More than 100 international climbers and their Nepali guides who braved a Covid-19 outbreak at base camp are now stuck at 6,500m on Camp 2 of Mt Everest because of high winds and days of heavy snow over the Himalaya.
The periphery of Cyclone Yaas has been more or less stationery over central Nepal for the past two days, and is expected to linger till late Saturday. It has already forced some expeditions to give up their summit bids on Everest and Lhotse, while other climbers are stuck high on other mountains.
Some climbers who were on their way down after summiting Everest earlier this week are also trapped at Camp 2. Among them, there are injured mountaineers who were hoping for a helicopter rescue, reports said.
The mountaineers are racing against time because the official end of the climbing season is 31 May, after which time the ‘Ice Fall Doctors’ stop maintaining the route up the Khumbu Icefall on Everest. However, if there are enough climbers still making a push for the top after the snowstorms stop, there is talk of extending the season by a few days.
Despite the pandemic, this year saw a record number of expeditions on Mt Everest and other 8,000m peaks in the Nepal Himalaya. There were 42 expeditions and 408 foreign climbers from 80 countries just on Mt Everest.