Everything you need to know about Everest this season
In this report, we roundup records, deaths, and more noteworthy events
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For more than a decade, Alan Arnette and The Himalayan Times have documented the daily comings and goings on Mt. Everest, from Kathmandu to Summit Day and down the mountain. For those of us who aren’t stationed there and don’t have loved ones attempting ascents, it can seem worlds away, and we can lose track of time and forget there’s even a summit window. To make it easy to follow, we’ve put together a roundup of highs and lows of this season, as recorded by Arnette.
Watch: take a look at this stunning time lapse over the majestic mountain.
Pushing the limits: Lhakpa Sherpa, 44, from Connecticut, broke her own record on May 16 for most Everest summits by a woman. Her first summit was in 2000 followed by 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2017 and 2018. She said she wants one more, Arnette reported.
Three to go: Kami Rita Sherpa, 48, made his 22nd ascent on May 16, breaking the record that he’d previously shared with two other sherpas for most Everest summits by anyone. He said he wants to get to 25 before retiring, Arnette reported.
Lucky number 13: Kenton Cool broke his own record on May 16 for the most UK summits, with a 13th ascent. The 42-year-old guided Ben Fogle and Mark Fisher, who was filling the climb for a documentary, along with three Sherpas.
Amputee ascent: On May 14, 70-year-old Xia Boyu became the first climber with two above-the-knee amputations to summit Everest. The Chinese climber had attempted the ascent four times before—the first in 1975 when he still had both his legs.
Loftiest dinner party: Though not necessarily a climbing feat, adventurer Neil Laughton pulled off a different type of record on April 29. After a 3-week trek to Everest’s North Col— 23,031 feet up—Laughton’s team of about a dozen climbers and Sherpa guides set the Guinness World Record for the world’s highest dinner party.
- Japanese alpinist Nobukazu Kuriki was found dead on May 20 above Camp 2 on the Nepal side of Everest on the Standard route. He had struggled with coughing and pain.
- Gjeorgi Petkov, 63, from Republic of Macedonia, was found above Camp 3 on Mt. Everest after he suffered a cardiac arrest while heading for Yellow Band to prepare for the final summit push, The Himalayan Times reported on May 20.
- Russian climber Rustem Amirov, who was on a permit with Nepal company Monterosa, died from AMS after nearly summiting Lhotse and no one could reach him in time. He was reportedly found unconscious above Camp 3 and Sherpas helped him down to Camp 2, where he unfortunately passed away on May 17.
- Lam Babu Sherpa, from Kurima solukhambu, who worked for Seven Summits Treks and was supporting a Ukraine team, went missing and was eventually confirmed dead.
- Ang Dawa Sherpa, 32, from Solukhumbu died at the Makalu base camp after having altitude-related sickness at Camp 2 after summiting.
Other noteworthy events
Off the hook: Matt Moniz and Willie Benegas made it to the peak of Lhotse after summiting Everest, according to a Facebook post. The pair of mountaineers skied down the Lhotse face early in May and were promptly scolded by the Nepal Ministry for obtaining only a climbing permit and not a ski permit. Department of Tourism’s director general Dinesh Bhattarai eventually deemed the ski “a very innocent mistake.”
Short and effective: A new climbing style was established to the Everest guiding community, according to Arnette. Lukas Furtenbach of Furtenbach Adventures joined Alpenglow and several other climbers on different teams in summiting on May 20 in a relatively short period of time—21 days from home—with the help of a home acclimatizing program.
Unexpected troubles: Adrian Ballinger and more than two dozen climbers with Alpenglow Expeditions were forced to abort their summit attempts on May 15 due to a highly unusual incident. Within a three-minute timespan, 10 of 39 oxygen-bottle regulators failed unexpectedly. Two other expeditions also experienced sudden oxygen equipment blowouts high on the mountain.
Close call: On May 9, two Sherpa climbers fell into a crevasse when ladders they were crossing collapsed. The incident was captured by a film crew.
Also notable: This year was the first without Elizabeth Hawley keeping a close watch on the mountain and documenting everything into The Himalayan Database. She died in January.