Everest: Wind and COVID

8000ers Everest
Descending the Khumbu Icefall in the fog. Photo: Summit Climb

Dan Mazur and the Summit Climb team, who caught the increasing winds full force on their descent, finally made it back to Camp 2 yesterday. Today, they face the Khumbu Icefall in “foggy, breezy, snowy conditions”.

“We are trying to have a very safe journey through the Khumbu Icefall: walking slowly, checking every rope, every ladder, every anchor, staying together and being very careful,” Mazur told Base Camp.

Record Everest summiter Kami Rita Sherpa flew back to Kathmandu yesterday after bagging his 25th Everest summit two weeks ago.

He had intended to summit once more this week but told local media that he changed his mind after a “bad dream” while in Camp 2. Goddess Miyong Lamsangma warned him to go no further. “It’s enough for this time, so I returned to Base Camp,” Kami Rita said.

The Alpine Ascents team hunkered down in Camp 4 at 8,000m, aiming to summit today. They have now retreated because of the bad weather conditions. Lakpa Rita confirmed from Base Camp that this is the end of their expedition.

Further news should come later from the teams in Camp 2. They hope to go up as soon as the weather improves.

Everest area today, as seen from Everest Weather Station.

French climber Pascal Denoel left on his summit push yesterday but was unsure whether he would try to get to the top on May 29 or May 30. “The decision must be negotiated with the Sherpas, who want everyone back down by May 31 in order to close the Icefall that day,” he wrote. “If we have to go for the top on the 29, we will have no possibility to rest the day before. So my options of climbing No-O2 will be reduced.”

“Non-existent” COVID update

Denoel’s team has also had some “medical evacuations”, with no further information provided. In a video posted by Denoel, a Sherpa carries a coughing, seriously sick-looking Mr. X on his back to the Base Camp clinic, before his evacuation.

New Zealand’s press has picked up the case of Kiwi climber and filmmaker Scott Simper, a member of Elia Saikaly’s team. Simper summited Everest on May 11 and then tested positive for COVID back in Kathmandu. During the climb, he thought that the fatigue and shortness of breath he experienced was “just part of being at almost 9,000m”, he explained. He is in the hospital in Kathmandu, hoping to recover enough to return home to his family.

“Others in the film crew, including Sherpas, also developed COVID, which they now believe they were exposed to at Base Camp before the climb,” Stuff news said.

Damian Browne, who had been with Climbing the Seven Summits (CTSS), describes on a podcast how he and three other team members were evacuated from Base Camp and then tested positive for COVID. Surprisingly, after recovering, Damian and two friends returned to the mountain.

CTSS has led groups to the summits of Lhotse and Everest, and had one more group, including Browne, preparing for a summit push. However, the company has been quiet for the last few days and it is unclear whether that summit attempt is ongoing.

Ngima Dendi Sherpa, Managing Director of Happyfeet Mountaineers, died of COVID yesterday in Kathmandu. His company serviced climbers on Everest, but we do not know if Ngima himself was at Base Camp.

Nepal’s Department of Tourism continues to deny that there are any COVID cases in the mountains, either for foreigners or their own citizens, and reports that everything on Everest is normal. The current season on Everest is anything but normal.

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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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Tal
Tal
3 months ago

Bare-faced lying? Wishful thinking? Or a misconception?

It sounds as though somebody needs to confront the Nepal Department of Tourism with some facts. The fuel bills for all the helicopter Covid evacuations would be a start.

+1
Apy
Apy
3 months ago

The medical evacuations (2) in Pascal Noel’s team do not appear to be Covid related. Details in Francois Trouillet’s (M. X) Facebook page.

+1
Ian
Ian
3 months ago

“Almost at 9000m” – these social media, ego-driven mountaineers love to talk themselves up.

Whatever happened to Colin O’Brady’s attempted traverse…all talk no show. Pathetic.

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Updates
Updates
3 months ago

Didn’t Kami Rita summit many days before Bahrain team summit?

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Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Updates

Yes. Fixed, thank you.

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Maysnow
Maysnow
3 months ago

look at 7 summit club`s blog – photos of celebrations- no distance, no COVID anywhere…

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