With a ferocious second Covid-19 wave raging and a closing weather window lapping at their feet, expeditions on Mt Everest this spring have rushed to make a series of successful early attempts to climb the world’s highest mountain.
All in all, at least 130 climbers reached the summit in the past week. There are a record 407 foreign mountaineers and 43 expeditions on Mt Everest alone this spring, despite the second wave and an outbreak of Covid-19 among some expeditions.
Everest Base Camp itself is more crowded than it has ever been, with at least 2,000 climbers, Nepali guides and support staff in a tent city more than 1km long on the Khumbu Glacier.
There were reports of at least 41 more climbers making it to the summit on Wednesday morning just as a stormy westerly front closed in over Nepal. Among them was the first ascent of Mt Everest by three sisters — Nima Jangbu, Tshering Namgya, and Dawa Futi Sherpa from Nepal who also completed the ascent of all seven peaks in seven continents.
There were 12 Nepali climbers from a rope fixing team on top on the morning of 9 May, including Kami Rita Sherpa, who summited for a record 25th time. Then Tuesday, taking advantage of low winds and fixed ropes, 80 more climbers got to the top, together with 12 members of a team from Bahrain Royal Guard that included Prince Sheikh Mohammed Hamad Mohammed Al Khalifa and three Britons.
Also on top on Tuesday was British climber Kenton Cool, who became the first from his country to summit Everest 15 times. Cool then went on to climb nearby Lhotse on Wednesday morning with his guide Dorjee Gyalzen Sherpa, both climbing two of the world’s highest mountains within 29 hours.