For almost nine years the summit of Mount Everest was deserted in fall. That could change now. The Kathmandu-based newspaper „The Himalayan Times“ reports that ten climbers have received permits for the world’s highest mountain for the upcoming season. Among them are Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel and his older brother Grzegorz.
“It gets complicated”
Andrzej had made history in summer 2018 when he succeeded in making the first complete ski descent from K2, the second highest mountain on earth. During the ascent to the 8,611-meter-high summit in Pakistan, Bargiel had climbed without bottled oxygen. The 31-year-old is now planning the same for the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest. In 2011, the Slovene Davo Karnicar was the first person to ski down from the highest point to the base camp without removing his skis. Davo, however, had used supplemental oxygen during the ascent.
“I think it will get very complicated,” said Bargiel before the expedition. He expects a lot of snow on the route. In addition, it would be cooler, windier and there were fewer weather windows than in spring, said Andrzej adding that compared to K2, Everest would be “definitely a challenge”: “It is almost 250 meters higher, and the summit is almost 9000 meters above sea level.”
Twice on Everest w/o O2 in one week
The list of the Everest candidates this fall also includes the Spaniard Kilian Jornet, who is specialized in speed ascents. But beforehand, the 31-year-old wants to climb the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse, reports the “Himalayan Times”.
In spring 2017, Jornet scaled Everest twice in a hurry over the Tibetan north side, both times without bottled oxygen, within seven days. The first time it took him only 26 hours from the Chinese Base Camp to the summit, the second time 17 hours.
The last summit success in the post-monsoon season to date was celebrated by the American Eric Larsen when he reached the highest point at 8,850 meters with the Sherpas Chhering Dorje, Pasang Dawa, Dawa Gyalzen, Pasang Temba and Nima Dorje in October 2010. Larsen thus completed his collection of the “three poles”: Within nine months and 13 days he reached the South Pole, the North Pole (both with skis) and the summit of Mount Everest.
Last two years without fall expeditions on Everest
After that there were only a few Everest expeditions in fall, the last two in 2016, at that time on the Tibetan north side of the mountain: Jornet turned around at 8,000 meters on the Northeast Ridge due to great avalanche danger, Nobukazu Kuriki in the North Face at 7,400 meters. The Japanese, who tried Everest six times in fall, died in spring 2018 after entering solo the Southwest Face.
According to the chronicle “Himalayan Database”, most of the 287 successful Everest climbs during the fall season so far took place in the three decades before the turn of the millennium (251 ascents). On 26 October 1973, the two Japanese Hisashi Ishisaro and Yasuo Kato stood for the first time in the post-monsoon on the highest summit on earth. The first of 31 Everest ascents without bottled oxygen in fall seasons to date was made by the German climber Hans Engl in 1978.