Everest North Side and Lhotse Open: Summit Pushes Ahead

Everest action is ramping up from near nil to 100 very fast. Yesterday, sherpas fixed the route to the summit of Lhotse. Meanwhile, in Tibet, local climbers have already fixed the ropes to the summit of Everest along the North Col route.

Currently, the South Side is bustling with porters carrying supplies and oxygen. In a matter of hours, the rope-fixing team may summit. Many clients and their personal sherpas are heading up now, not far behind them.

Lhotse open – everybody up

Seven rope fixers summited Lhotse yesterday. Now, they’ll focus on fixing the last section of Everest, from Camp 4 to the top. They should finish before this weekend. A long line of people, mainly porters, are now heading up the Lhotse Face and the Geneva Spur toward Camp 4.

a drone image of the Lhotse flank, with the tiny points signaling climbers and porters on the route to Everest

A line of tiny figures, center right, moves up the Lhotse Face. Photo: Jon Gupta


“The winds have died,” Mike Hamill of Climbing the 7 Summits told ExplorersWeb. “We have been getting some snow at Base Camp and on the upper mountain the past few days.”

While fresh snow is sometimes an impediment, climbers have welcomed the snowfall because it has been sticking to the Lhotse Face and covering the slippery, steel-hard ice. This will make it safer and easier to climb this section.

“Our team is back from their final acclimatization and getting ready for their summit bids as soon as the weather allows,” says Hamill.

Each team will have to consider its summit options to avoid crowding. But several groups are leaving Base Camp tonight for Camp 2. From partway up the mountain, they can better plan their strategy.

Icefall crowds

The Khumbu Icefall was busy yesterday, as Tenzi Sherpa’s video below shows. This will continue for some days, as climbers edge up to the higher camps.

Tenzi Sherpa often posts about the impact of mass tourism and climate change on Everest. He is also not impressed by some widely publicized “cleaning” campaigns.

“Some are raising a bunch of money to clean…[but] I have never seen these big mountaineers and influencers carrying their own waste,” he noted.

No-O2 Lhotse climbers

Piotr Krzyzowski of Poland aims to climb Lhotse without oxygen. To do so, he needs to go ahead of the crowds, so he has been climbing in the footsteps of the sherpa team. He reached the “lower” Camp 4 (7,800m) on Lhotse yesterday.

Krzyzowski is carrying his own gear and tent, which makes the going harder.

“It was a 9.5-hour climb to Camp 4, and I spent two more hours digging a platform for my tent. I need to rest today, I am exhausted,” he admitted earlier today on Instagram.

Lhotse, very dry, with a cloud behind, and the broken icefall at the Lhotse face joins the Valley of Silence, Everest flank on the left.

Lhotse from the bergschrund at the top of the Valley of Silence. Photo: Piotr Krzyżowski


Tyler Andrews and Chris Fisher are also planning Lhotse without O2, in a fast, single push. The American sky-runners will take their time before their speed climb, however.

“We are still hoping to tag Pumori first, and waiting for the big crowds to get up and down, as the next 7-10 days look very good,” Andrews told ExplorersWeb.

The ropes on Pumori are not yet fixed to the summit, so they will probably not attempt Lhotse for some days.

Summit waves ahead on both sides

Teams now check weather forecasts, gather information about others’ plans, and prepare their summit push. If a long summit window has indeed arrived, the next few days will feature waves of climbers on both sides of Everest. North Side teams have already acclimatized, and the route is ready.

The north side of Everest and the Rongbuk glacier at its foot, with the tents of Base Camp.

Base Camp on the North Side of Everest. Photo: Climbalaya

“The summit route to Everest North officially opened…on May 6,” Climbalaya reported. They will enter Tibet on Thursday and reach Base Camp by car the following day.
Adrian Ballinger’s Alpenglow group is already in Tibet but has a more relaxed schedule. After a sightseeing stopover in Lhasa, they drive to Base Camp and then spend five days training and preparing.
Weather chart for Everest, showing some snow falling but low winds

Multimodel forecast for the summit of Everest in the next few days. Chart: Mountainforecast

Multimodel forecasts confirm a long spell of good weather ahead. This would allow teams to coordinate their summit pushes on different days. Smaller crowds will make for a safer climb and a faster transit through the Khumbu Icefall, which is riskier than ever this year.
Nearly all the foreign climbers currently on Everest and Lhotse will only reach Camp 3 once, on their way to the summit. Some who have been acclimatizing elsewhere and plan to use supplementary oxygen will climb in a single push, stopping from camp to camp. On the North Side of Everest, Lukas Furtenbach says that his team will climb in a “light and fast” style, suggesting they may go in a single push.
As for no-O2 climbers on the South Side, some — such as Norrdine Nouar and Valery Bavanov — have already been up near Camp 3. Others, including Tunc Findik of Turkey and Sirbaz Khan of Pakistan, have just arrived in Base Camp.

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.