer be found because of the recent strong winds and snow. Wang also confirmed that the rope-fixing team would retreat to join the survey team at ABC at 6,500m. He said nothing about further plans for a third summit bid.

At Advanced Base Camp (6,500m) some days ago. Photo: Xinhua

A fresh weather report by Michael Fagin of EverestWeather.com forecasts still more snow. Yesterday, the winds had decreased to 160kph, with gusts to 195kph. By the time Amphan nears Everest today, it will no longer be a cyclone and it will pass south of the mountain.

Cyclone Amphan has lost strength but triggered heavy rain and snow.

Fagin points out that the U.S. weather map [above] shows that the storm will trigger up to 61cm of snow, while the European version suggests closer to 15cm. Such divergences between models are common with cyclones. “I still think 12 to 24 inches of snowfall (30 to 61cm) over the three-day period is a good forecast,” he adds.

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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