A First Glimpse of 2023 Everest & the 8,000m Spring Season

It’s Gyalpo Losar today, the Tibetan New Year’s day. The date is widely celebrated by Nepal’s ethnic groups of Tibetan origin, especially the Tamang, Gurung, Yolmo, Bhutia (including the Sherpas), and the Tibetans living in the country.

Losar also marks the unofficial beginning of the Himalayan spring season, which is the most important period for Nepal’s tourism industry.

In a few days, the Expedition Operators Association (EOA) will announce the estimated number of foreign climbers. Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism will publish permit lists beginning at the end of March. Until then, outfitters and industry professionals share their thoughts about the upcoming season among themselves. Here’s what they’re saying.

Climbers approach Camp 4 on Everest’s South Side. Photo: Seven Summit Treks


China not an option for foreigners

The buzz is that there could be fewer Western clients this year than in 2022. However, companies expect a significant number of Chinese climbers, who are finally free to travel abroad. India is also an ever-growing market for mountaineering in Nepal. Since ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan mean that the two countries share no tourist visa agreement, the Karakoram 8,000’ers and Nanga Parbat are out of reach for most of Indians.

Everest North Side climbers. Photo: Furtenbach Adventures


Meanwhile, there remains no news from China about permits for foreign climbers. Some outfitters have become pessimistic even about the fall season. Until recently, most believed that Cho Oyu and Shishapangma would be open by September.

Alpenglow has canceled its trip to Everest’s North Side and will not switch to the Nepal side.

“We left the south in 2014 and will not guide there,” Adrian Ballinger told ExplorersWeb. “The Icefall hazards and too many inexperienced clients and guides make the risk unacceptable.”

Ballinger might consider sending a highly experienced client with one guide, but not a whole group. Instead, Alpenglow is offering Makalu as Plan B, Ballinger said.

Everest South Side

Everest’s Tibet side will, however, be open for Chinese nationals. Outfitters expect Chinese permit fees to increase, since the latest price list expired in December 2022. Fees for Everest’s South Side, on the other hand, remain the same as last year.

Many Chinese climbers may prefer to climb Everest from the Nepal side, however. It costs less, and there are more outfitters to choose from. Besides, China requires its nationals to have climbed an 8,000m before attempting Everest from Tibet. Impatient clients wishing to go straight for the highest peak on Earth have the option of going to Nepal.

Everest expeditions officially begin the second week of April, but Base Camp is already set up, and in the same place that it has always been. Rumors of authorities wanting to move it to a safer location have not led to any actual decision.

All the usual outfitters will be there, and would-be summiters can pick from (relatively) shoestring offerings to the increasingly trendy, VIP options. First offered by a few Western outfitters, such as Australian-based Climbing the Seven Summits, local agencies have copied the formula. They advertise greater comfort at Base Camp, all the oyxgen you can sip, and more Sherpas per client. All this pampering comes with a gigantic price tag. Check this ad by Seven Summit treks for a VIP Everest+Lhotse trip.


Other 8,000’ers

For the rest of Nepal’s 8000ers, companies are again offering clients a chance to bag two or more peaks in the same season. As usual, the spring season begins with Annapurna. Most outfitters airlift their clients straight to Base Camp between March 15-20.

After Annapurna, some may move to nearby Dhaulagiri. Others could head for Makalu or Kangchenjunga, both available in April. Manaslu, on the other hand, tends to be deserted in spring, although this winter was rather dry, so conditions could be quite good.

A line of climbers heading up among seracs covered in fresh snow, in a clear day.

Climbers file up Annapurna, 2022. Photo: Adriana Brownlee/Instagram


Besides the 8,000’ers and the usual trekking peaks used for acclimatization and training — such as Lobuche, Island Peak, and Mera Peak — Ama Dablam has a large Base Camp ready and the route is fixed from bottom to top.

Baruntse will have some teams as well. And as we recently announced, at least one team will attempt the beautiful yet menacing Pumori, also in the Khumbu.

Until we hear more from the climbers themselves, Losar Tashi Delek! Happy New Year 2150!

Losar greeting card from Tibet, courtesy of Alfonso Para/MundoTibet

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.