Spring 2015 | Unusual Snow at Everest South BC, Fixing Begins on Both sides

Despite all the rumors circulating in mainstream media since last year, Spring 2015 climbing season on Everest isn’t any different from preceding years. Climbers count, north-to-south climbers’ ratio, Sherpa support, number of no O2 attempts and climbing routes - nothing has changed significantly. Support teams have mounted the tents. Climbers are gradually reaching BCs. Rope fixing teams have already started working on the route.

Permits Count
After last year’s catastrophic avalanche and the politics afterwards, it was supposed that the incident may severely hit the climbing activities in Khumbu region. However, the theories didn't prove to be correct as climbers count on South side of mountain remains unchanged (or perhaps it increased somewhat).

Blogger and climber Alan Arnette wrote from Gorak Shep enroute to EBC a couple of days ago, “as for numbers, it appears last year’s tragedy has had little impact on Everest’s popularity from the south, the Nepal side.” He further updated from BC today, “about 375 Everest 2015 permits issued thus far, with 125 from 2014. 96 issued for Lhotse.” The figure does not include Sherpa count.

Expedition Leader Kari Kobler shared the figures about North side of the mountain, “Around 200 climbers and 150 Sherpa are expected to be traveling to Tibetan side.”

Everest South side BC under snow on April 13th. Source

Towards Base Camps
Several teams have reached Nepal side BC of Everest and are getting ready to start acclimatization process. However, heavy snow in past few days hasn’t let anyone go into ice fall. “Snow all night and today we woke to at least 30cm of snow. Base camp is very quiet, mainly Sherpas setting up camps ahead of teams arriving,” Jagged Globe reported from BC.

Majority of North side climbers have also crossed Nepal-Tibet border and are on the way to Everest BC. They’re spending some time in Nyalam and Tingri for acclimatization purpose. Teo Vlad updated from Nyalam yesterday, “"It snowed a lot overnight and in the first part of the day. Now it’s raining.”

Sherpa from multiple teams have already reached North side BC.

Route Fixing
Route though Icefall has been shifted towards Nuptse to avoid seracs from West Shoulder. These images from Madison Mountaineering show the change in path. As per information from South side EBC, rope fixing Sherpa have reached C2. “To date, April 14th local time, no commercial teams have climbed through Icefall. In addition to the Icefall Doctors, reportedly David Breashears, who is helping with the route placement, has climbed to Camp 2,” Alan wrote from BC today.

On Tibetan side, route has been fixed till North Col.

Right line is this year's path through Icefall to C1. Source

Closer look at Icefall route; Source

Climbing Without O2
In an earlier post, we listed interesting Everest climbs of the season. Meanwhile, news about few other climbers attempting Everest without O2 has reached us.

Romanian Justin Ionescu will be climbing Everest without bottled oxygen. He is expected to arrive at BC tomorrow.

German Thomas Laemmle is currently leading Amical Alpin expedition to Cho Oyu (They reached Chinese BC, today). Later in the season, he will attempt Everest from North side without oxygen and Sherpa support.

14x8000er for Azim Gheichisaz?
Iranian Azim Gheichisaz flew to Nepal on April 9th. He will be attempting Lhotse followed by Everest - both without bottled O2. He has previously climbed Everest with supplemental oxygen. Had there been no disputes about 36 summits on Annapurna in 2012 [September 29, 2012], Azim would have completed 14x8000ers with Lhotse ascent.

Here is a comment from historian Bob A. Schelfhout Aubertijn about the 2012 summits. “For weeks on end there has been a discussion going on about the 36 summit claims of September 29, 2012. As the absolute highest point on Manaslu only has space enough to put both of your feet on top, a compromise has been reached by also allowing claims when the last rocky outcrop has been reached, just below the summit. Many of these claims of September 29 have stated that the highest point couldn't be reached, but there have been at least three Austrian national who did manage to step on the top.”

He further adds, “This would mean that one could list these other summit claims as disputed at max, because specifically in the case of an 8000er collector any summit claim must be absolutely verifiable and beyond any doubt whatsoever."

Mr. Eberhard Jurgalski of 8000ers.com lists Azim’s Manaslu summit claim as “not recognized”.

File photo of Iranian climber Azim Gheichisaz. Source
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