Updated: Another COVID Case at Everest Base Camp

Everest
Portrait of Steve Davis, the latest on Everest to test positive for COVID-19.
UK-born, Califorma-based Steve Davis. COVID-19 has ended his Everest climb. Photo: Steve Davis

Teams seem to ignore the threat, but individual climbers are sharing the turn of events at Everest Base Camp. Last one to confirm was Steve Davis, a client in Nirmal Purja’s Elite Himalayan team.

Steve Davis was initially diagnosed with High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and airlifted down the mountain to recover. “I’m doing fine other than feeling like I’ve been run over by a yak,” he said back then, still hoping he would recover in four to five days.
However, today he shared the following message:

Davis had just participated in the puja ceremony when he felt sick. Meanwhile, the Elite team, like everyone else in the mountain, is not commenting. On the contrary, they take pains only to report great weather, exciting trips up the Khumbu Icefall, and the first rotation to Camp 2.

This marks the fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 at Everest Base Camp — Davis, Erlend Ness, and an unidentified Sherpa and Indian woman.

UPDATE:

Rumors, however, speak of several more. Everest ER, the organization of volunteer doctors at Everest Base Camp, said today: “Some close contacts are isolating in their tents, as we’ve had a few confirmed cases of COVID, with evacuation from Everest Base Camp.”

The medical team listed the measures that outfitters are taking to avoid this becoming a super-spreader event, which would surely end the Everest season prematurely:
– Puja ceremonies — usually a festive gathering where different teams mix — is now a private event. So are mealtimes.
– Some groups have forbidden visits between camps.
– Everyone wears masks when moving through another camp. Remember that breathing at 5,350m is a chore even without a mask!
– Ropes separate camps to discourage visiting.
Everest Base Camp sign about masks
Otherwise, the climbing continues: The rope fixers should be at Camp 4 now and climbers are currently on their first rotation to Camp 2.
Meanwhile, among those in Base Camp, neither climbers nor outfitters have mentioned COVID on their social media. Some have noted the sixth anniversary of the deadly earthquake that hit Base Camp and the entire country, but they seem to be ignoring the viral quake that might be about to hit.
Climbers smiling in the Khumbu Icefall, Mount Everest

All smiles in the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Marie-Pier Desharnais

0

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!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
daniela
Daniela Teixeira
11 days ago

And some big agencies talk about good weather? Exciting trips up the Khumbu ice-fall?. According to Mingma Sherpa on NYTimes, climbers will still continue to venture to the top, even if they test positive!? “Expeditions won’t be canceled,” he said. “There’s no point of returning or giving up climbing after reaching base camp.”
Doesn’t it look like a total selfish attitude and disresepct for human life? Am I wrong to get the feeling that only money business and fame, matters?

+10
Dave
Dave
11 days ago

Not ideal when people come down with symptoms in base camp. What happens when (and I fear that it is a matter of when, not if) someone comes down with symptoms much higher up.

Going to be some tough decisions for expedition leaders and climbers to make over the next few days/weeks.

+4
Don Paul
Don Paul
9 days ago
Reply to  Dave

On Mount Everest, the ethic is not to rescue anyone. You have to be able to get down by yourself.

0
Louis
Louis
11 days ago

The business must go on…but why do they care? The $$$ is already in the bank and there is no refund policy. Seems reckless.

+1
jim
jim
10 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Who is reckless?
Every climber that goes there knows that he/she may die. Makes that choice. Sherpa- father has a choice- take a risk and feed his kids or starve for a year. Which one would you choose?

+1
PolarQuest
9 days ago
Reply to  jim

Think Louis is rather referring to the swarm of tourists who now annually gather at Everest to play at being “climbers”…even in the middle of a global pandemic, and indifferent to whom they may infect on their holiday to the mountains. They have the dollars to be “reckless” and the egos and selfishness to be irresponsible. How do ya like that Jim ? Perhaps if you have concern for people in Nepal, write these tourists and suggest they stay the f**k home and post some $s to those who need it.

+1
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
11 days ago

Covid cases are like cockroaches. There is never “only one”. So this is a headline exweb will be using again and again this spring.

+3
Last edited 11 days ago by MuddyBoots
Paul
Paul
10 days ago

Angela, so it is Steve Harris or Steve Davis or both? and Steve Davis is from York in UK not from California 🙂

0
Tina
Tina
10 days ago

And this is one of the reasons it’s going to be a long time if ever that we get covid-19 under control. SMH

+1
V Chin
9 days ago

Just got back from climbing and summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro. Yep! Aspiring to summit Mt.Everest. What’s scary about Mt. Everest though is the traffic like waiting to die. Looks like people giving permits are not worried at all. Or must I say, a “who cares” attitude if you die or not while trying to summit Mt. Everest. Death will be avoidable if they’ll issue the right number of permits. And for Pete’s sake, don’t climb if you are a novice without proper training and enough oxygen stored in your precious body.

0
Monaco
Monaco
9 days ago
Reply to  V Chin

1.) You walked up Kilimanjaro. That’s not climbing. Not even close.

2.) How exactly does one store oxygen in their body? You need to share this storage information with the climbing world so we can leave the bottles behind.

+1
Last edited 9 days ago by Monaco
Don Paul
Don Paul
9 days ago
Reply to  Monaco

There is one way, and one way only. By holding your breath.

0
Don Paul
Don Paul
9 days ago

Nims is known for his gung-ho bravery and looks like a commando who can easily charge into a death defying situation, leading his team. But if any of his other clients have respiratory infections, they’ll find out soon, and Nims will have to become a field medic.

0