The first summit successes of the spring season on the highest mountain on earth have apparently the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest. Mingma Sherpa, head of the commercial Nepalese expedition operator Climbalaya with good connections to China, reports that last Friday a team from the Chinese operator Yarla Shampo Expeditions fixed the ropes to the summit at 8,849 meters.
On Saturday, a commercial team of 20 Tibetan climbers and eleven paying clients ascended to the summit (almost certainly with bottled oxygen, if it were not, it would have been announced). Another team is aiming for tomorrow (Wednesday, May 4) as summit day, Mingma informed.
Weather station at the summit?
This is apparently the team that the Chinese state media have so far been reporting on exclusively. According to the broadcaster CGTN, 13 climbers are to bring a weather station to the roof of the world – as well as a radar device to determine how thick the layer of ice and snow is at the summit of Mount Everest.
As in the previous two years, the north side of the mountain is closed to foreign climbers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Update 4 May: According to Chinese state media, the second Chinese mountaineering team reached the summit of Everest today and set up a weather station – apparently slightly below the highest point. One of the 13 climbers who had set out for the summit push had to turn back because of frostbite, it said.