Thursday, May 12, 2016
Himalaya Spring 2016: More Summits on Everest, Commercial Teams Lining Up
Hot on the heels of the Sherpa team reaching the summit yesterday, we have news of the first successful summits by foreign climbers in 2016. British climber Kenton Cool and teammate Robert Lucas reached the top of Everest this morning at 8:15 AM local time. They were joined by two Sherpas who helped with the ascent. For Cool, this is his 12th summit of the mountain, the most by any British climber in history.
It didn't take long for the next climbers to reach the summit either. Mexican alpinist David Liano Gonzalez along with his guide Pasang Rita Sherpa, topped out at 8:28 AM as well. Clearly some of the more experienced climbers on the mountain are making a move to touch the summit before the crowds start forming.
Speaking of which, several commercial teams are also on the move with the hope of making a summit push too. According to Alan Arnette, Himex, Jagged Globe, Madison Mountaineering, and others are hoping to take advantage of what could be a narrow weather window. Alan says it could be as short as 18 hours, which is risky, but doable provided that the teams are quick and adhere to there schedule. Traffic jams could be an issue in that case, but the teams are ready to take advantage of any opportunity they get. It now looks like May 14 and 15 could be a busy time on the mountain before a brief break, followed by a second wave of climbers.
Alan also reports that there have been two significant incidences in the Khumbu Icefall over the past 24 hours that have halted climbing operations. There have been several collapses in that crucial part of the route which have taken down ropes and ladders, forcing the Ice Doctors to work hard to repair the damage. Instability has been an issue in the icefall all season long, and it looks like that will continue to be the case right up until the end.
Stay tuned. It's obviously a very busy time right now and we'll be watching the outcome closely.