Now this spring season’s summit ban on the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest has been broken. According to the Nepalese expedition operator “Climbalaya”, the Chinese-Tibetan rope-fixing team reached the highest point at 8,850 meters at 11.25 a.m. local time. It’s only a matter of time before the first commercial teams follow to the summit.
On the south side of Nepal the second summit wave is in full swing. Also today there were again many reports about successful ascents (with bottled oxygen). Due to the high number of summit aspirants, there are said to have been long traffic jams at the key points above the South Col. According to a government liaison officer at the base camp, climbers reported waiting times of more than two hours at the 8,749-meter-high South Summit.
Mirza Ali completes the Seven Summits
Among those who reached the main summit this morning was Mirza Ali. The 35-year-old head of the operator “Karakorum Expeditions”, filmmaker and photographer thus became the first Pakistani male climber to complete the “Seven Summits”, the highest mountains of all continents. His sister Samina Baig was the first Pakistani woman to scale Everest in 2013. A year later she completed as first Pakistani citizen her Seven Summits collection.
Tima’s message to the Arab women
Fatima, called “Tima” Deryan, also stood on the roof of the world today. The 26-year-old Lebanese, who lives as an entrepreneur in Dubai, has now scaled six of the Seven Summits. As Tima wrote me before her departure for Nepal, she wanted to send a message to the Arab women by climbing Everest: “Through my Everest climb I would like to demonstrate that an Arab woman is able to fight all sorts of limitations that society imposes upon her. She can earn her freedom only by action.”
Surveyors at the summit
Among those who reached the highest point on earth today were also two surveyors who were commissioned by the Nepalese government to determine the exact height of Mount Everest. After the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, scientists had hypothesized that the summit could now be a few centimeters higher or lower due to the ground shifts. The government in Kathmandu had then announced its intention to remeasure the mountain. In the Himalayan state, the altitude of Everest is still given as 8,848 meters. US scientists determined with GPS data an altitude of 8,850 meters in 1999, Chinese surveyors ascertained a height of 8,844 meters in 2005.
Update 7 p.m.: There has been another death on Everest. A 55-year-old mountaineer from the USA died while descending from the summit, near the former Hillary Step at 8,790 meters – apparently of high altitude sickness. R.I.P.