U.S. Doctor Dies on Everest

A doctor from Seattle, Jonathan Reuel Sugarman, has perished in Everest’s Camp 2.

Sugarman, 69, was on his second attempt to climb Everest. Last year, he had to abort at Camp 3. He did not die in an accident, but the cause of death will have to wait for the autopsy. This won’t happen immediately. According to the Everest Chronicle, his body couldn’t be airlifted down the mountain due to the current bad weather.

Sugarman’s is the fourth death on Everest this season, after a collapsed serac in the Khumbu Icefall buried three Sherpas on April 12.

Sugarman smiles to the camera in black cap, sunglasses and red down jacket.

File image of Jonathan Reuel Sugarman. Photo: Everest Chronicle


More bad weather

More bad weather is adding fresh snow to an already overloaded route on Everest. Helicopter pilot Simone Moro notes that he was involved in a “series of rescues” as the storm came in. He is currently in Base Camp, waiting for better conditions before he can fly again.

Delays lead to crowding

“The weather is very cloudy across the country and there is a lot of precipitation, but thankfully not as much snow at Everest Base Camp and higher as the forecast initially predicted,” Dawa Steven Sherpa of Asian Trekking told Explorersweb from Base Camp.

Concerns are growing among climbers about crowding, as the number of Everest permits has now reached 466, according to the latest count. Potential traffic jams will depend on the weather. A long good spell lets the teams spread out in several pushes, while a narrow window will lead to the long lines of some past years.

Tents all sizes and colors spread on a snow and rock plain.

A drone’s-eye view of Everest Base Camp. Photo: Pasang Rinzee Sherpa


Unfortunately, the odds for orderly, staggered pushes are not promising. Many climbers are ready for their summit push after spending time in Camp 2 and reaching Camp 3. The rope-fixing team has yet to open the trail between Camp 4 and the summit.

Often crowds are also a problem at difficult passages in the Khumbu Icefall, especially those sections where clients must cross ladders over crevasses and climb vertical ice cliffs.

But Dawa Steven told ExplorersWeb, “The route is slightly longer because it’s a bit more winding, but the Sherpas say there are no major ladders or technically difficult parts. They also feel that it’s safe this year compared to others…Since it’s an easier route, even my slowest client is four hours faster through the Icefall than my slowest clients last year.”

No luck for Batard

Marc Batard is still determined to avoid the Khumbu Icefall altogether by fixing an alternative route under Nuptse’s flank to the Western Cwm. But he and his team have a long way to go.

Jean-Marc Demoz and Vincent Gouyet, who are leading the climb, left their base at Gorak Shep last week and climbed the sections of the route previously fixed in 2021. They hoped to find a traverse to avoid the need to surmount 5,880m Sundare Peak, which confronted them on their previous attempt. 

“Marco (Jean-Marc Dermoz) and I tried…that traverse, in vain,” Gouyet wrote. “We don’t have enough equipment with us to secure our progress.” The climbers turned around and returned to Gorak Shep. 

The climber traverses a mixed terrain slope on fixed ropes, ice-axe in hand.

Jean-Marc Dermoz on the new tentative route across the base of Nuptse toward the Western Cwm. Photo: Vincent Gouyet


Other 8,000’ers

Annapurna climbers are moving on to their next goals. Sajid Sadpara is off to Makalu for a no-O2 climb, while Shehroze Kashif (who in the end, had no frostbite from Annapurna but just frostnip, so can continue) has moved to Dhaulagiri. Finally, Naila Kiani, also of Pakistan, has Everest plans.

On Cho Oyu, Viridiana Alvarez’s track shows that the team has moved up from Base Camp at 5,700m to Camp 1 at 6,400m.

Tracker showing Alvarez' progress with blue down's and a blue arrow indicating her current position at Camp 1's altitude.

Viridiana Alvarez’s tracker shows her progress today from 5,700m on the glacier to Camp 1 at 6,400m, on Cho Oyu’s northwest side.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.