Actually the first summit success on Mount Everest in 2020 was scheduled for this Sunday. Until then, the rope fixing team of the Chinese expedition on the north side of the mountain wanted to have worked their way up to the highest point at 8,850 meters. But due to snowfall, the Tibetan climbers returned to the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 6,500 meters, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa informs me, adding that the next good weather window is to be used for the summit push.
The head of the Nepalese expedition operator Imagine Nepal has close ties to members of the Chinese team. Already at the beginning of the week the route had been secured up to 8,300 meters, Mingma writes to me. Meanwhile, the clients of the Chinese operator Yarla Shampo Expeditions have descended to the base camp at 5,300 meters to rest there. The Chinese-Tibetan authorities had closed Everest to foreign mountaineers because of the corona pandemic, but allowed a Chinese expedition of 21 members to climb the highest mountain on earth. The Nepalese government did not issue any permits for the Everest south side this spring due to the corona crisis.
High-speed Internet even on the summit
Meanwhile, the only Everest expedition is turning into a big Chinese show act. The Chinese telecommunication companies China Mobile and Huawei made sure that the climbers can easily send live videos in high quality from the summit. Technicians installed base stations for the super-fast 5G standard at the Chinese Base Camp (CBC) at 5,300 meters, the so-called Intermediate Camp at 5,800 meters and at the ABC at 6,500 meters. According to the companies, data can now be downloaded at the CBC at a speed of 1.66 GB per second. This is more than five times faster than the LTE standard commonly used in German cities. The G5 base stations are to be removed after spring.
8848, 8850, 8844 …
“It comes on the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest from the northern slope and the 45th anniversary of China’s first official accurate measurement of Mount Everest,“ China Mobile’s press release said. The 5G network will also be used to re-measure the mountain. According to the Xinhua state news agency, a 53-member survey team is working to determine the exact height of Mount Everest. In 1975, Chinese experts had confirmed the altitude of 8,848 meters, which is also officially recognized in Nepal. In 2005, Chinese surveyors found out a height of 8,844 meters. In between was a measurement by US scientists, who determined an altitude of 8,850 meters by GPS evaluation in 1999.