Everest Climbers Now Number 160, Progress on Annapurna

Everest numbers continue to mount. Meanwhile, Annapurna is first in line to be summited this spring.

Young mountaineers and veteran Sherpas, climbing celebrities, and anonymous wannabes, no trekkers but lots of climbers: That’s the cast of characters currently flocking to Nepal and to Everest Base Camp, in particular.

The number of Everest hopefuls rises by the day. On Friday, we reported 105 Everest climbers. Now, on Monday, there are 160, spread over 17 teams. Already, Base Camp crews are in place, and the Icefall Doctors fixed the route through the Khumbu Icefall days ago. Most climbers have not quite reached EBC, though.


Yesterday, the Mountain Professionals team arrived at Phakding, the first night’s stop on their hike in. “It’s very quiet in the valley because there are no trekking-only groups,” Ryan Waters told ExplorersWeb. “It is nice because it is just locals and climbing expeditions, although maybe not so nice for the businesses.”

The moon above the famous Boudhanath stupa was red during the recent wildfires, but by the end of last week, Kathmandu enjoyed slightly clearer air. Photo: The Kathmandu Times


International Mountain Guides has also returned to Everest with two teams. Leaders are Eric Simonson, Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Jonathan Schrock, Phunuru Sherpa, Ang Dorjee Sherpa, Kevin Kayl, Andy Politz, and Greg Vernovage. One group reached Phakding yesterday, the other is already in Namche.

Poor visibility from the wildfires delayed flights to Lukla last week, so expedition members drove from Kathmandu to Phaplu on the new highway in progress. From there, they caught a helicopter to the beginning of the trek. They will arrive in EBC next week.

According to Alan Arnette, the local Nepali companies are servicing mostly Indian clients. However, Nirmal Purja and Mingma David Sherpa’s Elite Himalayan Experience includes three British climbers: Steve Davis from York, (Manaslu 2019), Dan Dowding from London (Aconcagua with Elite, 2020), and Adriana Brownlee.

Although people in the UK currently aren’t allowed to travel overseas for recreation, Brownlee has been in Nepal since her time in Pakistan in December-January, at K2 Base Camp. It is possible that the other two have been similarly out of the country.

The Elite group also includes Gareth Jones of the United States (Denali), Jenn Drummond (Ama Dablam with Garrett Madison in fall 2020), Ed Hill, and Quebec’s Marie-Pier Desharnais.

Nirmal Purja. Photo: Elite Himalayan Experience


They will all climb “Nims Style,” as leader Nirmal Purja puts it. “You will be climbing with minimum support, you will be carrying your own shit up the mountains, YOU will earn YOUR respect.”

“Over the years of my climbing,” he went on, “from being the fastest man to climb all 14×8,000m to making the first ascent of mighty K2 in winter without supplemental O2, breaking records after records and creating history, the mountains have taught me a lot.” He promised that his skills would redound to his clients’ advantage.

Pakistan’s Broad Boy and Kami Rita Sherpa, about to leave Kathmandu.


Meanwhile, 19-year-old Shehroze Kashif from Pakistan, dubbed Broad Boy after summiting Broad Peak, will be the youngest on Everest this season, besting the now 20-year-old Adriana Brownlee. He will climb with veteran Kami Rita Sherpa, who will break his own record by reaching his 25th Everest summit. Since Kashif is “partially acclimatized”, they flew straight from Kathmandu to Dingboche at 4,000m. Check the pair’s brief video here.


On Annapurna, several climbers have already reached Camp 2. According to Pakistan’s Kamran Ali, the route to Camp 3 is being fixed, and Ali’s partners are on their way to C3 for their third acclimatization round and a final night at altitude before their summit push.

Climber on Annapurna. Photo: Purnima Shrestha


On Dhaulagiri, Carla Perez and Topo Mena flew to Base Camp yesterday to attempt a new route up the NW Ridge. Horia Colibasanu and Marius Gane are aiming for the same ridge although it is unclear whether both parties will be on exactly the same line. The Romanian duo completed their acclimatization trek and will head to the mountain from Kathmandu in a couple of days.

Esteban Mena and Carla Perez of Ecuador board a flight to Dhaulagiri Base Camp under smoky but clearing Nepal skies. Photo: Carla Perez