The First Everest Summits – 2019

Eight Sherpas reached the top of Everest today at 1:45 p.m. Nepali time, setting the stage for many to follow. With the way set, it opens up the South Side of Everest for what may be a record season.

Everest, Lhotse, Tangboche Monastery
Everest, left, and Lhotse, right, from Tangboche Monastery.

On the North side of Everest, traditionally a bit windier and colder, we are still awaiting updates on how progress is going, though with the conditions seen today we wouldn’t expect to be waiting much longer.

Of course having the ropes in is only the start. While many will have been as high as Camp 3 at 7,200 meters, returning to that elevation and beyond is when the real work starts. And there are of course more people, so the potential to be caught out waiting in line will also be quite high.

Everest, Hillary Step
The line over the Hillary step. Big numbers of people, big teams and little coordination in years past have created massive traffic jams. Photo: David Hamilton, (with me standing in the yellow right in front of him, hating life if I remember correctly)

At times, the real dangers are somebody cramponing over your fingers, stepping and cutting the rope, an ascender detaching from the rope or any number of a host of unsuspecting things

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is not physical, but mental, as you have made your way through the Icefall, up the Lhotse wall, and now it seems, you just need some personal good fortune and some luck with the weather to summit, a mix of fear, fitness and now a bit of faith needed to reach the top of the world.

Of course, you will then go from the state of mind “Before Everest” to After Everest,” perhaps the best state of all.

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Sibusisu Vilane and I, becoming A.E. Photo: David Hamilton.

 

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