Swift Progress on Everest and Shishapangma

It’s been a difficult time for the Imagine Nepal team on Everest. They have not yet recovered from the shock of losing three members to an accident in the Khumbu Icefall. But they are in charge of fixing the ropes, so they must defer their mourning and continue to work.

The Icefall Doctors quickly re-established the route after a serac fell right on the workers — not an avalanche, as preliminary reports suggested.

Meanwhile, Imagine Nepal’s team, led by Dawa Gyalje, is currently in Camp 2. Sherpas have fixed the route to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face, which allows climbers to do acclimatization rotations before their final pushes.

The next rounds up will take them to the Yellow Band, near the location of Camp 4.  They plan to reach the Balcony, the last stop before the summit section, by April 24. However, there may be delays: Forecasts predict heavy snow throughout the weekend.

The Lhotse wall looking blue in twilight, rock and snow terrain in front, near camp 2.

The Lhotse Face from Camp 2 (6,400m) earlier this week. Photo: Imagine Nepal


Jumar practice

Meanwhile, clients on various teams in Base Camp are using their first days at 5,300m to acclimatize and practice their jumaring and ladder-crossing skills.

“Things are still quiet here, I am enjoying the silence,” Dawa Steven of Asian Trekking told ExplorersWeb. “Several outfitters have changed their schedule and brought in their teams after April 15, instead of the first week of April as was usual.”

Stefi stands on a rock with Everest icefall in background

Stefi Troguet today, somewhere between Everest Base Camp and the Kala Pattar. Photo. Stefi Troguet/Facebook


Dawa Steven admits that the peacefulness will not last much longer. Some of the biggest expeditions are now arriving at Base Camp.

Among them is Nirmal Purja’s EliteExped, including Stefi Troguet of Andorra and Taiwan’s Grace Tseng. After climbing all her previous mountains with Nima Gyalzen of Dolma Expeditions, Tseng changed outfitters at the last minute. Both Troguet and Tseng aim for no-O2 ascents of Everest and Lhotse. Both will use personal Sherpa support.

Selfie of both with poor light, in what seems to be a restaurant

Grace Tseng and Nirmal Purja in Kathmandu last week. Photo: Grace Tseng


The typical Everest summit window occurs between May 15 and May 25. But Tseng will need an earlier summit chance because she intends to head for Kangchenjunga in May for a re-do. On her first Kangchenjunga climb, her team took the wrong route and ended up at a different point, well below the true summit.


Dawa Steven is also coordinating the rope fixing on neighboring Pumori. Nga Dorjee, Mingma Tenzing, and Nima Tenzing are fixing Pumori’s icefall. Their plan was to set up Camp1 beyond that tricky section today.

There is also a second Pumori expedition, outfitted by Mountain Experience.


The group poses standing by a chorten, with Shishapangma in background, ona sunny, windy day.

The Shishapangma team near Base Camp last weekend.


Viridiana Alvarez, Kristin Harila, Sophie Lavaud, and the Climbalaya Sherpas have begun to gain altitude on Shishapangma. The team’s cell coverage dropped after Base camp, but Alvarez is updating their location over her InReach nearly every day.

So far, they set up Camp 1, then moved to Camp 2 at 6,900m yesterday. The plan is to spend a night at 7,100m today, then retreat again. Alvarez reports good weather but is having a tough time with one of the typical aspects of Shishapangma: the relentless wind.

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.