Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Himalaya Spring 2018: Summit Schedule Starting to Firm Up on Everest

As we creep ever closer to the middle of May the climbing schedule on Everest is starting to firm up. Weather forecasts call for improving conditions late this week and early next, paving the way for teams to launch their summit bids at long last. It now looks like early next week could be a very busy time on the world's highest peak.

The Himalayan Times is reporting that Chinese double-amputee Xia Boyu has firmed up his summit plans. The 70-year old climber making his fifth attempt on Everest with Imagine Treks will leave Base Camp in the next day or two with the hopes of being amongst the first climbers to top out. He has set his sights on reaching the summit on Sunday, May 13. He won't be alone either, as it seems several other groups have also targeted that date. THT also quotes Sherpa Shepards and Pioneer Adventures as indicating they could summit that same day as well.

In addition to the weather still being a bit difficult, the ropes haven't been fixed above Camp 4 as of yet. Reports indicate that the Sherpa team responsible for handling the installation of the lines will head up from BC to Camp 4 today to wrap up that work. They hope to have the ropes in place by May 11 provided everything goes as expected. That would mean we could see the first summits of the year from the South Side of Everest this coming Friday.

On the Tibetan side of the mountain there are indications that the rope-fixing team may be a few days behind schedule. According to some reports they aren't expected to finishing installing the lines on the North Side of Everest until this coming weekend, possibly at late as Sunday. That would put climbers on that side of the mountain a bit behind their Nepali counterparts, but would still have plenty of time to summit. The good weather window is expected to extend into next week, paving the way for everyone to go up.

Finally, yesterday we shared the news that Matt Moniz and Willie Benegas were being accused of illegally skiing the Lhotse Face without a permit. As Alan Arnette points out, this seems to be a case of Nepal's overly-beauacratic approach to managing the mountain, which includes so many rules that not everyone knows all of the regulations. Matt and Willie apparently were completely unaware of the requirement of a ski permit but are looking to sort the situation out now and pay the fee required after the fact. It appears that they could get this all sorted out in the next day or two and be in position to make their proposed double summit of Everest and Lhotse in the days ahead.

As a side note, Alan also points out that the word "ski" doesn't appear in Nepal's Mountaineering Expedition Rules at all. That should give you an idea of just how convoluted things are there. How are climbers to know they are suppose to get a ski permit if there isn't even a mention of its requirements? Hopefully this is the last we'll hear of this moving forward.

More updates to come later in the week I'm sure. It seems we're on the edge of summit season now.

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