Everest 2021 Numbers May Approach 2019

If Everest climbers top 300, as they did in the last pre-pandemic year, we may see another traffic jam of would-be summiters stuck waiting their turn for hours.

Who said quiet? So far, 222 non-Nepali climbers over 23 teams have obtained permits for Everest in this season. The Department of Tourism expects about 100 more. If so, that would put 2021 close to 2019, when 381 foreigners went to Everest. And judging from Nirmal Purja’s infamous crowd photo at the Hillary Step, almost all the 300+ were clustered around the summit at the same moment.

To avoid a similar melee this year will require some fast teams and more than one good weather window in May.

This week, the first teams arrived at Everest Base Camp, that colorful nylon town set on an austere glacier. Among those arriving are some hoping to become the first in their countries to summit, including Karina Arrué from El Salvador and Yandy Núñez from Cuba.

Simon Ferrier-May, enjoying a moment at a grand piano in Namche Bazaar, hopes to climb Everest without O2. Photo: Simon Ferrier-May


Meanwhile, Simon Ferrier-May of the UK has, like a few of his compatriots, somehow managed to avoid the travel restrictions in his country and joins the prestigious shortlist of those trying to summit Everest without supplementary oxygen. Ferrier-May checked in from Dingboche (4,400m) earlier today. Other no-O2 climbers are Csava Vargas of Hungary, Arjun Vajpai of India, and the pair Sanna Raistakka of Finland and Roeland van Oss from the Netherlands.

This year, a medical team has set up its Quonset-style tent headquarters at EBC for the first time. The ER volunteers, however, have at Base Camp for several seasons. Below, a video about their work from 2016.


Meanwhile, on Dhaulagiri and Annapurna

Both teams attempting the NW Ridge of Dhaulagiri have reached Base Camp. Carla Perez reported that she, Esteban Mena, and Cory Richards are ready to head up to Camp 1. Teams doing Dhaulagiri’s normal route are still elsewhere on acclimatization treks or at Annapurna, as part of Anna-Dhau double-headers.

Seven Summit Treks has shared a video of a windy rope-fixing day en route to Camp 3 on Annapurna.


On Annapurna, the fixed route to Camp 3 is complete. Seven Summit Treks is in charge of fixing the route up Annapurna this year, led by Chhang Dawa Sherpa, assisted by Lakpa Dendi Sherpa and Gesman Tamang.

Shibaz Khan and Abdul Joshi from Pakistan still seem to be climbing ahead of the rest. ExplorersWeb is trying to find out if they are helping the rope-fixers or climbing behind the Sherpa team.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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Civil Engineer
Civil Engineer
1 year ago

When are they going to build traffic signals on the route to the summit? You know…to avoid traffic jams.

1 year ago

Hi Angela,

Thank you for the update. I think that Colin O’Brady should be added to the list that will attempt Everest without O2.

Damien François
Damien François
1 year ago

In 2019, wasn’t it 380 permits???

Jerry Kobalenko
1 year ago

You’re right! Thanks for the correction.

1 year ago

Why has Cory Richards bailed on Carla and Topo?