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.

Both want to attempt Everest with small teams via the Northeast Ridge and are on their way there. The same applies to the US opereator Alpenglow Expeditions. “Our team of 7 Everest climbers, 7 North Col climbers, 8 guides, 14 Sherpa, 1 Base Camp Manager, and over 900 pounds of gear have made it to China and are en route to Everest Base Camp on the North Side at 17,000’/5,200m,” writes expedition leader Adrian Ballinger on Instagram.

Rope-fixing team on the summit of Lhotse

On the south side of Mount Everest in Nepal, the rope-fixing team is also expected to reach the summit this week; so far, the route has been secured up to the South Col at just below 8,000 meters. The Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks (SST) is responsible for this. Yesterday, Monday, SST announced that a seven-man team led by Dendi Sherpa had fixed the ropes up to the summit of the neighboring Lhotse at 8,516 meters.

Eight-thousander collectors successful on Makalu

The first eight-thousander summit success of this spring was recorded by the SST rope-fixing team on the 8,485-meter-high Makalu on 11 April. In the past few days, the first clients of commercial teams and their Sherpa companions have also reached the summit of the fifth highest mountain on earth. Among them were some eight-thousander collectors such as the 18-year-old Nepalese Nima Rinji Sherpa (eight-thousander No. 12), the Pakistani Naila Kiani (No. 11), the Iranian Afsaneh Hesamifard (No. 10) and the Macedonian Sashko Kedev (No. 10). All were climbing with bottled oxygen.

Without a breathing mask, with Sherpa support, Australian Allie Pepper scaled Makalu. For the 48-year-old, it was the fourth eight-thousander without bottled oxygen after Broad Peak (in summer 2023), Manaslu (in fall 2023) and Annapurna I this spring. It was the “hardest summit of my life”, Allie announced on Instagram. “So epic, so exhausted, so exposed.” The Peruvian Flor Cuenca, who lives in Germany, also scaled Makalu without bottled oxygen.

Update 8 May: The first fatality of the season is reported from Makalu. The 53-year-old Lhakpa Tenji Sherpa died on the descent. More on this in the coming days

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