Two Approaches to Everest: Boldness or Caution

Many Everest teams have decided to wait out the current cyclone in Base Camp. Others, bolder or more optimistic, have remained in Camp 2 since last weekend. Soon, they will push on to Camp 3. From here, they’ll launch a quick summit push once the wind drops. Which strategy will work best?

Dan Mazur and his SummitClimb team had planned to leave Camp 2 for Camp 3 yesterday, but constant snowfall forced them to delay until tomorrow. On Friday, May 21, they make for Camp 4 and rest there for one day. Then they summit on the night of May 22/morning of May 23, as will Madison Mountaineering.

“According to the four weather forecasts we checked, that’s when the winds should be the quietest,” said Mazur. “Let’s hope it has stopped snowing by then.”

Caution first

But Alex Abramov does not trust the current weather. He is returning to Base Camp to wait for a better shot.

Abramov will join some of the largest teams, which are either in Base Camp or lower down the valley. They have bet on a summit window beginning mid-next week, just before the monsoon hits Nepal.

However, another depression is now forming in the Bay of Bengal. It may grow into another cyclone and shut down the mountain right when the window was due to open.

Before the Asian Trekking team sets off shortly on their summit push, leader Dawa Steven Sherpa had all expedition members (climbers, guides, and BC staff) tested for COVID. A team from Kathmandu’s HAMS Hospital flew all the way to Base Camp to take the samples.

It was a wise precaution because even the most cautious teams have now recorded COVID cases. Furtenbach Adventures, which just left Everest, revealed that even it had two positive cases, an asymptomatic U.S. client and a Sherpa who was sick.

Two earthquakes

Meanwhile, Kathmandu experienced two modest earthquakes this morning. The epicenter was 113km northwest of the city, near the Lamjung district, where 2015’s devastating quake also originated. Luckily, today’s quake was 5.8 on the Richter scale, a hiccup compared to the 7.8 monster in 2015.

Carlos Soria and his partners arrived in Kathmandu in time to catch the plane home on Friday morning. Horia Colibasanu, Peter Hamor, and Marius Gane have also managed to get tickets. The Spanish Iberian Airlines plane is bringing aid to Kathmandu.