Monday, December 18, 2017

Crunching the Numbers on Everest Expeditions Over the Years

Last week I posted a story about Alan Arnette's recent look at the cost of climbing Everest in 2018. This week, he's back to delve deeper into the numbers behind all of the expeditions that visit the world's highest peak, and take a peek ahead at what we can expect in the spring of 2018, when more people than ever will be heading to the Himalaya.

As you probably recall, the Himalayan Database is the main authority on who has and hasn't climbed Everest and the other big mountains in Nepal and Tibet. Recently, the database was updated to include all the summits from 2017 and was released online for free. Over the past couple of weeks, Alan has been pouring over the numbers to search for any interesting tidbits of information, with some fascinating things being revealed.

According to the database, 4833 people have summited Everest a grand total of 8306 times to date. Most of those (5280) came from the Nepali side, with an additionally 3026 reaching the summit on the North Side in Tibet. 2017 was a highly successful year on the Big Hill, with 648 total summits. Thats the second most in a season ever, behind only 2013 which saw 658 summits. The success rate this year was 61%, meaning that 6 out of 10 people who made it to Base Camp actually reached the top. The break down was 446 from the south and 202 from the north, with 11 people summiting without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Sadly, six people are confirmed to have died, five on the Nepali side and one in Tibet. That brings the total number of deaths on Everest to 288 total. Of those, 181 occurred on the South Side, with 107 coming from the North. But the news is encouraging as the death rate for both sides of Everest is declining. It also stands at 1.27% from the South Side and 1.15% from the North, which are actually incredibly small numbers compared to other big peaks like Kangchenjunga, Annapurna, and K2.


There is lots of other interesting trends and statistics to look at as well, and Alan does a good job of coming through them. For instance, he's found that the number of climbers heading to Tibet to take on Everest is on the upswing, while in Nepal it has actually declined slightly. The number of climbers attempting the mountain without bottled oxygen is also on the upswing, and they are also more successful in those pursuits. There has also been a dramatic uptick in the number of Sherpa summits over the past 15 years as well, with more local Nepali guides climbing the mountain.

Other interesting facts gleaned from the article is that the Himalayan Database recognized just 1 true solo ascent (presumably by Reinhold Messner), 34 traverses of the mountain, 22 descents by ski or snowboard, and another 13 by paraglider. There are also 20 20 disputed ascents (the database says they didn't make it, the climbers say they did!) and 14 "unrecognized ascents," although I'm not sure exactly what falls into that category.

To read Alan's full analysis of these numbers and get further insights, click here.

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