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.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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chris
chris
3 months ago

Kind of hard for China to condemn Russia when they have occupied the sovereign nation of Tibet for 70 plus years…

Dorchi sherpa
Dorchi sherpa
3 months ago
Reply to  chris

At least they’re not hypocrites like isrealis to condemn and protest the illegal take over of Ukraine then go back home to occupied lands lol

Sid
Sid
3 months ago
Reply to  chris

Hard for USA to condemn Russia and have a leg to stand on what with its history of installing puppet dictators…Chile, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan…the list goes on. USA is the only country to be at constant war since the Second World European War and with its Europeans allies, they’re all culpable of genocide (and that’s not even getting into colonization). No one is better than the other, they’re all evil with their own agendas. Extinction couldn’t come any sooner. Until then, enjoy the mountains.

Richard Fell
Richard Fell
3 months ago

The Nepalise Government need to show solidarity with the rest of the civilised world and impose sanctions banning Russians. Whilst this may seem harsh, pressure needs applying upon Russians to find a way of getting rid of Putin to avoid a larger humanitarian catastrophe. Nepal needs to send a clear signal that Russians are not welcome!

Jmaf
Jmaf
3 months ago

This is a bit of a bad look for Nepal in my opinion. Western climbers should threaten to cancel all expeditions until Nepal says no to the Russian’s. Russia needs to be pressured in all ways to get rid of Putin and prevent further humanitarian disasters.

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Jmaf

Then American , China, Germany, and the Middle East should never be allowed to climb either … leave the political crap off the rocks

Joanna
3 months ago

Interesting…