I am very happy that our team experienced a high level of success and safety with all climbers who embarked on the summit attempt from Everest base camp reaching the top between May 14th and May 18th. Our small private teams (Kenton Cool’s group and the team of Ant Middleton & Ed Wardle) along and our main team of climbers are back in Kathmandu and heading home, some are home already.
We also had climbers complete the Everest and Lhotse combination climb, going from the summit of Mount Everest to the summit of Mount Lhotse the next day, altogether 36 climbers and Sherpas reached the summit of Everest plus another 6 from our rope fixing team. As in previous Everest seasons there were no injuries among our climbing team. We were supported by our incredible team of Sherpas who are an integral part of our success.
This season on Mount Everest is likely the most successful ever, given the number of collective summits versus permits issued and taking into account overall accidents / fatalities. The reason for this very high level of success all around I believe is due to 2 factors, the fact that our rope fixing team opened the route earlier than in previous Everest seasons and because a period of very good weather then manifest which allowed climbers to take advantage of the open route and good mountain conditions to climb. Because our rope fixing project was on time and well communicated to teams in Everest base camp, climbers were able to plan and prepare for summit attempts in advance of the good weather that materialized May 13th onward.
Our rope fixing team had to work hard, despite unfavorable conditions in April and early May such as a very icy Lhotse Face combined with high winds, our team was still able to fix the ropes to the summit of Mount Everest by May 13th, with double lines in places to ease congestion such as on the Lhotse Face up to Camp 3, the Yellow Band, and on the Geneva Spur. The rope used was 10.5 mm static rope, a very strong and durable rope, the anchors (primarily Black Diamond 22 cm ice screws) were placed appropriately to support large numbers of climbers.
The small number of accidents / fatalities this season were unfortunate, but on average less than what we normally see on Everest. Generally there are some accidents / fatalities related to climbers getting stuck up high on Everest in bad weather or on a very crowded summit day and then running out of oxygen (I was witness to this in 2012 when 4 climbers perished up high on Everest because the rope fixing was delayed to May 18th and few good weather days were available). Because the weather window has been favorable, climbers were able to spread out summit attempts over a week long period, so that no single day was problematic from a congestion standpoint.
Additionally, because our rope fixing project was well planned and executed on schedule, climbers were able to take advantage of the good weather window by making plans in advance of the arrival of this stable weather period.
The rope fixing project this year was coordinated by my team, with support from Adventure Consultants and our local operator in Nepal, Himalayan Guides. Initially there was some contention from other teams that this was a good idea, as traditionally the rope fixing project was managed by the ‘old guard’ on Everest and the work shared by many teams. However, the challenge of managing members from many teams often led to some confusion regarding work days, and lost efficiency when Sherpas from different teams worked together for the first time.
Our approach, keeping the project contained within essentially one team, provided us the opportunity to utilize our most capable high altitude Sherpas to complete this difficult project in an efficient and safe manner. Myself and Guy Cotter (CEO of Adventure Consultants) both climbed Mount Everest & Mount Lhotse this season, so we were able to actually be on the mountain to oversee various aspects of the rope fixing project in person rather than manage from Everest base camp as was traditionally the case by the managing teams.
I believe this “hands on” approach by the leadership influenced the rope fixing project in a very positive manner, as is evident by the outcome. We hope this example of project management, where the end result is safer and more successful climbing on the world’s highest mountain, can be carried forward to future seasons on Mount Everest!
Our main team of climbers has reached the summit of Mount Everest at 5:00 am (1st Group) & 6:35 am (2nd Group) today (18th March)!
Team Members: Mr. Garrett Madison, Mr. Joshua Joseph Miller, Mr. Randolph Kidder Luskey (1st Group)
Mr. Conan Tundra Bliss, Mr. Matthew David Kernan, Mr. Tym Douglas Blanchard, Mr. David Scott Landman, Mr. Sidney McCord Pattinson (2nd Group)
Nepali Sherpas: Mr. Siddhi Bahadur Tamang, Mr. Mingma Sherpa, Mr. Ang Phurba Sherpa (1st Group)
Mr. Pasang Tenzing Sherpa, Mr. Pas-Dawa Sherpa , Mr. Lakpa-Dendi Sherpa, Mr. Sher-Bahadur Thapa Magar, Mr. Mingma Shona Sherpa (2nd Group)
They reported good conditions and are on their way down to the South Col high camp , if possible then to the Camp 2 ,where they will spend the night.
Kenton & the team fly to Kathmandu this morning .
The main team of climbers with guides Garrett, Conan, & Sid are resting at the South Col high camp (Camp 4). Our Team are in the saddle between Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse. They are preparing to depart for the summit around 7:30 PM tonight. They are planning to reach the summit early on May 18th.
Kenton, Ben, & Mark with our Sherpas headed down safely to Everest base camp and will fly by helicopter to Kathmandu tomorrow .
The team of Ant and Ed safely arrived at Kathmandu today.
More summits from our team on Mount Everest! Today Kenton, Ben, Mark, along with our Sherpas made the summit of Mount Everest and reported great conditions. They are now safe in South Col also known as Camp 4. Their team will spend tonight there and will head down tomorrow to Camp 2.
Additionally , Our main team of climbers with Garrett, Conan, & Sid are heading up to Camp 4 today. They will climb up the steep ice of the Lhotse Face, over the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur. Their plan is to rest tomorrow and go for the summit push on the evening of May 17th , if the weather is good.
Also, The Team of Ed & Ant are safely on their way down to Everest base camp.
Our team of Ed & Ant along with our Sherpas Dawa & Sangbu have reached South Col and staying there tonight! They have good conditions and are planning to come down tomorrow to Everest Basecamp.
Additionally, Our second team of Kenton, Ben, & Mark are planning to move up from Camp 3 to Camp 4 today in preparation for their summit attempt!
Also, Our main team members of Garrett, Conan, Sid, Matt, Tym, David, Josh, & Randy are resting in Camp 2 . They are evaluating the weather conditions and preparing to head up to Camp 3 for the summit push tomorrow.
Our First Team of Climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest today, after our Sherpas fixed the rope yesterday.
Time of Climb – 8:50 am 14th May 2018
Team Members: Mr. Anthony Peter Michael Andrew Middleton (UK), Mr. Edmund Philip Wardle (UK).
Mountaineering Sherpa Guides: Mr Dawa Phinjo Lama, Mr Phurba Ridar Bhote, Mr Kul Bahadur Thapa Magar, Mr Sangbu Bhote
They have returned safely to the South Col high camp and are now resting.
Spring is here! Our Everest & Lhotse climbing team is packed and heading off to Nepal to climb Everest and Lhotse (4th highest). An exciting change for us this year is that our team is involved with the rope fixing from Camp 2 all the way to the summit of Mount Everest, as our local agency, Himalayan Guides Nepal PVT LTD has secured an exclusive contract with the Expedition Operators Association of Nepal for this project. Our expert team of sherpas will be leading the effort in finding the best route and placing the fixed ropes up the Lhotse Face, across the Yellow Band & Geneva Spur to the South Col high camp, up the Triangular Face to the Balcony (27,500′) and onward to the summit! We are excited to “lead the way” up the mountain and prepare the ropes so that our team and others can ascend safely on Mount Everest. We aim to complete this project earlier than in past seasons so that more time is available for teams to make a summit attempt during the good weather window in May. By controlling the rope fixing we can control our climbing schedule better than before.
Check back soon for more photos and video as the expedition prepares to launch!