Everest: The Haste to Escape Base Camp

8000ers Everest
A Climber in the Khumbu Icefall on Everest
David Goettler in the Khumbu Icefall, looking toward the Western Cwm. Photo: David Goettler

Some climbers accelerate their progress up Everest to avoid the COVID-19 outbreak in Base Camp. Meanwhile, other large teams keep arriving.

Squeezing the good weather for all it’s worth, climbers are rotating to Camps 1 and 2 for acclimatization. Meanwhile, Sherpa route-fixers reached Camp 4 at the South Col yesterday. If the weather holds, the first summits of the season — by the Sherpas — should come soon.

Speed is of the essence because of the COVID situation in Everest Base Camp. The faster a team removes itself from the risk of contagion, the better its chances of summiting.

Garret Madison, for instance, reports that his team is now in Camp 2 at the Western Cwm after two nights in Camp 1. They plan to spend another two nights at C2. This is a long rotation, but if everyone feels well, they will improve their acclimatization a great deal. They can also enjoy a relatively comfortable and beautiful camp on the lap of Everest and Lhotse.

Camp 2 on Everest in the shade

A dry Camp 2 on Everest. Photo: Garrett Madison

COVID increasing in Base Camp

They can also avoid a Base Camp where COVID cases are apparently increasing. The expedition technology company WICIs-Sports quotes sources in Kathmandu stating that helicopter pilots are evacuating about eight persons a day with COVID symptoms. Meanwhile, teams keep arriving in Base Camp. The large Indian CAFP expedition to Everest and Lhotse, outfitted by Seven Summit Treks, held their puja ceremony yesterday, below.

A crowd at Everest Base Camp

Social un-distancing: India’s team, aiming for Everest and Lhotse, in Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Seven Summit Treks

Given the pandemic perils of a long stay in Base Camp, it is not unlikely that teams will speed up their summit bids. Ideally, most climbers need at least one more acclimatization trip up the mountain, with a night at Camp 3. However, with the route fixed and plenty of oxygen, some leaders might opt for an “express” climb.

Meanwhile, no-O2 climber Kilian Jornet is in Kathmandu and shared a moment today with Seven Summit Treks’ CEO Chhang Dawa Sherpa. David Goettler, Jornet’s companion up Everest’s West Ridge, is currently training in the Khumbu Icefall.

A portrait of Kilian Jornet and Dawa Sherpa in Kathmandu

Kilian Jornet and Chhang Dawa Sherpa, today in Kathmandu. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa

Former French speed climber Marc Batard has announced that he will do an exploratory trip to Everest this fall. Pasang Nuru and Sajid Ali Sadpara (the late Muhammad Ali Sadpara’s son) will join him. Batard intends to check out an alternative route from Base Camp to Camp 2 that avoids the Khumbu Icefall.

Batard will then return in spring 2022 for a no-O2 ascent to celebrate his 70th birthday. According to RussianClimb, the new route could be Denis Urubko and Alexey Bolotov’s proposed line up the flank of Nuptse.

Csaba Varga, also climbing without bottled gas, is back in EBC after three nights in Camp 2, during which he reached 7,000m. He needs just one more rotation before a summit bid.

+4

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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Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes
3 months ago

What could go wrong!?

+5
Mark
Mark
3 months ago

A large Indian team – have fun guys! This season will be one to remember for sure!

+4
Tina
Tina
3 months ago

They are as bad as the people that jam pack the beaches. Idiots

+3
Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago

I thought the Nepali government was going to start controlling when people summitted, and bascally make them get in line in the order of their permits? It doesn’t look like that’s happening.

What is Sajid Sadpara doing on Mount Everest? I thought he was going back up on K2.

0
Last edited 3 months ago by Don Paul
Vincent
Vincent
3 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Uhhh, Angela wrote the Sajid will do an exploration trip in the fall not this spring.

0
Don Paul
Don Paul
2 months ago
Reply to  Vincent

No, I meant when is he going to K2?

0
Darrell Roeters
Darrell Roeters
2 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Who’s going to monitor that, stand in a toll both at every camp?

0
Vincent
Vincent
3 months ago

On an german mountaneering website David Göttler said nothing about the plan to climb the west ridge, he mentioned that he will look from day to day. He is already ahead of Kilian with his aclimatisation and is also the more technical skilled mountaineer.

+3
Paulo
Paulo
3 months ago

In Nepal the covid cases are growing and growing. Very close, in India, it is totally out of control. At Everest base camp people are getting infected and the risk of community spread is a reality. Worldwide we see a gigantic effort to reduce covid deaths. At Everest we see almost everyone only concerned with it’s chance to go for the summit, and more people arriving base camp, including some famous personalities posting proud photos with no protection at all and happily maintaining their mountain plans, joining all the masses (and the virús) on the most crowded base camp on… Read more »

Barbie
2 months ago
Reply to  Paulo

Not even mentioning their selfish use of oxygen in a country where hospitals are desperately scrambling to get any they can find to treat covid patients.

+2
Lynne Adams
Lynne Adams
2 months ago
Reply to  Barbie

This really brings home the true “it’s all about me” Attitude.

0
Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper
3 months ago

There will be deaths and then there will be “R.I.P”s. Idiots…

0
Climber
Climber
2 months ago

Glad I didn’t go this year. The COVID situation base camp is currently experiencing was reasonably foreseeable.

0
OldHikerDude
OldHikerDude
2 months ago

I think that at this point, it would be disasterous if Nepal suddenly shut down EBC and sent everybody home. Climbers would demand refunds, the Sherpas would lose income, and the Guide companies would be in a bind. Perhaps the Nepalese government jumped the gun and decided to open things up a bit too hastily. Despite the quarrentines and vax certificates, the virus was bound to sneak in. Nepal lost a lot of it’s income last year due to the closures, and they weren’t about to let it happen again. As more climbers pour in to EBC, it seems that… Read more »

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