North side of Mount Everest: Only the optimists are still sticking to their plans

Tibetan north side of Mount Everest
Tibetan north side of Mount Everest

This much is already clear: Mount Everest will also be a much lonelier mountain on the Tibetan north side this spring than on the Nepalese south side. While the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism has so far (as of 24 April) issued 388 climbing permits for Everest, the Chinese-Tibetan authorities – as reported – are still stalling the foreign expedition teams. In any case, the number of permits is capped at 300. But there will be nowhere near that many this spring.

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Summit successes of commercial teams on Manaslu

Manaslu in the first dailight
Manaslu (in 2007)

The first summit successes of the eight-thousander fall season are reported from Manaslu. Yesterday, Tuesday, a team of the operator Elite Exped reached the summit. The head of the company, Nepal’s “mountaineering star” Nirmal Purja, sent a video from the “True Summit” at 8,163 meters. In it, “Nims” thanked his “strong team” and announced that he would now travel on to Tibet to guide clients up the eight-thousanders Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

Today, Wednesday, Nepalese operators Seven Summit Treks (SST) and Imagine Nepal also announced summit successes on Manaslu. For this fall, the government in Kathmandu has so far (as of 15 Sept) sold 301 climbing permits to foreign climbers for the eighth-highest mountain on earth. In fall 2022, it had issued 404 Manaslu permits.

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Summit attempt on Annapurna announced

Northwestern view of Annapurna (the main summit on the left)

“Summit Push Time,” writes Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese commercial expedition operator Imagine Nepal, on Instagram. The picture shows him in a helicopter on his way back to the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna I in western Nepal. The Sherpa team, which secures the normal route with fixed ropes for the commercial teams, had already reached Camp 3 at around 6,400 meters some time ago. Then, however, snowfall and the associated high avalanche danger had made a summit attempt impossible. In the next few days, stable, dry weather with little wind is expected, only on the weekend there should be some snow showers again.

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Summit successes reported from the north side of Mount Everest

Everest north side
North side of Mount Everest (in spring 2005)

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.

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Nepal ahead of spring season: Fewer climbers on Mount Everest?

View of Mount Everest (l.) and Lhotse (from Namche)

And again it will probably be a difficult spring season in the mountains of Nepal. In 2020 nothing went at all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, a wave of infections also hit the base camps on Mount Everest and Dhaulagiri – the fact that the Nepalese government has not admitted this to this day is and remains a scandal. And now in spring 2022, the Russian war in Ukraine is causing uncertainty worldwide – certainly also among mountaineers.

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Chinese summit success on Cho Oyu

Tibetan side of Cho Oyu

The first eight-thousander summit success of the fall season is reported from Tibet. Twelve clients and eleven climbers working for the operator Tibet Himalayan Expeditions reached the summit of Cho Oyu today, confirms Mingma Sherpa. The head of the Nepalese operator Climbalaya has good contacts to China. The Chinese expedition team had set off for Cho Oyu on 14 September.

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In their husbands’ Everest footsteps

Furdiki Sherpa (l.) and Nima Doma Sherpa (r.)

Mount Everest took their husbands. And the fathers of their children. Nevertheless, Nima Doma Sherpa and Furdiki Sherpa want to climb the highest mountain on earth this spring. “We are doing our expedition for the respect of our late husbands because they were mountaineers too,” Nima Doma replies to my question about the purpose of their project. “And we want to motivate all the widows.” Everest has left a lot of single mothers behind. According to the mountaineering chronicle “Himalayan Database”, 37 Sherpas have died there in the past 20 years alone. Furdiki’s husband, Mingma Sherpa, belonged to the so-called “Icefall Doctors” who set up and secure the route through the Khumbu Icefall every year. The 44-year-old died in a fall into a crevasse on 7 April 2013. One year later, on 18 April 2014, Nima Doma Sherpa’s husband, Tshering Wangchu Sherpa, was one of the 16 Nepalese victims of the major avalanche accident in the Icefall

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