The Everest climbing season of spring 2017 has completed, feedings stories regarding new records, successes, deaths, and controversies to media outlets across the world. Everest always hogs the limelight, and this season was no exception to it.
The Department of Tourism had permitted 375 climbers of 42 expedition teams to climb Mt Everest from the Nepali side this season. With guides and supporting Sherpas counted, around 800 were eligible to climb Everest this season. Of then, 449, including 259 Nepali guides and climbers, could reach the summit of the highest mountain on earth. Kami Rita Sherpa became the third man to climb Mt Everest for a record 21 times on May 27. He shares the record of maximum Everest summit with compatriots Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa. So far, more than 5,300 climbers had reached the summit of Mt Everest since Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first conquered the world’s tallest mountain (8,848 meters) on May 29, 1953.
But Everest is not about success only. Five climbers perished on Everest this season. Octogenarian Nepali climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, 86, died at the base camp while he was preparing for his summit. He was hoping to be the oldest man on the summit of Everest, shattering record held by Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura. The death of renowned Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck shocked many. He fell off and died while acclimatizing for an attempt of the Hornbein route on the West Ridge of Everest without supplemental oxygen. American doctor Roland Yearwood, Slovak climber Vladimir Strba and an Indian climber Ravi Kumar also lost their lives in the slopes of Mt Everest this season.
South African mountaineer Ryan Sean Davy was also in media this spring as he was caught while attempting to climb Everest without getting a permit from the government. He had not paid the permit fee of US$ 11,000. Daby has been handed 10-year climbing ban in Nepal. The penalty of $22,000 levied on him as been waived off after he said that he cannot pay. Similarly, Polish climber Januz Adam Adamski traversed Everest without receiving permission to climb the mountain from the southern side. Januz climbed the tallest peak on earth from Tibetan side and came down to the southern base camp in Nepal. He has also been banned from climbing in Nepal for 10 years. Januz act caused China to far foreigners from climbing Mt Everest in the autumn season.
Hillary Step also came into media limelight this season. British climber Tim Mosedale, who climbed Mt Everest for the six time this season, was the first Mountaineer to say that Hillary Step has disappeared. “It’s definitely not there anymore,” he told BBC. But the Department of Tourism (DoT), citing icefall doctors, refuted the report, stating that Hillary Step is still there.
Though the spring season might have been over, the Everest region will be abuzz with climbers in the next spring season that begins in March. Regardless of the situation elsewhere, Everest will continue to attract climbers, researchers and journalists et al as British climber George famously said ‘because, it’s there’.