Himalayan Update: Peak Season Tragedies and Triumphs

Last week, we looked at the early results from the spring Himalayan season. Now, as the season peaks, we review what’s been happening over the past week.

New Records set for most Everest summits

Kami Rita Sherpa has said he wants to climb Everest 25 times. Photo: Kami Rita Sherpa

Kami Rita reached the summit for a record 22nd time on May 16.

The women’s record was also broken this week. Lhakpa Sherpa already held the record with eight Everest summits and she reached her ninth on May 16, from the North Col on the Tibetan side of the mountain.

Guy Cotter and Leow Kah Shin Fall Just Short of the Triple Crown

Kah Shin and Dawa Bhote on the summit of Lhotse. Photo: Adventure Consultants

Bagging Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest in a single expedition requires a lot of factors to fall into place. Singaporean hedge-fund manager and ultra-marathon runner Leow Kah Shin calculated that his best chance was a private expedition with Adventure Consultants, one of the most established operators on the mountain.

While the pair didn’t quite make the Triple Crown, two out of three is fair dinkum. Cotter and Shin climbed Lhotse and Everest in just over 24 hours, beginning with Everest on May 16. They had previously been forced to abandon their Nuptse push due to high winds and heavy snow.

Russian Climber Dies on Lhotse

Russian climber Rustem Amirov suffered altitude sickness near the summit of Lhotse. Photo: Rustem Amirov

Russian climber Rustem Amirov died on May 17 trying to reach the summit of Lhotse. Amirov developed acute altitude sickness close to the summit. With Sherpa support, he descended quickly to Camp 3, then to Camp 2, but succumbed nonetheless.

Cryptocurrency PR Stunt on Everest

Taras Pozdnii on the summit of Everest. Photo: Taras Pozdnii

Sharp-eyed summiters atop Mount Everest may have a chance to earn back some of the money it cost them to get there. A team of Ukrainian climbers claims to have just left $50,000 in cryptocurrency buried in the snow on top.

Boyan Petrov Lost to Shishapangma

Boyan Petrov had ten 8,000m peaks to his name. Photo: Boyan Petrov

The search for missing Bulgarian climber Boyan Petrov has ended. Petrov was last seen on May 3 at approximately 7,300m during his solo Shishapangma summit bid. Though initially delayed by bad weather, rescue operations have been extensive. Only a few traces of the mountaineer have been found: his tent at Camp 3, and more recently, a few belongings: T-shirt, insulin medication and energy gels.

It seems likely that Petrov made an attempt at the summit from Camp 3, but he was climbing without a satellite phone or radio, so we have no conclusive information. Kiril Petkov, a close friend, has been in Nepal helping with the search and speculates that the climber may have fallen into a crevasse between Camp 3 and the summit. But unless more evidence turns up, we can’t know definitively what became of the experienced Bulgarian mountaineer.

Everest-Lhotse Traverse Waiting on Weather

Hamor and Colibasanu are waiting for a weather window. Photo: Peter Hamor

Horia Colibasanu and Peter Hamor are attempting the traverse via the West Ridge. On May 16, the pair spent six hours moving up to Advanced Base Camp (Camp 2) at 6,400 meters. On May 17, they headed back up to the couloir to the West Ridge, where heavy snow stymied them. For now, they have returned to Advanced Base Camp and will await better conditions.