Two Mongolian Climbers Missing on Everest

Once again, climbers are going missing above 8,000m on Everest in the middle of summit waves. Two Mongolian climbers disappeared after leaving Camp 4 for the summit. They were climbing without supplementary oxygen or sherpa support.

Usukhjargal Tsedendamba and Prevsuren Lkhagvajav last made radio contact with Base Camp as they left Camp 4 at 7:30 pm on Sunday. They planned to reach the summit the following morning but never contacted Base Camp again.

The climbers, outfitted by 8K Expeditions, had hired only Base Camp services and some bottles of O2 that they did not intend to use.

“They were confident about their skill and strength, they told us that they were professional climbers and needed no sherpa support,” 8K Expeditions CEO Lakpa Sherpa told The Everest Chronicle. “We even offered them our guides for free, but they turned down the request.”

Difficult search

8K Expeditions has deployed two climbers, Arjun Karki and Langka Ram Tamang, to Camp 4. The pair are coordinating search efforts and asking climbers returning from summit bids if they have seen the Mongolians.

Everest has been in a summit frenzy since a sherpa team opened the route to the summit last Saturday. Yet conditions have seriously deteriorated since yesterday afternoon, with very high winds hitting the mountain, Lakpa Sherpa told ExplorersWeb.

Many climbers summited yesterday, but those planning to reach the top today are retreating because of the high winds. Some teams had expected a long weather window, but meteorological models differed in their wind speed predictions.

The disappearance of Tsedendamba and Lkhagvajav will likely reignite debates about safety on Everest. Climbers are mandated to wear a Recco radar reflector, but as we pointed out in a previous story, the device is useless when searching on foot over big areas, such as on Everest’s upper slopes.

Camp 4 is well above a helicopter’s altitude limit so an aerial search is not possible. It is not clear if the climbers carried a GPS-based tracking system with them.

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.