Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Climbers near Everest summit for first time in three years


Bold climbers on Mount Everest are making the first attempts in three years to reach the final ascent after fatal avalanches cut short the 2014 and 2015 campaigns

The first group from at least 289 climbers and their guides could reach the 29,035-foot summit by Thursday, outlets report. Avalanches killed 34 climbers and guides in 2014 and 2015.

They may summit Everest this Thursday, but I can't even get into the mountains by my house yet because of weather. The Wind River Range is no joke, this place can be harsh. But it is beautiful no matter what.

Brian Freeman from Everest BaseCamp wrotes

Today the Roll of Honour and I returned to Base Camp from high on the mountain; we are happy to report all acclimatisation rotations are now complete and, the next time we step into the Khumbu Icefall is for our summit attempt.

Apart from the long timeframes required to acclimatise on Mount Everest, there are numerous other issues affecting climbers and summit attempts. Firstly, individual health; many climbers have already retired with respiratory infections or worse; emergency helicopter rescues at Camp 1 or 2 with fluid in the lungs are not uncommon. Further, environmental factors play a critical planning consideration for individual climbers and teams. You need to await suitable weather conditions on the summit that will allow you and others to ascend. Everest is accustomed to having the 'jet stream' flow across its summit with winds in excess of 200kph. 

Occasionally, and generally always in May, the jet stream will move slightly north or south allowing summit access. Finally, of course rope fixing to the summit by Sherpas also needs to have been completed.

Tomorrow I descend to the Khumbu Valley for three nights to freshen up, hopefully lose this nagging chest infection and cough (comes with the turf) before returning to Base Camp on the 14th in readiness for a summit attempt.

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