Mount Everest: Two missing climbers – Kami Rita Sherpa’s 30th summit success

Nepalese side of Mount Everest
Nepalese side of Mount Everest (seen from Kala Patthar in 2002)

The many success stories from Mount Everest are intermingled with the sad news of two missing climbers on the highest mountain on earth. The newspaper “Himalayan Times” reports that a British and a Nepalese mountaineer fell yesterday, Monday, while descending from the summit at the height of the former Hillary Step (8,790 meters). There has been no trace of them since then. The chances of finding them alive are dwindling by the minute.

If the two are declared dead, it would be the third and fourth deaths on Mount Everest this season. Last week, two Mongolian climbers passed away on the descent. In addition, a Romanian climber who wanted to climb the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse without bottled oxygen also died yesterday in Camp 3 at around 7,300 meters.

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Mount Everest: Further summit successes, tragedy, accusations

Sunrise on Mount Everest
Sunrise on Mount Everest (in fall 2019)

Last weekend brought what commercial mountaineering on Mount Everest stands for above all else: plenty of success stories. According to US mountain blogger Alan Arnette (who always keeps track of the numerous commercial expedition teams), at least 130 people reached the highest point on earth at 8,849 meters on Sunday alone.

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Mount Everest: Body of missing Mongolian climber found

Butterlampen_Gebetsmuehlen
R.I.P.

Concern turned into sad certainty. A four-man Nepalese search team from the operator 8K Expeditions found the body of the Mongolian mountaineer Usukhjargal Tsedendamba in the summit zone of Mount Everest at 8,550 meters. This was reported by the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”.

The 53-year-old and his 31-year-old compatriot Purevsuren Lkhagvajav have been missing since last weekend. “The fate of the other climber Purevsuren is still unknown,” said Lakpa Sherpa from 8K Expeditions. Realistically, the chances of finding the Mongolian alive are close to zero. The search operation in the summit area of Mount Everest had to be temporarily interrupted due to strong winds.

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Two Mongolian climbers missing on Mount Everest

Mount Everest
Nepalese south side of Mount Everest

Two climbers from Mongolia are missing in the summit zone of Mount Everest. As the Nepalese newspaper My Republica reports, citing the Ministry of Tourism, members of other teams last saw the two on Monday morning local time as they were climbing towards the summit. Since then, there has been no sign of life from them. A rescue operation has been launched, it said.

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Mourning for Nepalese mountaineer Lhakpa Tenji Sherpa

Lhakpa Tenji Sherpa
Lhakpa Tenji Sherpa (1970-2024)

Farewell to Lhakpa Tenji Sherpa. Today, Monday, family and friends – including his wife, his daughter, his two sons and his brothers – paid their last respects to him at a funeral in Kathmandu. Lhakpa Tenji had led a Jordanian client to the 8,485-metre-high summit of Makalu on Monday last week (6 May) and died on the descent to Camp 3 at around 7,500 meters – probably from high altitude sickness. Opinions differ as to whether the experienced mountaineer’s death could have been prevented.

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Mount Everest: Kami Rita Sherpa summits for the 29th, Kenton Cool for the 18th time

Kami Rita Sherpa
Kami Rita Sherpa – climbing Everest again and again


The first summit wave on Mount Everest is rolling. After a team of ten Nepalese climbers – as reported – fixed the ropes to the summit on Friday evening local time, the first commercial teams with their clients also reached the highest point on earth at 8,849 meters today. The Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks announced the summit success of a 20-member team, seven clients and 13 Nepalese companions.

Among the latter was Kami Rita Sherpa. This was his 29th time on the summit of Everest. No one has scaled the highest mountain on earth more often than the 54-year-old from the village of Thame in the Khumbu region.

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Also first summit success of the season on the Nepalese side of Everest

Mount Everest (in 2016)
Mount Everest


The first summit wave of the spring season can now also roll in on the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest. The Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks reported that the ten-man rope-fixing team led by Dendi Sherpa reached the summit at 8,849 meters this evening. The route to the highest point has been secured with ropes and is now open, it said.

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Mount Everest: First summit success of the season reported from the Tibetan north side

Tibetan north side of Mount Everest (in 2005)

First the rope-fixing team, then the others. This is how commercial mountaineering on eight-thousanders usually works. Mount Everest is no exception. Today, the first summit success of the spring was reported from the highest mountain on earth.

In the morning local time, the Tibet Himalaya Expedition team, which fixed the ropes on the Tibetan north side of the mountain, reached the highest point at 8,849 meters. This was confirmed to me by Mingma Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Climbalaya, and Lukas Furtenbach, head of the Austrian company Furtenbach Adventures.

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Difficult conditions on Mount Everest – permits for the north side have arrived

View of Mount Everest (l.) and Lhotse (from Namche)
View of Mount Everest (l.) and Lhotse (from Namche in 2019)

“At altitudes between 6800 m and 7600 m, there are many places with open blue ice,” warned Valeriy Babanov on Instagram a few days ago. “Therefore, fit and sharpen your crampons well. To avoid misunderstandings on long ice slopes. As you remember, luck always favors the strong and prepared!” Babanov is one of the strong.

The Russian has twice been awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of mountaineering”: in 2002 for his solo ascent of the North Face of the six-thousander Meru in the Indian Himalayas, and in 2004 (together with Yuri Koschelenko) for the first ascent of the 7,804-meter-high Nuptse Shar I – in the vicinity of Mount Everest. Now aged 59, Babanov wants to scale the highest mountain on earth without bottled oxygen. If he succeeds, he would be the oldest person on Everest without a breathing mask. So far, the Italian Abele Blanc is in the record lists having achieved this feat. When he summited in 2010, Blanc was 55 years and 264 days old.

Babanov wanted to set off today from Everest Base Camp towards the South Col at just below 8,000 meters – “for the final acclimatization”, as he wrote in his Instagram story.

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60 years ago: First ascent of Shishapangma

North side of Shishapangma
North side of Shishapangma

“A few steps more and we emerged on the very highest point of the mountain, a triangular ice-and-snow-covered piece of ground, about five square metres, commanding a panoramic view to the farthest horizon. A head wind hit us with full force.” This is how Hsu Ching (other spelling Xu Jing) , the leader of the Chinese expedition, described the moment exactly 60 years ago today when people first set foot on the summit of Shishapangma. It was 10.20 a.m. Beijing time on 2 May 1964 when the first of a total of ten climbers arrived at the highest point at 8,027 meters, reported Hsu.

This was the last of the 14 eight-thousanders to be climbed – 14 years after the first ascent of the first eight-thousander, Annapurna I, by the Frenchmen Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal. Shishapangma – translated as “crest above the grassy plains” – is the lowest eight-thousander and the only one that lies entirely on Chinese-Tibetan soil.

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