Rush Hour Begins on Everest

With the arrival of good weather, the flood of summits has begun on Everest, as expected. Climbers report endless lines while Base Camp is virtually empty.

The summits started yesterday, but the numbers boomed today despite the risk of convection clouds forming on the mountain. The action may peak tomorrow when the weather is expected to be best.

Meteorologist Marc the Keyser told ExplorersWeb that sudden bursts of strong wind may hit the mid and lower levels of the mountain. Clouds and periods of snowfall on the upper sections may occur until May 22.

Crowds unavoidable

The Himalayan Times estimates over 100 summits today, including some big teams. Satori Adventures summited with 5 international climbers and 11 sherpas, 14 Peaks Expeditions had 8 clients and 8 sherpas, and 8K Expeditions had a whopping 17 clients and 21 sherpas.

Over the last few days, teams left Base Camp and stationed themselves at the huge Camp 2. They then moved up progressively. Although they tried to distribute themselves among the different camps, there were so many people that crowds were unavoidable.

A line of climbers follow the edge of the reach toward the summit of Everest Along the Hillary Step

A line of climbers on the summit ridge of Everest. Photo: Lakpa T. Sherpa


The number of permits this season will be similar to or slightly higher than the record year of 2023. There are several reasons for the high tally.

First, the sherpa/client ratio is increasing to accommodate climbers who need extra support. Today, Jyoti Ratre became India’s oldest female Everest summiter, but three sherpas supported her.

In addition, an increasing number of people climb Everest more than once a season. Most are sherpa guides who want extra income, but some expedition leaders and clients summit more than once. For example, guide Valentyn Sypavin of Ukraine and client Purnima Shrestha of Nepal summited both last weekend and today. They are on their way back to Base Camp and already thinking of climbing Everest a third time in a few days, The Himalayan Times reported.


The bigger commercial outfitters have so many clients that they need to distribute them over several groups under different permits. 8K Expeditions’ 38 summiters today, for example, were only their “Group A.” In the end, trying to keep track of all teams is pointless.

Yet Moeses Fiamoncini of Brazil dared estimate the numbers from a crowded Camp 2. He wrote that around 110 people attempted the summit today, and some 120-150 people are planning to go up tomorrow, May 20. Numbers will also be high on May 21. Fiamoncini himself will climb Lhotse without oxygen and then, depending on how he feels and the conditions, may try Everest too.

More crowded this year

The main difference between 2023 and 2024 is that the summits are squeezed into fewer days this year. The weather was much better in 2023, which resulted in less crowding on individual days.

At the same time, 18 people died on the mountain, the worst ever. This year, the ropes were only ready on May 11, and a sprinkling of summits followed between then and May 13. The weather has been bad for five days since then and only improved this weekend. Conditions are expected to be good for some days, but the season ends around May 31, so there is little time left.

Piotr Krzyzowski, climbing Lhotse without oxygen, took the photograph below from Camp 2 and shared it yesterday. He said long lines are heading up the mountain, although the weather has deteriorated somewhat today. In a forecast for ExplorersWeb, Marc de Keiser noted that Sunday would feature clouds and possible snowfall.

Camp 3 on Everest with climbers above and below

Camp 3 on Everest, with hundreds of climbers below and above the tents. Photo: Piotr Krzyzowski


Krzyzowski himself plans to stop for the night in Camp 3 today.

The video below, taken by Mike Hamill of Climbing The 7 Summits, shows one of their groups heading for Camp 3:

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.