Everest: On Track For Another Record Year

It’s packing time in Kathmandu for the companies outfitting Everest climbs. They better have plenty of space to store oxygen bottles, ropes, and other hardware. This season may again break an attendance record.

The Himalayan Times already estimates 400 climbers, although we won’t know the final figures until the end of the season.

Sherpas loading bags on a truck.

In Kathmandu, staff at Imagine Nepal load supplies for Everest. Photo: Imagine Nepal


Seven Summit Treks will have the biggest team on Everest, with 65 climbers plus a staff that’s even larger than last year, since they are fixing the ropes from Camp 2 to the summit. Other big outfitters report:

  • 8K Expeditions: 45 signed climbers
  • Furtenbach Adventures: 30
  • Imagine Nepal: 35 clients, divided into three groups, according to The Himalayan Times.

The above figures are only for the Nepalese side of Everest. Furtenbach, for example, has another 18 signed up for the North Side.

High percentage

According to The Himalayan Database, Everest had a total of 656 summits in 2023. This includes 263 summits by foreign climbers and 393 by Nepalese staff. Such numbers lead to two conclusions:

First, the impressive percentage of success: Nepal’s Department of Tourism granted 454 Everest climbing permits to foreigners, meaning that 58% reached the summit.

It is worth noting that The Himalayan Database has stopped interviewing commercial climbers. Instead, it reproduces the summit lists from Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation. Although there are a few fake summits on Nepal’s peaks every year, the numbers accurately reflect expedition success.

The second conclusion concerns the increase of summits from local staff. Nepalese workers were responsible for 60 percent of Everest summits in 2023.

In addition, 16 Nepalese summited Everest twice last spring. Most were part of the rope-fixing team. Typically, they summited again some days later while guiding clients. Lakpa Sona Sherpa of Imagine Nepal even summited three times: on May 13 while fixing ropes and then on May 17 and May 23, accompanying Chinese clients.

Lakpa and Mingma sits in EBC mess tent, mountains behind the transparent plastic wall.

Lakpa Sona Sherpa’s job took him to the summit of Everest three times last spring. At left, Lakpa sits in Base Camp with Imagine Nepal’s CEO Mingma G. Photo: Imagine Nepal


Chinese side finally opens

In 2023, The Himalayan Database reported no known Everest ascents from the Chinese side. Indeed, Everest has been closed to foreigners since the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

Last spring, some expeditions received permits for Shisha Pangma and Cho Oyu, but not Everest. One international team planned to ski down Everest’s Hornbein Couloir during the post-monsoon season but became entangled in a bureaucratic mess that ended the expedition prematurely. If Chinese expeditions climbed Everest North Side last year, we have no information about them.

Everest looking pretty dry and with a wind plume rising from the summit ridge.

Everest North Side. Photo: Furtenbach Adventures


This year, the North Side of Everest is finally open to foreign teams, so the final summit figures will surely increase. The last time that side was open, in 2019, The Himalayan Database listed 216 summits from China.

Also, some clients who have done some other 8,000’er in the spring may decide at the last minute to use their acclimatization on Everest, further increasing the numbers.

No no-O2 this year?

Only three of all last year’s Everest summits took place without supplementary O2. The three were Sajid Sadpara of Pakistan on May 14, Mateo Isaza of Colombia on May 15, and reportedly, Muhammad Hawari Hashim of Malaysia on May 18.

Unfortunately, Hashim never made it back. A sherpa supported him up to the top but on the way down, he allegedly left Hashim at Camp 4 and went back up to help another climber in trouble. Hashim, a 22-year-old deaf climber, was never seen again.

Another no-O2 fatality, Suhajda Szilard of Hungary, also climbed without personal sherpa support. He perished without reaching the summit.

Hashim showing strength before departur at the expedition presentation in Kuala Lumpur.

Muhammad Hawari Hashim, one of the 18 people who lost their lives on Everest in 2023. Photo: The Malaysian Reserve


So far, no one has announced plans to climb Everest without oxygen this spring.

It is worth noting that climbers intending a no-O2 Everest ascent may do so either self-sufficiently, with no sherpa support above Base Camp, or with the support of sherpa guides who carry the weight, do all the chores in higher camps, and bring spare oxygen systems in case the clients change their minds or need oxygen.

For climbers in Tibet, going without oxygen is no longer allowed. You also need guide support and previous experience on a 7,000m+ mountain.

climbers in line along the Hillary Step on a windy day.

Wind rising a plume off the summit ridge of Everest. Photo: 8K Expeditions


Weather in 2024?

Although it’s soon to tell, meteorologist Michael Fagin explained in a recent article that El Niño (above normal ocean temperatures off South America) has had a strong presence since last summer.

“For the Himalayan region, this pattern generally delays the start of the summer monsoon season and brings below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures,” Fagin wrote. However, “El Niño conditions are currently weakening,” he added.

Read more here.

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.