The weather window from Monday May 10, all the way through the following Tuesday, 18 May, while not always perfect, does look very good right now for summiting Everest.
Teams will be gathering weather from meteorologists like Michael Fagin or Marc De Kayser, and their newly launched site, weather4expeditions.
As often reminded by Marc however, who I’ve talked with both from the South Col and also shared a number of Antarctic seasons with, it is called a forecast with good reason and is not the holy grail, perhaps even more so with the height and micro-systems that can flow on and off of Everest so quickly.
If the record-setting crowds of over 400 people registered to climb, can adjust their timings, this is a healthy weather window which should hopefully allow climbers to space out some on the route and avoid waiting in line.
While this may be optimistic with the big groups headed up, perhaps it may work out. Right now an early start and rapid transit towards the summit could be a good plan, or perhaps a few days grace, then squeezing the top in before the winds are set to rise later next week.
The Royal Bahrain Team is reported to be on its way, and it is often a quiet, highly experienced team or two that sneaks in soon after the ropes are fixed to make early and uncrowded ascents.
2019’s traffic jams and people literally running out of oxygen as they stood around up high will provide good incentive to try and get the timing right, and nothing helps this more than a long weather window.
Teams like Madison Mountaineering, Climb the Seven Summits and Mountain Madness￼ are led and have guides who are highly experienced and know how to balance the challenges and do all they can to get their members up as safely as possible. How the large local groups approach the summit may be more of a wild card.
In 2019, a joint National Geographic and Rolex supported climbing team led by Pete Athans, installed the worlds’ highest weather stations at the Balcony (8,430 meters) the South Col (7,945 meters), Camp 2 (6,464 meters) and at Base Camp (5,315 meters).
Right now we can see temperatures around freezing at Base Camp, rather balmy really in the sun. At the South Col today, the temps are from -7 f. to – 13 f, (-21 c. To -25 c.).
The summit pretty consistently will be dictated by the winds, though like the rest of the world not nearly as cold as it used to be.
Modern equipment and a good flow of oxygen keeps that relatively manageable, even when climbing through the night.
With temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure and humidity, it’s the first time we can see in real time what is actually happening.
While scientists will be using it to learn more about the jet stream, climate change and how it is likely to effect the Himalayan eco-system, climbers can simply look and say, “too cold and too windy” right now. And for the weather forecasters it will provide the real-time data to refine and update their models based on current information.
And should you wish to have a look beyond Everest?
These links are live now, though can go on and offline – this is an area where technology, weather and a high number of variables all play a part. So click as an Explorer would, not with the expectation of an HD live-stream.
Kosciusko – two options here, showing the track towards the top from the Thredbo chairlift and also the view from the base of Thredbo ski area. Great to see the weather and the slopes at any time of year in Australia and a host of good views here:
Carstenz – I’m sure the Freeport Mine has the technology, but I’m not sure they are too eager to share. If you would just like to see the helicopter flight in and our recent climb of Carstenz, you can do that here.
Mont Blanc – ok, we know it isn’t highly credited as a 7 Summit, but as so many of us climb Mont Blanc as well, and there is a great camera looking up the mountain, and a number of different options in the Alps around Chamonix, I’ve included it. The occasional compete white-out makes it a good time to plan another activity perhaps?
Elbrus – it may may not be live updates, but there is a good camera at the top of the Mir Gondola station looking up towards the summit of Elbrus for the southern side of the mountain. Not as high as we would like, but it gives an idea of the overall weather. With both a weather map here and time-lapse 24 hour replays, great to see how the day is looking, if not just to watch the gondola spin around and day and night pass by from the slopes of Elbrus.
Vinson – as one might expect from ALE, they have some of the latest and the best technology – you have a choice of 4 cameras, 2 at Union Glacier, one out close to the Weddell Sea to monitor incoming cloud, and another at Thiels Corner, halfway from Union Glacier to the South Pole.
Kilimanjaro – options from Moshi, Tanzania when it is working, and hourly screen shots closer to the mountain at the aptly named Kilicam. Our expedition report and a 360 summit view is here.
Denali – a number of the air taxi services in Talkeetna have webcams – but still 60 miles out from the mountain. The National Park Service has Webcams dotted around the park, but more scenic than useful for climbers.
There is also an FAA Webcam at Kahiltna Glacier, but links are troublesome, you can reach the page and then a map of Webcams here which may get you there. When we climbed this season, 2019, the weather was so good we really didn’t need a cam – we could see the mountain all the way from Talkeetna to the summit.
Aconcagua – while the facilities at Plaza de Mulas expand, the webcam that once lived here seems to be out of operation currently – updates welcome if anything comes up during the climbing season.
What we would really like to see is a webcam on the South Summit so we can see how many people are in line on the Hillary Step.