Quake Update: Climbing to continue on Everest South Col

Quake Update: Climbing to continue on Everest South Col

Official says Everest climbing season not called off and damaged route setting will start in 4-5 days. 41 of 43 teams have already left Everest Base Camp.

The Everest season will continue, according to Nepalese officials days after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake-triggered avalanche left 19 people dead and 61 injured at the base camp. Many climbers at the Everest Base Camp have already canceled their expeditions for the season. After a meeting amongst officials on Thursday , it was decided that Everest climbing season would continue.

“The main time for climbing Everest is the first, third and fourth week of May. Willing climbers can attempt summit after mid-May,” Tulsi Prasad Gautam, chief of the mountaineering department at the Ministry of Tourism told The Outdoor Journal over phone.

He further added, “The decision has been taken unanimously after speaking to Sherpas, expedition companies and other organizing committees”. Sherpas who wanted to go to their families have already left the base camp.

The Sherpas are willing to go ahead with the re-opening of climbing season. Gautam said, “They would need the money to give to their family and survive the rest of year. Even if the disaster has struck, life will continue. The problems would always be there but as of now, they need money to give food, shelter and medicines to their family”.

The Tourism Ministry has extended the time for expedition to early June for those with a 90-day permit.

Icefall doctors are expected to start setting the route again on Khumbu icefall within a week. They will use ropes and ladders buried under the snow if found in good condition, otherwise new gear has already arrived at the base camp, according to Gautam.

The global climbing community has overall condemned the decision on social media platforms. All climbers have called off their expeditions, and most of them have opted to help in quake relief. Climber Nick Cienski told Reuters, "We are still sorting through a lot of emotions; 24 hours ago we were wrapping people's body parts in bags.......so on the one hand (there is) the reality of that ... and on the second hand, we are climbers and this is sort of what we do. And so, does it make sense to continue?"

A team member of the Indian Army on Everest expedition still at base camp told The Outdoor Journal on phone, “The best time that weather permits is till end of third week of May. 41 out of 43 teams have already left the base camp and others are also planning to leave. We (Indian Army) are waiting for an SPCC member to come to the base camp to assess the situation and we would also leave in a couple of days as there are 2-3 small avalanches hitting daily at the EBC. Situation is not safe to climb”.

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