Russian Climbers Still Going to Everest

Understandably, no Ukrainians are heading to Nepal this spring, but at least one Russian team will be on Everest.

“I have organized 15 Everest expeditions and I want to continue because it is my professional pride and my role in this world,” Alex Abramov of 7 Summits Club told ExplorersWeb. “The company will not change plans.”

Their Everest group includes 10 clients, three guides, and 21 Sherpa staff members. Five more clients will only go to Camp 2 and to some trekking peaks.

“All the clients paid before the situation,” Abramov noted. “The circumstances are difficult in Russia, but most of our members have decided to take part.”

All the 7 Summits Club’s clients are Russian nationals. “We had a client from Latvia, but he canceled.”

Alex Abramov in Kathmandu recently. Photo: 7 Summits Club


Before going to Nepal, at least part of the group will train by climbing Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, located in southern Russia.

“Elbrus is open to climbers,” said Abramov remarked. “But I think Western companies are afraid that will be problems with flights to Russia or [that there] may also be some political aspect, too.”

Indeed, most international outfitters have canceled all trips to Russia.

Circumventing SWIFT

The Russian climbers still have an avenue to the Himalaya. Unlike most Western nations, Nepal has not banned flights from Russia. It is unknown whether this may change, or whether Nepal will impose other restrictions on Russian climbers. And while many Russian banks have been expelled from SWIFT, these clients have circumvented payment issues by switching to China’s UnionPay.

The dramatic depreciation of the ruble won’t be insurmountable either. The clients have already paid most of their expedition costs. Besides, Everest attracts financially flush climbers, regardless of country.

Abramov’s team caused some controversy on Everest last year because of its casual compliance with COVID protocols in Base Camp — read: parties. One of their Sherpas also died during the summit push.

Alex Abramov’s Everest team last year. Photo: 7 Summit Club

Nepal and Ukraine

Nepal is not directly affected by the invasion of Ukraine, although the soaring price of fuel and hesitation around international travel at this time has affected its tourism industry. However, since February 28, the only requirement for arriving travelers remains a vaccination certificate or a fresh PCR.

Nepal is surrounded by two large powers, China and India, neither of which has clearly condemned the Russian President’s actions.