More Problems on Everest

Last week’s high winds have decreased, but issues and delays continue on Everest. Some ice has collapsed along the Khumbu Icefall route, ice and falling rocks are causing problems on the Lhotse Face, and strong winds blew away tents from Camp 3.

Khumbu Icefall and Lhotse Face

Yesterday, Nga Tenjing Sherpa wrote that a section of ice had collapsed in the Khumbu Icefall, forcing sherpas to retreat to Base Camp. No one has reported any injuries and no other teams mentioned the collapse. We have asked several sources in Base Camp about the incident and are waiting for a reply.

Fortunately, most climbers are in Base Camp or further down. Some have taken helicopters back to Namche Bazaar or to Kathmandu to wait out the bad weather.

Those climbers in Camps 1 and 2 over the last few days checked conditions on the Lhotse Face on their way to tag Camp 3. The steep terrain is remarkably hard because of a lack of snow.

“The entire wall was covered in ice, and stones were flying down the slope,” Alex Abramov of 7 Summits Club reported.

the climber is clipped to a fixed rope and stands on crusty, icy ground.

Climbers progress on icy ground to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. Photo: Everest One

Added problems for no-O2 climbers

For now, the big teams can only tag Camp 3 before returning to Camp 2 because almost no tents are set up for them there. Over the past few days, the wind seriously damaged the few tents pitched in Camp 3 by no-O2 climbers.

While that is not a big deal for those with oxygen, the few climbers going without bottled gas need to rotate to Camp 3 and then to Camp 4 before a summit push. Currently, there are no ropes beyond the South Col, and sherpas are still assembling Camp 4.

One of those affected is Piotr Krzyzowski of Poland. Aiming for a no-O2 Lhotse summit, he reached Camp 3 on Saturday to find his tent and gear swept away by high winds. He is now in his spare tent with borrowed equipment, watching the snow fall.

Norrdine Nouar of Germany, aiming for Everest without supplementary O2, has remained in Camp 2 for the last week. Nouar is not willing to move further down, no matter the conditions. Nouar says that he is (except perhaps for Krzyzowski?) the only client in Camp 2. The others are further down, while the sherpas keep busy setting up tents and supplying Camp 4 with large amounts of oxygen.

Yet the bad weather might, ironically, be good news. Fresh snow is finally covering the face and may improve conditions once it settles.

“It’s 7-8cm of fresh snow and no wind in the Western Cwm, which is quite good,” Nouar reported yesterday over InReach. “It will help with the blue ice on the Lhotse Face and will decrease rockfall, which was intense.”

Everest and Lhotse on a misty day

Everest today from the weather station cameras. Photo: National Geographic & Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition


Other Nepali 8,000’ers, such as Dhaulagiri and Kangchenjunga, are also suffering from bad weather. This delay rope fixing, acclimatization, and summit pushes.

Everest North Side

At last, permits have arrived for the few Western teams hoping to climb Everest from the North Side. Now that the red tape is out of the way, things should progress quickly on the Tibetan side of the mountain. Base Camp and the route are ready (a Chinese team is already on the mountain), and the climbers are acclimatized.

“It will be a light and fast expedition with a small team on an empty mountain,” Lukas Furtenbach confirmed.

Climbalaya team members Scott Cutlan, Laurent Departe, Fura Cheten Sherpa, and Lhakpa Chhiring Sherpa have summited Ama Dablam as a preparatory climb for Everest. They will travel to Tibet this week.

four climbers on the flat summit of Ama Dablam early in the morning.

The Climbalaya team on the summit of Ama Dalbam. Photo: Climbalaya

Nepal on fire

Meanwhile, climbers on their way to Pokhara and Lukla are struggling to find flights because of large wildfires. Helicopters are a better option in these situations.

A fire near Ramechhap, the departure spot for most flights to Lukla.

A fire near Ramechap, the departure spot for flights to Lukla. Photo: Tang Chen Yin

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.