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with Stefan Nestler

Many question marks before spring season on Everest

South side of Everest

South side of Everest

The same procedure on Everest as every year? Probably not, but a reliable forecast is difficult. “There seem to be less people on expeditions and also less people trekking in Nepal”, the New Zealander Russell Brice replies to my question which influence the avalanche disaster on Good Friday 2014 and the subsequent end of all great expeditions on Everest south side will have on this year’s spring season on the highest mountain in the world. “It seems that more people want to go to North side, and less people to South side”, says the head of the expedition operator Himalayan Experience. However, Brice withdrew his tendered Everest expedition in Tibet and decided to just operate on the south side this year.

Less climbers on the south side?

SummitClimb offers an expedition to the north and one to the south side of the mountain. “It seems in 2015 more of our SummitClimb members are interested in climbing the Tibet side of Everest than the Nepal side of Everest”, the US-British climber Dan Mazur, who founded SummitClimb in 1987 and has led many Everest expeditions since then, writes to me. “The result of which might be that this could be better for those people who choose to go to the Nepal side, because it might be less crowded than in previous years.” There were “more people expressing interest in our 2015 Post Monsoon Autumn Everest Expedition”, says Dan.

A little bit of uncertainty

“Would I have more clients if the 2014 incident hadn’t happened? I’m not sure”, says Tim Mosedale. The British climber will lead an Everest expedition in Nepal this spring: “Certainly there’s a little bit of uncertainty and people are looking for extra reassurances.” Simone Lowe, head of the British expedition operator Jagged Globe, is “not seeing any appreciable difference. Of course, people may be anxious but more so, that there will not be another tragedy, anywhere on the mountain.”

The price decides

North side of Mount Everest

The Tibetan side

Dominik Mueller, head of the German operator Amical alpin, will lead an expedition on the Tibetan side during the upcoming season. “We don’t have less or more requests for Everest than in the previous years”, says Dominik. “Certainly some clients were considering to switch to the north side – but I think regardless of the events in 2014. At the end of the day, the conditions on the mountain play the key role.” He expects that it will take a few years to identify a real trend. Ultimately, the price will decide, says Dominik: “If China continues its policy of demanding more and more money, some operators may consider to switch back to the south side again. And those operating in Nepal may decide to stay there instead of switching to the north side.” The DAV Summit Club informed me that it  cancelled its scheduled Everest spring expedition in Tibet due to a lack of participants.

“Fickle posturing”

The US operator Peak Freaks hit the brakes for other reason and called off its scheduled expedition in Nepal. Among other things Peak Freaks refers to “the local government’s fickle posturing and vague statements regarding possible rule changes for mountaineering permits”. An untenable situation, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineeering Association (NMA), also considers: “With less than 90 days remaining to start climbing, it’s the government’s responsibility to clear the confusion at the earliest.”


9. January 2015 | 15:52