Everest: Waiting for News from No-O2 Climber Suhajda Szilard

Suhajda Szilard of Hungary was attempting to summit Everest today without oxygen or personal Sherpa support. He set off on his own from Camp 4 last night.

Szilard last contacted his home team by satellite text or voice (which one is unclear) at 7:45 am Nepal time. At that point, he had reached the Balcony (8,430m) and said he was feeling strong and the weather was good.

He is carrying a GPS tracking device, but it’s not working consistently, according to Laszlo Pinter, a Hungarian journalist in touch with Szilard’s home team. The last signal, this afternoon Nepal time, located the climber at 8,700m. There has been no news since then, and it is already dark on the mountain. Further news may not come until tomorrow morning.

Szilard is carrying all his gear and supplies up and down the mountain, with no sherpa to help him with chores like pitching a tent or melting snow for water. Those tasks seem minor at sea level but are exhausting for a breathless climber at 8,000m. Sticking to the criteria of no-O2 climbing, he is also carrying no emergency oxygen with him.

However, Szilard stuck to a conservative, well-planned acclimatization strategy that ignored the earlier summit fever around him. On this final push, he left Base Camp this past weekend and has advanced one camp per day.

Early summits

Earlier today, a few other summits occurred. Unlike the climbers in the first summit waves, they enjoyed a quiet route with no queues. This resulted in some really early summits.

Asian Trekking’s two Chinese clients, assisted by two sherpas, reached the summit at 4:30 am and were back at Camp 2 in time for lunch. Nima Rinji Sherpa, just 17 years old, summited Everest at 2:30 am, then headed for Lhotse, which he summited at 11:50 am.

Nima is the son of Seven Summit Treks’ CEO Chhang Dawa Sherpa. He climbed with support from Pasang Nurbu and Ser Jangbu Sherpa. Last year, at age 16, he bagged Manaslu, his first 8,000’er.

Close shot of young Nima Rinji, his face weathered by sun and wind and some snow flakes on his collar.

Nima Rinji Sherpa. Photo. Chhang Dawa Sherpa/Instagram


Anyone else on the mountain?

Later in the morning, at 10:10 am, U.S. guide Garrett Madison summited Everest for the 13th time. He led a team that included Richard Michael Irvine of Canada, Danah Ahmed Abdulla Alali of the UAE, Eva Perglerova of the Czech Republic, Dawa Sangey Sherpa, Aang Phurba Sherpa (on his 12th Everest summit), Dorchi Sherpa, Dhana Tamang, and Pemba Sherpa, The Himalayan Times reported.

Iswari Paudel of Madison’s local outfitter, Himalayan Guides, told Explorersweb that the entire summit team added up to 26 people. Paudel added that everyone is currently back in Camp 4, and some will head up Lhotse tomorrow. So Everest is not yet completely empty. Members of other teams may also be nearby.

the Sherpa climbers makes the victory sign and madison smiles to the camera while they take a selfie, snow and sky in background.

Garrett Madison (right) with one of his team’s sherpas on Nuptse some days ago. Photo: Garrett Madison/Instagram


Everest no-O2: Several try, few succeed

This season, several climbers had planned to climb Everest without the help of supplemental oxygen. Yet as we wait for news about Suhajda — and unless Kilian Jornet reports otherwise in the next few days — only Sajid Sadpara of Pakistan has actually done it this season.

Sadpara was among the first summiters on May 14. Like Szilard, Sadpara climbed without sherpa support. A child of the Karakoram, Sadpara is used to the thin air. In addition, by the time he showed up in Everest Base Camp, he was already acclimatized after summiting Annapurna.

All other no-Os plans thwarted by viruses

All other climbers planning no-O2 climbs have given up because of health problems, all related to a respiratory virus that afflicted many of the climbers in Everest Base Camp this season.

Russians Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin finally used oxygen during their climb. Lazo had earlier been ill with a cough, fever, and chills. Initially, he went down to the village of Pangboche and then to 3,500m (Namche Bazaar?) to recover. Obviously, he didn’t get completely well.

He started to ski down from the summit, as planned, but became worse and asked for medical assistance around 6,500m, his home team wrote. He was evacuated to the hospital, where he is currently recovering.

Climber in high altitude suit on skis, traverses along Everest's snowy summit ridge.

Valery Lazo on skis, shortly after summiting and before he became ill and needed assistance.


The three women who had planned to summit without oxygen have all aborted that idea. Stefi Troguet of Andorra called her entire expedition off, because of that respiratory illness; Asmita Dorjee was not feeling right beyond Camp 4. She turned on the oxygen and summited that way.

Grace Tseng of Taiwan also retreated after trying to go above Camp 4, also with a respiratory virus. She is back in Base Camp and considering moving to Kangchenjunga before the season ends.

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.