End of the season on Everest? Two women say: No!
Is there still some climbing possible on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest? The “Himalayan Times” reported that the Chinese female climber Wang Jing was with seven Sherpas on the way to base camp. The 40-year-old wanted to climb the highest mountain on earth. Wang was already once on the summit of Everest, on 22 May 2010, becoming the first Chinese woman who climbed the mountain from the south side. In her home country she is a star. Wang has written a book about her mountaineering and is leading an outdoor outfitter in Beijing. Everest is part of her “Project 7+2”. She wants to scale the “Seven Summits”, the highest peaks of all continents, in record time and in addition reach the North and the South Pole.
She has already four of the “Seven Summits”
Since 2011, this record is held by the former Welsh rugby player and adventurer Richard David Parks who completed his project in six months and eleven days. So Wang Jing has not much time. Earlier this year she was at the South Pole and reached the summits of Mount Vinson (Antarctica), Aconcagua (South America), Mount Kosciusko (Australia) , the Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania) and Mount Elbrus (Europe). A spokesman of the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism reiterated that Mount Everest and Lhotse were not officially closed, even if all the big operators had canceled their expeditions after the avalanche disaster on Good Friday.
By helicopter to Camp 2
These words are grist to the mill of Cleo Weidlich. The 51-year-old, who was born in Brazil and lives in the USA, wants to climb Lhotse. In her words, it would be her ninth 8000er (some of her climbs are disputed), she scaled Everest in 2010. A year later, she made headlines worldwide when she had to be rescued because she had got snow-blind and hurt during the descent from Kangchenjunga.
According to the Himalayan Times, Weidlich was flown by helicopter from the village of Gorak Shep at 5200 meters to Camp 2 at 6500 meters. So far, only rescue flights on Everest were allowed. But after the avalanche the government had been clement and had allowed the expedition teams to bring down their material from the Camps above the Khumbu Icefall by helicopter. Supposedly, Wang Jing was meanwhile also flown to Camp 2. The normal routes to Lhotse and Everest are identical up to an altitude of about 7500 meters.
In the past week Cleo Weidlich had complained several times vehemently about the “Icefall doctors” via Facebook. She accused them of sabotaging her and described them as “Everest mafia”. Not just a sign of tact. “Anyone who climbs Everest in this 2014 Spring season is not a climber, is a beast of ego and arrogant”, writes Dawa Steven Sherpa, leader of the “Eco Everest Expeditions”. “How can you fit in the brotherhood of climber’s community if you don’t respect those who perished in order to take you on top of the mountain?”
P.S. It remains to be seen whether ascents of Everest and Lhotse from Camp 2 can count as full summit successes. A case for Elizabeth Hawley, the 90-year-old legendary Himalayan chronicler in Kathmandu.
Update 12 May: The New Zealand expedition organizer Russell Brice reports that he has contacted the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism to make clear that he has nothing to do with Wang Jing’s flight to Camp 2. The Chinese originally ran on the permit of his “Himalayan Experience” expedition. Also Murari Sharma of “Summit Climb”, who had got the permit for Cleo Weidlich, is reported to be annoyed. The organizers fear that the Everest permits of their other clients could expire or that they could face other sanctions because Wang and Weidlich have defied the announced end of the expeditions.
Date11. May 2014 | 1:42