More DW Blogs DW.COM

Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Everest season “very smoothly”

North side of Everest in the last daylight

North side of Everest in the last daylight

“It was a good season,” Nishma Khadgi writes to me. She is responsible for marketing at Asian Trekking, the leading expedition operator in Nepal. “Things are largely normalized and morale of climbers and sherpas are positive which make us optimistic for the future seasons.” According to the Nepalese Tourism Ministry, this spring 456 climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest from the south side of the mountain, 199 were climbers from abroad. The official figures from the north side are still not available.

Nepalese Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and Swiss Kari Kobler are two other expedition leaders who have responded to my request to tell me their personal record of this spring’s Everest season. Mingma was on the south side, Kari on the north side. Both are now staying in Pakistan, where they lead expeditions to K 2, the second highest mountain on Earth. And they have another thing in common: Both expedition leaders scaled themselves Mount Everest in May.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: “No traffic jams”

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is the head of Dreamers Destination, an operator for expedition and trekking, based in Kathmandu. The 30-year-old has climbed seven eight-thousanders and made headlines with his solo ascent in the West Face of the 6685-meter-high Chobutse in fall 2015. This is his record of Everest spring season:

“This year Everest was great. I made my 5th time on summit, and I think this year was the easiest summit. It snowed a lot in the beginning that covered all the rock and ice. The most popular rock spots like the Yellow band, Rock Band, Juniper Spur, Triangular Face and Lhotse face were covered by snow which made it very easy to walk and climb.

The Sherpa team fixed the rope at an early date. Previously more summit bids used to be after 15 May, but this year many teams summited before that date. That decreased the traffic jam. In addition, there was no giant rock on Hillary Step as it was covered by snow. So it was comparatively easier and there was no jam at all.

As the government of Nepal extended the permits of 2015 for 2016 and 2017, it didn’t affect the number of climbers on 8000m mountains. I had a team of eight members, four on Everest and four on Lhotse, with 1:1 respective Sherpa. Obviously it was not good luck on Lhotse with no summit at all. Three of my clients made successful Everest summit on 20 May, and there were very few people on that day. The teams chose different summit dates starting from 13 to 22 May. Thanks to fixing the route early, this ran very smoothly.” 

Kobler: “All on the same day, horror!”

Kari Kobler (l.) with his team

Kari Kobler (l.) with his team

Kari Kobler stood on top of Mount Everest for the sixth time. Along with the 61-year-old head of the expedition operator Kobler & Partner, six of his Sherpas and two clients reached the highest point on 8850 meters, including German Stefan Sieveking (born 1946), “presumably the oldest German on the summit of Mount Everest”, as Kari writes. The Swiss has encouraged me to help myself with a cutout of his summary at the K&P website. Here it is:

“After the installation of the fixed ropes from 10 until 13 May had not worked, Sumdjock (of the Tibet Himalaya Expedition Company that employed the rope-fixing team), suddenly informed everyone, that the weather on 19 May would be perfect for going to the summit. Suddenly the mood became very hectic in the Base Camp and ABC (Advanced Base Camp)! The Chinese, Russians, Japanese and Indians all wanted to summit on the same day; the horror, the horror! Several cases of frostbite, snow blindness and other minor ailments resulted from reckless behavior. However, this year there have not been any serious injuries and no casualties on the north side of Mount Everest!

We held off on our summit push. It was not an easy decision. Yet, experience taught me, that sometimes being a little patient is the best thing to do. The waiting was worth it, because 23 May was the best summit on Everest in 2016. The ascent was just perfect. It had snowed the previous night, which meant that the rock ledges, which have to be traversed and which are somewhat difficult, were perfectly covered in snow. I had the privilege to make a new trail to the summit which of course made me very happy. On the summit I stood alone with Pemba and so I could truly enjoy the simply astounding view.”



21. June 2016 | 11:59