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Everest might have shrunk, Sherpas at work on the mountain, China bans autumn climbing from Tibet, Final numbers out for summiteers as season closes + Climbers banned for no permits. NEW & UPDATED




Monday 19th June

HAS EVEREST SHRUNK?

Nepal is to spend two years measuring Mount Everest because it may have shrunk as a result of the 2015 earthquake.

The country's Department of Survey says the mountain may have also shifted is geographic position, according to the Kathmandu Post.

The newspaper says the study will cost about £1 million.

The first scientific measurement of the world's highest peak was carried out in 1856.

It put the height at 8,848 metres.

Several organisations had expressed their interest in carrying out surveys but Nepal has decided to undertake the task on its own.

"We will involve international experts, scientists and others who are experienced in high altitude measurements," Ganesh Prasad Bhatta, DG of the Survey Department told the Post.

"We will take technical support from the International Association of Geodesy, a trusted and credible organisation in measurement."

Last month a British climber, Tim Mosedale, upset Nepalis by saying Everest's famous Hillary Step - a 12 metre near-vertical rock face close to the summit - had collapsed.

There was a suggestion that it might have been damaged as a result of the 2015 earthquake.

Local officials insisted the rock was simply covered in snow but Mosedale retorted that they were in denial.

For full details of the row see entries below for 31st May and 23rd May.

Friday 16th June

SHERPA AT WORK ON EVEREST

While the spring climbing season draws to a close on Mt Everest, the Sherpa continue to maintain the mountain, and make preparations for the next climbing window.

The photo below was posted on Instagram by Satori Adventures and Expeditions.

Sherpa climbing the Khumbu icefall carrying ladders (Instagram)Sherpa climbing the Khumbu icefall carrying ladders (Instagram)




















Wednesday 14th June

CHINA BANS AUTUMN CLIMBING ON MT EVEREST, CHO-OYU AND SHISHAPANGA

The Chinese Government has officially closed Mt Everest and other mountains in the Himalayas from climbing in the forthcoming autum climbing season that falls from September to November.

Along with Mt Everest, the ban will also apply to other mountains in Tibet including Mt Cho-Oyu (8,188m) the 6th highest mountain and Mt Shishapangma (8,027m) the 14th highest peak in the world.

The mountains will be closed from the Tibetan side.

They say a series of problems including an illegal north-south traverse by a Polish climber to the summit of the mountain and other issues have forced them to close the mountains. (see post below - dated 12th June)

The China Tibet Mountaineering Association announced that Chinese authorities would not issue any climbing permits for the autumn season.

The circular blames Janusz Adam Adamski, a Polish climber, who illegally scaled Mt Everest from the Tibetan side and traversed towards Nepal from the summit without a permit.

It states, "His action causes the industry related internal rules and regulations need to be adjusted and improved."

It is thought the decision may also be influenced by the Tibetan flag as well as photos of the spiritual leadeer Dalai Lama being placed on the Everest summit during the spring climbing season.

Some climbers proudly posted images on their Facebook pages on top of Everest with photos of both the Dalai Lama and free Tibet flags.

China does not tollerate this type of behaviour, and sees as it as illegal acts in Tibet.   Additional information here:

Snapshots from Mt Everest, showing Tibetan climber Urgyen, from Ladakh with images of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan flag (Photo: Facebook)Snapshots from Mt Everest, showing Tibetan climber Urgyen, from Ladakh with images of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan flag (Photo: Facebook)

 




















Monday 12th June

EVEREST SPRING CLIMBING STATS

At least 449 climbers, including 190 foreigners, successfully scaled the world's highest peak in the spring climbing season following the opening of a climbing route to the summit of Mt Everest on 15th May.

With the closure of the climbing season, the world's highest mountain also recorded five deaths this spring, officials have said.  (Four bodies found in a tent this year are reported not to have been from this season).

There were at least 164 foreign climbers with permits who did not make it to the summit, it was also reported.

"The season ran well though the climbers got a very short window to make final summit pushes on Mt Everest," an official at the Department of Tourism, Khem Raj Aryal, said.

Last year official data showed that 452 climbers including 197 foreigners scaled Mt Everest.

Ascend towards Everest summit. Courtesy: Pasang Rinzee SherpaClimbers crossing Hillary Step - thehimalayantimes.com














More news is of 49-year-old Polish climber Janusz Adam Adamski, who has been given a 10-year ban from climbing any mountain in Nepal after being caught making a traverse on Mount Everest without a permit.

On 21st May Adamski was attempting the climb by the Chinese route and descended on the Nepali side of the mountain.

Nepal will likely deport the climber for entering the country without a visa, an official has said.

Adamski reportedly told officials that he chose to descend the Nepalese route as he was short of oxygen bottles and hoped to find help where there would be more climbers.

Climbers must pay the $US11,000 ($A14,574) fee and get a permit from Nepalese authorities.

He is the second this year to receive a ban, South African Ryan Sean Davy was found last month hiding in a cave attempting the 8,850m peak without a permit.

Tuesday 6th June

Ian Toothill, Sheffield Wednesday football club fan and cancer patient conquers Everest

The 47-year-old personal trainer reached the top of the North Col route on 16 May and then he summited Everest on 5 June.

Massive congratulations to Ian Toothill who has raised almost £31,500 for Macmillan.

Mr Toothill was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2015.

In early 2016 he was told he had beaten the disease, but later found out it had returned.

Originally from Sheffield, Ian Toothill now lives in Willesden Green in London and he has previously climbed in the Himalayas.

The Sheffield Wednesday fan planted a flag of rival team, Sheffield United at the summit as a charity stunt.

He posted a comment on Twitter on Monday "Nothing to see here, just some cancer dude @swfc fan on the summit of Everest with an flag".


Ian Toothill taking a selfie on EverestIan Toothill taking a selfie on Everest (photo: Twitter)


























Ian Toothill with Sheffield United flag on Everest SummitIan Toothill with Sheffield United flag on Everest Summit
















Wednesday 31st May

CLIMBER TOLD OFF FOR SAYING THE HILLARY STEP IS GONE

The British mountaineer and guide who reported the collapse of the famous Hillary Step near the summit of Everest has revealed that he's been castigated by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism.

Tim  Mosedale says he was summoned to explain himself to the department's Director General after he left Everest and given a metaphorical clip round the ear. 

"It turns out that his beef was with the fact that I'd had the audacity to 'mistakenly' report that the infamous Hillary Step had gone," he says on his Everest Expedition Facebook page. 

"I tactfully explained that a) it had been mooted last year by both David Liaño and Kenton Cool so I wasn't the first person to be reporting this, b) I hadn't realised that it was going to be taken up by the media and go viral and c) I didn't speak to The BBC - they spoke to me and I answered (thin I know but I think I got away with it). 

Mosedale says he was then accused of damaging the Hillary Step himself.

Tim MosedaleTim Mosedale


























The climber spoke of the collapse of the step after summiting earlier this month, as we reported earlier in this blog (see entry below for 23rd May).

However, Nepali officials claim the Hillary Step - a near vertical chunk of rock on the mountain's southeast ridge - is still in place but is simply covered in snow, a suggestion rubbished by Mosedale. 

"I'm sorry? Were you there? Do you actually know what it looks like? Do you know just how much snow you'd need to obscure the 12m bulging rock feature and that if it was so plastered with snow how come there are other rocks visible?

"And what are the chances that, for the first time in the history of climbing Everest, a snow ridge should form in exactly the same way 2 years on the trot and the Hillary Step be obscured?" 

Mosedale is standing by his account and accuses others of being "in denial".

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- And lets not forget June's Skiing Secrets

OXYGEN BOTTLES STOLEN FROM EVEREST CAMPS
 
The lives of mountaineers on Everest could be put at risk by increasing incidences of theft of their oxygen bottles, according to reports from the mountain.

Foreign climbers and Sherpas have been speaking about a series of thefts from high camps.

"I kept on hearing from expedition groups that their oxygen bottles had disappeared and that could be life-threatening - particularly when they have used up what they are carrying on their way up and they are still not on the summit yet, or they plan to use the stocked bottles on their way back," Nima Tenji Sherpa, a mountain guide just back from Everest, told the BBC.

The British mountaineer, Tim Mosedale, has also complained of the thefts on his Everest Expedition Facebook page:

Another 7 bottles of Os have gone missing from our supply - this time from The South Col. Given what's been unfolding over the last couple of days with failed summit bids and fatalities it doesn't surprise me .... but I do wish people would let us know.


No one in their right mind would withhold previous oxygen from any team / climber having difficulties. But if those difficulties are as a result of their own oversight or lack of sufficient supply it's a difficult situation to reconcile - especially when it potentially affects the success or otherwise of our own team.
Indeed, as I've mentioned before, lack of sufficient oxygen can easily develop in to a life threatening situation.

Thankfully Pemba, having summited Lhotse yesterday, had enough energy to go to The South Col and check our supply and report his findings.
BUT ... will it still be there when we arrive in a few days or will a few more bottles of magic air have gone missing?  

According to the BBC report, the Nepal National Mountain Guides Association says the theft is becoming a trend, with thieves breaking the locks on tents and stealing oxygen, food and cooking gas.

Climbers are said to use an average of seven bottles of oxygen on their way up to the summit and back down.  

Read more on this story on the BBC News website

Sunday 28th May

KILLIAN JORNET SUMMITS AGAIN, THAT'S TWICE IN ONE WEEK WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN

In a single push, Kilian Jornet climbed the north face of Mount Everest (8.848m) for the second time in a week.

For many, one attempt is a huge achievement, but to complete two summits in one week, without supplemental oxygen, is extraordinary.

He did not use supplemental oxygen or fixed ropes.

Jornet had already reached the summit on 22 May but stomach cramps had prevented him from completing the route as planned.

He said: "I'm so happy to have made the summit again! Today I felt good although it was really windy so it was hard to move fast. I think summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I'm really happy to have done it"
 
Jornet reached the summit via the North Face of Everest on 27 May at 9pm (+5.45GMT).

He left Advanced Base Camp at 6400m at 2am.

He climbed to the summit on the 'normal' route passing the three high altitude camps used by climbers attempting the world's highest mountain, a climb which takes on average four days.
 
The climb to the summit was slow but continuous.

After summiting, he comments below:


The wind was the main obstacle Jornet had to overcome, on an extremely windy Himalayan day.

Weather conditions improved throughout the night in the latter part of the route and he returned to Advanced Base Camp 28 hours 30 minutes after leaving.

With this ascent Jornet repeats the feat of reaching the world's highest point after having climbed to the summit six days previously.

On the previous climb he reached the summit in 26 hours, but leaving from Base Camp at Rongbuk monastery at 5,100m.

(see post below dated 21 May, by Catie Friend who has met and interviewed Kilian Jornet)

Kilian Jornet summits Everest twice in one weekKilian Jornet summits Everest twice in one week




























21 TIMES ON SUMMIT OF MOUNT EVEREST


A 47-year-old Sherpa is now the third person to have climbed the mountain 21 times.

Kami Rita Sherpa stood on top of the peak on Saturday.

He joins Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa who have also scaled the  8,848 metre peak.

Saturday 27th May

SOUTH AFRICAN CLIMBER LET OFF PERMIT FINE


Ryan Davy was fined $22,000 by the Nepalese authorities after trying to climb Mount Everest without a permit.

He has now been told he can go home and has been banned from climbing in Nepal for 10 years.

He was found hiding in a cave as we reported lower down this article on 10th May.

The 43-year old South African had no climbing experience and said he could not afford the cost of the permit.

Foreigners have to pay the Nepal government £8,500 for permission to climb the 8,848m peak.

He was planning on making a film and writing a book about his experience.

He said that he taught himself to climb by reading books and watching videos on You Tube.

He is now considering an attempt on Everest next year from the Tibet.

And this time he says he will have all the correct paperwork.

Ryan DavyRyan Davy























W




Wednesday 24th May

FURTHER FATALITIES ON EVEREST

The most recent fatalities bring the death total to 10.

According to The Himalayan Times four people, including a woman mountaineer, were found dead in their tent at a high altitude camp on Tuesday.

They are said to be two Nepalis and two foreigners.

Sherpa climbers found the bodies while they were at Camp 4 to recover the body of a Slovak solo mountainer, Vladimir Strba,  who was one of four climbers to die on Sunday. 

The others who died this week are an American climber, Roland Yearwood, who is reported to have suffered altitude sickness near the South Col, 27-year-old Ravi Kumar from India, and 54-year-old Australian Francesco Enrico Marchetti, who was descending on the Tibetan side of Everest from the North Col. 

Earlier this month an 85-year-old former British Gurkha, Min Bahadur Sherchan, died at Base Camp of a suspected heart attack.

He was aiming to become the oldest person to climb Everest.  

In April the famous Swiss climber Ueli Steck died while acclimatising for an a summit attempt.
 
Tuesday 23rd May

FAMOUS FEATURE OF EVEREST GONE

The Hillary Step, a chunk of rock which was the last challenge before reaching the summit has collapsed.

The British mountaineer, Tim Mosedale, announced the news on Facebook after reaching the top of Mount Everest on 16th May.

He described the collapse as "definitive" and said it was the end of an era.

However, the Nepal Tourism Ministry says it is not yet proved.

The Hillary Step - a near vertical 12 metre outcrop on the mountain's southeast ridge  - was named after the first man to scale Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary.

"It was mooted last year but we weren't sure for certain because of the amount of snow cover. "This year, however, its definitive," Tim Mosedale wrote on Facebook.  

Answering a query about whether it had really collapsed or just crumbled, he said:  "Looks like it's pretty much completely gone. There's debris left behind but I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it. Thankfully there's a snow ridge to the right which we ascended instead". 

It's thought that the Hillary Step was probably damaged in the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015.

Photos taken a year ago appeared to show that it had changed shape but the snow made it hard to be sure.

"It is associated with the history of Everest, and it is a great shame a piece of mountaineering folklore has disappeared," Mr Mosedale said in an interview with the BBC.

Hillary Step in 2009The Hillary Step in 2009 - photo NATAS Singapore Women's Everest Team
























The Hillary Step has collapsedThe Hillary Step is no more - photo Tim Mosedale


























You can read more on the BBC website.

And for a fascinating insight into what it feels like to stand on the top of the world in a terrifying storm, read PlanetSKI reporter Squash Falconer's account of her Everest climb.

21st May

SKI MOUNTAINEERING HERO CONQUERS EVEREST IN 'SPEED CLIMB'


PlanetSKI's Skimo Geek, Catie Friend, is even more in awe of him than she previously thought possible! 

On the 21st May at midnight, Kilian Jornet, one of ski mountaineering's best known athletes, reached the summit of Everest (8,484 m) in an epic push straight from Base Camp (5,100 m) in 26 hours.

This takes most expeditions four days.

He did it without the use of supplemental oxygen or fixed ropes. 

He was alone after 8,020m, when his cameraman, Sébastien Montaz-Rosset, left him as planned.  

He was hoping to return to Base Camp, but stomach problems that plagued him from 7,700m upwards, meant he decided to finish his challenge at Advanced Base Camp (6,400m), where is still recovering from this super human effort. 

Known as the "extra-terrestrial", Jornet was brought up in a mountain hut in Spain. 

His love of the mountains is evident in everything he does.

He is a former Ski Mountaineering World Champion, four time winner of the Pierra Menta, winner of the Patrouilles des Glaciers and, as a summer trail runner, the winner of the world famous Ultra-Trail de Mont Blanc (UTMB), setting the World Record at the age of 20.

Climbing Everest and the setting of the "Fastest Known Time" is the culmination of a personal project he set himself in 2013, called Summits of my Life, in which he has attempted to set records for ascent and descent of some of the world's tallest mountains. 

Having met and interviewed him several times, PlanetSKI reporter Catie Friend, said " I can also attest to the fact that he is extremely humble and a very nice man". 

Yours truly interviewing Kilian JornetCatie Friend interviewing Kilian Jornet





















Many congratulations from us all at PlanetSKI.

Kilian JornetKilian Jornet
















20th May

MOLLIE HUGHES


The 26-year-old had already climbed the mountain from its south side in 2012.

She has now done it again, this time from the north side that starts in Tibet and is generally considered a more difficult route.

Mollie HughesMollie Hughes





















 Mollie Hughes sporting her BBC Blue Peter Badge on Mt Everest Mollie Hughes sporting her BBC Blue Peter Badge on Mt Everest

























"I am elated, exhausted and know I still have the hardest part to do - the long and difficult descent to base camp," she said from the summit.

"The climbing has been really, really hard but our mental and physical strength got us up here. I can confirm that the north side is definitely more difficult than the south side!" she added.

Mollie Hughes on Everest:
15th May

BRITISH ARMY GURKHAS


Meanwhile, three British Army Gurkhas have reached the summit of Everest, two years after their first attempt was halted when an earthquake caused devastating avalanches on the mountain.

And theirs is not the only British success.
 
The soldiers were the first climbers to reach the top of the world's highest peak from the south side this season, as strong winds, fresh snow and bitter cold has hampered other attempts.

The news came as a 26-year-old woman from Edinburgh became the youngest Briton to climb Everest from both the south and the north side.

Another British climber and expedition leader, Kenton Cool, has abandoned his attempt at a 13th summit and left Everest, saying family is more important.

Gurkha Expedition


The three soldiers are the first serving Gurkhas to reach the summit of Mount Everest. 

They were in a group which got to the top 15th May.

The following morning 10 more of the Gurkha Everest Expedition team made the summit.

Gurkha Everest Expedition 2017At the summit - photo Gurkha Everest Expedition


































In a comment on the British Army website the deputy expedition leader Major Andrew Todd said: "This is a fantastic achievement for the Brigade of Gurkhas, after our attempt in 2015 was called off due to the avalanches from the earthquake and our team then turned to assist the humanitarian aid that was required in the area.

"We are ecstatic about this success. It is another example of how the British Army strives to achieve excellence. We are delighted to have worked with the Sherpas to fix the ropes to the summit and to be the first team to summit this year - a great collaboration between Nepalis, working together to get the job done."

Gurkha Everest ExpeditionAt the top - photo Gurkha Everest Expedition


























16th May

KENTON COOL


Last May Kenton Cool broke the British record with his 12th summit of Everest.

He was back on the mountain until last week with fellow climber, Rob Owen, for a 13th attempt.  

Kenton Cool (L) & Rob OwenKenton Cool (L) & Rob Owen - photo Kenton Cool Facebook


























On 16th May Cool told his followers on Facebook that the weather and rope-fixing situation would have led to a 10-day delay, so they had decided to abandon the climb.  

This is what he posted.

Expedition team rules:

1) You come home
2) You come home as friends
3) You have fun
4) You summit


For an expedition to be successful, the first 3 rules are non-negotiable. Rob and I left Everest a couple of days ago after a tremendous trip to Nepal, a trip that more than fulfilled the first 3 rules.

Instead of a 13th summit I gained a new friend, a man who has taught me so much over the last few weeks and for that I thank you Rob Owen, you are a generous, humble, funny yet focused man.

Given current weather and the rope fixing situation, Rob and I felt that our enjoyment could not be enhanced by a summit, that family was more important than another 10 days of waiting on the mountain for weather and rope fixing.

I thought the decision to come home would be hard to bear yet it's been easy. There is often so much more to an expedition than reaching the summit.

I wish everyone still on the mountain a safe time.... remember the rules!
 

EverestEverest - photo Kenton Cool Facebook


























May 10th

MAN HIDES IN CAVE TO AVOID PAYING EVEREST PERMIT FEE

A South African man trying to climb Mount Everest on his own, without a permit was found hiding in a cave to avoid paying the climbing fee. 

43 year old, Ryan Sean Davy, was ordered off Mt Everest, he had his passport confiscated and was fined £17,000 - that's double the cost of the £8,500 fee to climb the mountain.

He told officials at base camp that he had climbed alone as far as Camp 2 at 6,400m - to acclimatise ahead of a summit push before he was caught.

Foreigners have to pay the Nepal government £8,500 for permission to climb the 8,848m peak.

The Permit fee is a significant source of revenue for the country.

It is extremely rare and dangersous for someone to attempt climbing Everest solo. Full details on the BBC website.

Ryan Sean Davey made the following statement on Facebook with some disrespectful references to the Nepalese as 'mountain Orks'.

Ryan Sean Davy on Mt Everest (photo: Facebook)Ryan Sean Davy on Mt Everest (photo: Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAIN PHOTO: Everest Expedition Facebook

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