Update 3/22/2008 America: On the North side of
Everest (Tibet): Most have canceled now including himex (Russell
Brice)... While some hold on to hope of early Chinese summits, the fat
lady is singing....
At this point there might not be ANY foreign
expeditions to Tibet....
Earlier update (South):Q&A with Sarad Pradhan Nepal Tourism Board with
questions from the staff at EverestNews.com 3/19/2008
Dear Sarad Pradhan, Please
reply to these questions as soon as possible, so people can understand where
All questions apply to
Everest climbing In Nepal (not Tibet)
1.) Can climbers summit Mt Everest before May 1st? if not why not?
Climbers can summit Mt. Everest before May 1st. But the concern of Chinese
authority is that there should not be any climber on the top during the
expedition of Olympic torch. Climbing Everest is not like a marathon, and you
need the support of all kinds of people like Sherpas, high-altitude porters,
Sardar etc. to climb it successfully.
Can climbers climb above base camp between May 1 and May 10th?
Various associations related with tourism in Nepal including Nepal
Mountaineering Association have submitted an appeal to the government saying
that they would not allow any expedition to go beyond 3rd camp during this
period and would not allow any anti-Chinese in the Everest region.
If climbers cannot climb above Base camp between May 1 and May 10th, then why
I think I have given answer above.
Can climbers summit for sure on May 11th, or is another delay possible if the
Chinese do not summit before May 10th?
I cannot predict it. Assumption doesn't work in this kind of issue.
What happens if the Chinese do not summit until late, like May 23rd? Which is
what happened a couple of years ago. Then what?
It's difficult for me to answer on 'Ifs' because it all depends on the
situation. I cannot make assumption.
6.) Will Chinese climbers or
the torch be on the Nepal side of the Mountain at all?
Top of Everest is shared both by Nepal and China. As far as I know they climb
from North and descend from the North itself.
At least one company attempted to obtain a permit yesterday from Nepal and was
told that the people were out of town. When will Nepal permits again?
The government will issue the permission once the technical problem is solved.
Are there multiple people who can issue permits or only one man?
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation issue the permission, not
by individual. There is certain formality to complete for it.
Are trekkers allowed to go to Base camp between now and May 1st?
Trekkers are allowed to go to Base camp any time. But they have to obtain TIMS
certificate from Nepal Tourism Board or Trekking Agents Association of Nepal
before embarking the trek. TIMS is distributed free of cost and it's for
keeping record of trekkers.
10.) Will there be a limit from Nepal on the number of permits issued?
As far as I know there is no policy right now existed to limit the climbing.
11.) Is Nepal concerned that by the climbers not being able to climb between
May 1 and May 10th, that the climb could be more dangerous that normal?
Answer was given.]
12.) Do you see ANY possibility that climbers will be able not to climb after
As I said earlier, it all depends on the development of situation at that
moment. It's difficult for me to predict on this issue right now.
Nepal Tourism Board 3/19/2008
Everest from the South Side
Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350
This is a
picture of the popular South Col Route up Mt. Everest. Base camp is located
at 17,500 feet. This is where climbers begin their true trip up the
mountain. This is also where support staff often remain to monitor the
expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary. Many organizations
offer hiking trips which just go to base camp as the trip is not technically
challenging (though you must be very fit).
camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to
the decreased oxygen in the air) by traveling and bringing supplies back and
forth through the often treacherous Khumbu Icefall. This training and
recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final summit push often
being the only time to climbers do not go back and forth between camps to
train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push.
is in constant motion. It contains enormous ice seracs, often larger than
houses, which dangle precariously over the climbers heads, threatening to fall
at any moment without warning, as the climbers cross endless crevasses and
listen to continuous ice creaking below. This often acts as a testing ground
to judge if less experienced climbers will be capable of continuing. The
Icefall is located between 17,500 and 19,500 feet.
Camp I -
Icefall, the climbers arrive at Camp I, which is located at 19,500 feet.
Depending on the type of expedition, Camp I will either be stocked by the
climbers as they ascend and descend the Icefall, or by Sherpas in advance.
between Camp I and Camp II is known as the Western Cwm. As the climbers reach
Camp II at 21,000 feet, they may be temporarily out of sight of their support
at Base camp. Nonetheless, modern communication devises permit the parties to
stay in contact.
Camp II -
climbers leave Camp II, they travel towards the Lhotse face (Lhotse is a
27,920 foot mountain bordering Everest). The Lhotse face is a steep, shiny
icy wall. Though not technically extremely difficult, one misstep or slip
could mean a climber's life. Indeed, many climbers have lost their lives
through such mishaps.
Camp III -
23,700 feet (7200 meters)
To reach Camp
III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Climbing a sheer wall of ice
demands skill, strength and stamina. It is so steep and treacherous that many
Sherpas move directly from Camp II to Camp IV on the South Col, refusing to
stay on the Lhotse Face.
Camp IV -
26,300 feet (8000 meters)
As youíre leaving C4Öitís a
little bit of a down slope, with the uphill side to the left. There are
typically snow on the ledges to walk down on, interspersed with rock, along
with some fixed rope. The problem with the rope is that the anchors are bad,
and thereís not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately
itís not too steep, but there is a ton of exposure and people are usually
tired when walking down from camp. The rock is a little down sloping to the
right as well, and with crampons on, it can be bit tricky with any kind of
wind. Thereís a little short slope on reliable snow which leads to the top of
the Geneva Spur, and the wind pressure gradient across the spur can increase
there as youíre getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can
create some footing issues during the rappel, because itís impossible to see
over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to
leave Camp 4 without gas, as itís easier to keep moving down the Spur when
itís important to see all the small rock steps and where the old feet are
going. Navigating down through all of the spaghetti of fixed ropes is a bit of
a challenge, especially with mush for brains at that point. One lands on some
lower ledges which arenít so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid.
At this point, itís just a matter of staying upright, and usually, the wind
has died significantly after dropping off the Spur. The route turns hard to
the left onto the snowfield that leads to the top of the Yellow Bands.
which is at 26,300 on the Lhotse face, is typically the climbers' first
overnight stay in the Death Zone. The Death Zone is above 26,000 feet.
Though there is nothing magical about that altitude, it is at this altitude
that most human bodies lose all ability to acclimate. Accordingly, the body
slowly begins to deteriorate and die - thus, the name "Death Zone." The
longer a climber stays at this altitude, the more likely illness (HACE - high
altitude cerebral edema - or HAPE - high altitude pulmonary edema) or death
will occur. Most climbers will use oxygen to climb and sleep at this altitude
and above. Generally, Sherpas refuse to sleep on the Lhotse face and will
travel to either Camp II or Camp IV.
Camp IV is
located at 26,300 feet. This is the final major camp for the summit push. It
is at this point that the climbers make their final preparations. It is also
a haven for worn-out climbers on their exhausting descent from summit attempts
(both successful and not). Sherpas or other climbers will often wait here
with supplies and hot tea for returning climbers.
From Camp IV,
climbers will push through the Balcony, at 27,500 feet, to the Hillary Step at
28,800 feet. The Hillary Step, an over 70 foot rock step, is named after Sir.
Edmond Hillary, who in 1953, along with Tenzing Norgay, became the first
people to summit Everest. The Hillary Step, which is climbed with fixed
ropes, often becomes a bottleneck as only one climber can climb at a time.
Though the Hillary Step would not be difficult at sea level for experienced
climbers, at Everest's altitude, it is considered the most technically
challenging aspect of the climb.
29,028 feet (8848 meters)
climbers ascend the Hillary Step, they slowly and laboriously proceed to the
summit at 29,028 feet. The summit sits at the top of the world. Though not
the closest place to the sun due to the earth's curve, it is the highest peak
on earth. Due to the decreased air pressure, the summit contains less than
one third the oxygen as at sea level. If dropped off on the summit directly
from sea level (impossible in reality), a person would die within minutes.
Typically, climbers achieving the great summit will take pictures, gain their
composure, briefly enjoy the view, then return to Camp IV as quickly as
possible. The risk of staying at the summit and the exhaustion from
achieving the summit is too great to permit climbers to fully enjoy the great
accomplishment at that moment.
readers of this page know, the return trip can be even more dangerous than the
climb to the summit.
Pictures from Enrique
Guallart-Furio web site http://ww2.encis.es/avent/
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