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Thursday May 17, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Trekkers and climbers have left behind huge quantities of rubbish, including bags full of human waste, tents and garbage. UPDATED



Climbers discarded the rubbish above Camp II on Mt Everest.

One mountaineer, who has published pictures of the trash has described the scene as "shameful".

The government has been criticised for failing to implement its 2014 mountaineering rule, that states each member of an expedition must bring back at least 8 kilos of garbage, in addition to their own trash from Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse and Mt Nuptse.

Some Everest climbers have taken advantage of the government’s failure to monitor human activities on higher reaches of the mountain.

Company logos have been removed from abandoned tents to prevent identification.

More than 700 climbers made successful summits on Mount Everest this season.

According to the Department of Tourism, a further 1,000 people, including climbing guides, porters and kitchen staff spent two months in the Everest region above the base camp and have contributed to the waste problem.

Climber, David Liaño from Mexico, commented, "After seeing the amount of garbage on Everest this year, I couldn’t remain silent. What’s happening to Everest is shameful."

He continued,  "Although I’ve tried to have a net positive impact on the trash problem during my climbs, the reality is that every climber contributes to the problem. I’m trying to be part of the solution."

David Liaño sent a batch of photos to The Himalayan Times that can be seen here.

Mt Everest Waste 2018 (Photo: David Liaño)Mt Everest Waste 2018 (Photo: David Liaño)
















Mt Everest Waste 2018 (Photo: David Liaño)Mt Everest Waste 2018 (Photo: David Liaño)
















According to climbing guide Ang Tshering Lama, returning from the Everest summit, he said it was hard to find space to pitch tents from Camp II to South Col, as piles of faeces and scattered poop bags littered the world’s highest mountain.

Human waste that contaminates glaciers is a big problem on the mountain and also further down the valleys.

As the glaciers melt, foul, polluted melt water travels down the valley and cannot be consumed by communities living further down the mountain.

Friday 25th May

The season ends:

11 consecutive summit days, 700+ successes, 5 fatal accidents, Hillary Step confirmed gone, amazing videos plus more highlights of the season in our rolling blog.

The wave of Everest summits continued through to Thursday 24th May.

Some 340 climbers and their Sherpa guides were attempting to scale Everest this month and many had succeeded in recent days during good weather.

The race was on, as teams needed to end their attempts by the end of May as weather conditions were going to deteriorate.

There was an unprecedented weather window for this May's Everest season.

There were 11 consecutive days of summits starting from the 14th May when the strong winds died down.

The season though is now winding down with 700+ summits, breaking previous records set in 2013 with 667 summits.

The temperatures were slightly warmer than usual and the winds were calmer.

The first summits were on 14th May by the rope fixing team on the Nepal side, the next day this was followed by 70 year old Chinese double amputee Xia Boyu who summited with his Sherpa guides.

Mr Xia Boyu was finally allowed to summit after managing to overturn a ban against double amputees climbing in Nepal’s mountains.

This was Mr Xia Boyu’s 5th attempt on Everest where he lost his legs in 1975 during his first summit attempt via the North Ridge.

ia Boyu - 70 year old Chinese double amputee (photo: Facebook)Mr Xia Boyu - 70 year old Chinese double amputee (photo: Facebook)















Another huge achievement was by Australia's Steve Plain who broke the record for reaching the summits of each of the 7 continent in 117 days.

The previous record for the 7 Summits World Speed record was 126 days (we wrote of Steve Plain's achievement and featured a video of his summit below).

And this is what it is all about:

Watch Elia Saikaly and crew summiting during the final summit week.

There were some bottlenecks en route up:

While Climbing up Mount Everest the Hanging Point is between Camp 1 and Camp 2.


To Conclude there were 5 Deaths during the 2018 Climbing Season:

* Damai Sarki Sherpa died after falling into crevasse near C2, Nepal side
* Pasang Norbu Sherpa (41) died at 8,550m working for 7 Summits Club summit push from Tibet
* Nobukazu Kuriki, 36, Japanese died descending from C3, Nepal side, in the night after radioing for help to his video crew at C2
* Lam Babu Sherpa from Kurima Solukhambu supporting Ukraine team on Nepal side
* Gjeorgi Petkov, 63, Macedonia from heart attack on  Nepal side

Unsung Heroes at Everest Clinic:

The unsung heros are the doctors and rescue services at Mt Everest. 

Despite the challenging conditions there were three doctors at the Basecamp clinic looking after the health and well being of the Sherpas and climbers.

Special thanks goes to Dr Suvash Dawadi and Dr Subarna Adhikari from Nepal and Dr Brenton Systermans from Australia.

Helicopter 'Longline' Rescue:

Watch Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, a longline rescue specialist, conducting a recovery mission at Everest during the final summit week.

The video below gives an idea of how a high mountain rescue is achieved.

If possible the helicopter will land and the injured will either climb into to helicopter or will be placed inside it.

To reduce the weight of the helicopter, it is often stripped of excess equipment including the seats (apart from the pilot's seat).

Helicopters can land as high as Camp 2 at 6,400m on the Nepal side.

If the landing terrain is too difficult, the rescuers may lower a long cable that the ground crew attaches to a stretcher holding the injured person.

This is a video posted by Everest ER showing a “long line rescue” from near Camp 3 around 7,162m.

The pilot was KHS Veteran Captain Maurizio Folini, supported by Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, the longline rescue specialist.

Wednesday 23rd May

Update on demise of Hillary Step:

Mountaineers returning from the summit of Mt Everest this May have unanimously commented that the 'Hillary Step' had changed.

It was once a near-vertical 12 metre rock face.

It appears that the boulder is gone and it is now a gradual snowy slope making the final ascent quicker and easier.

Some are even calling it the 'Hillary Stairs'.

In 2016 guides and climbers had reported that the Hillary Step had changed dramatically after a 2015 earthquake, however the Nepal Ministry said at the time it was just snow covered, claiming it remained intact and stating rumours of its demise were 'false'.

Guides and climbers have been instructed by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism not to discuss the state of the Hillary Step.

The photo below was taken by guide Casey Gorm on 17th May 2018.

Hillary Step Photo: by Casey Gorm on 17 May, 2018Hillary Step Photo: by Casey Gorm on 17 May, 2018
















And below is another shot of Hillary Step taken by Mountain Expeditions in May 2018 (the photo was posted on Facebook on 17th May 2018)

Hillary Step Photo: Facebook/Mountain Expeditions May 2018Hillary Step Photo: Facebook/Mountain Expeditions May 2018













Matt Moniz and Willie Benegas double summit of Everest and Lhotse:

After their skiing debacle earlier this month on Lhotse, Matt Moniz and Willie Benegas have made it to the top of Everest and Lhotse.

They made good time reaching the top of Everest at 4.59am ahead of sunrise, the following day they were at the top of Lhotse.

It remained unclear for a while if the duo would be allowed to make the attempt to summit as they had not applied for a 'skiing' permit.

Fortunately the situation was resolved.

The pair are taking part in Twin Research study conducted by NASA.

The pair posted this short clip on Twitter from the summit of Lhotse.

Deaths at Everest:

Two climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest have died.

Members of their expedition teams reported a Japanese climber died Monday and a Macedonian died on Sunday.

The Macedonian climber was identified as 63-year-old Gjeorgi Petkov, and the Japanese as 35-year-old Nobukazu Kuriki.

Their bodies have been recovered and flown to Kathmandu. It remains unclear how they died.

It is believed Gjeorgi Petkov may have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Nobukazu Kuriki was found dead in a tent at an elevation of over 7,376m. This was his eighth attempt on Everest and he summited on May 20, 2018.

Nobukazu Kuriki lost nine fingertips to frostbite in 2012 and yet continued to summit Everest a further 5 times.

Two more Sherpas died increasing the total to five Everest deaths and one on Lhotse.

On the Tibet side Pasang Norbu Sherpa (41) from Khari Khola in Solukhumbu died at 8,550m, at the site of the high camp.

On the Nepal side IFMGA guide Damai Sarki Sherpa of Kharikhola of Solukhumbu district died after falling into crevasse on the 21 May.

He was assisting a helicopter evacuation when the accident happened.

Other Sherpas pulled him out of the crevasse and he was flown to Namche Bazar where he died from his injuries.

Double Summit:

Steven Plain and John Gupta successfully summited Everest and Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world.

The duo are attempting a 7 Summits World Speed record.

Fortunately the weather window allowed them to climb both peaks as they achieved the final two ascents and then to bag the 7th Summit on May 14th.

As the pair climbed they managed to film both ascents and produced the video featured below.

The views across the Himalayas are stunning.

Steven Plain and John Gupta selfie on top of Mt EverestSteven Plain and John Gupta selfie on top of Mt Everest













Tuesday 22nd May

Issues with Oxygen Tanks:

A number of climbing teams have experienced issues with their Oxygen regulators including Kenton Cool's group.

Most of the teams were able to continue with their ascents making use of spare parts, however one team Alpenglow, ended its expedition for their regular team while its more experienced team were able to continue.

Failed regulators will be collected over the next two weeks as the groups return to Kathmandu.

Oxygen Regulators will be shipped to laboratories for rigorous testing.

Thursday 17th May

There's been a big push this week to summit Mt Everest as a window of fine, stable weather opened for both professional mountaineers and tourist climbers.

Earlier in the week, climbers were poised to start their climb but were frustrated by winds, that have since calmed.

Over 140 people summited Everest on Wednesday including the British contingency made up of Kenton Cool, Ben Fogle, Mark Fisher and Kam Dorjee.

Kenton Cool broke his own record for the most UK summits with his13th climb as he reached the top of Mount Everest on Wednesday May 16th at 7.30am, ahead of the pack.

Olympic gold medallist, 37, Victoria Pendleton, was also part of Kenton Cool's team but she had to be evacuated from Basecamp in early May, with some urgency after suffering from altitude sickness.

Ben Fogle - summits Mt Everest on 16th May 2018, 7.30am.Ben Fogle - summits Mt Everest on 16th May 2018, 7.30am.














The image here is Ben Fogle on the summit ridge (photo: Kenton Cool)The image here is Ben Fogle on the summit ridge (photo: Kenton Cool)















Kenton Cool, Ben Fogle and Mark Fisher along with Victoria Pendleton were filming and recording their Everest journey for CNN's "The Challenge: Everest", that goes on air in two parts on 30th June and 7th July.

The programme documents the two-month expedition, supported by ‘Anything is Possible’, a new initiative set up by HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, that honours the legacy of her father HM King Hussein I.

Here's a taster of the programme below:

Ben Fogle and Victoria PendletonBen Fogle and Victoria Pendleton














New Records for Mt Everest Summits:

And the record for most ascents of Mt Everest continues.

The latest world record was set by Nepalese Sherpa guide, Kami Rita, 48, who summited Mount Everest on Wednesday for the 22nd time.

Kami Rita Sherpa first scaled Everest at the age of 24, and he has continued to scale the mountain almost every year since then.

Mountaineering is a family tradition.

His father was among the first professional guides after Nepal opened to foreign trekkers and mountaineers in 1950.

His brother has scaled Everest 17 times.

Most of his male relatives have reached the top least once.

Kami Rita has also climbed many of the region's other high peaks, including Cho-Oyu, K-2, Manaslu and Lhotse.

Kami Rita Sherpa holds record of 22 Everest summitsKami Rita Sherpa holds record of 22 Everest summits













Lhakpa Sherpa broke her own record for most female summits with her 9th summit.

She summited at 5:40am. She has said she wants to achieve 10 summits.

Her first summit was in 2000 from the Nepal side, followed by 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Lhakpa reportedly scaled Mount Everest eight months after the birth of her first daughter and while she was two months pregnant with her second child.

Lhakpa, 45, is from the Makalu region of Nepal, and now lives in Hartford, Connecticut, USA with her three children.


Sherpa Deaths at Everest:

Sadly, two Sherpa have died in recent days.

Lam Babu Sherpa from Kurima Solukhambu is said to have had snow blindness, however details are unclear. He died on Tuesday 15th May.

Ang Dawa Sherpa (32) from Solukhumbu died on 14 May at the Makalu base camp after having altitude related sickness at Camp 2 after the summit.


Skiing down Lhotse:

Two American climbers who are part of a twin research study conducted by NASA, decided to get in a quick Everest ski without getting the correct paperwork.

Willie Benegas and Matt Moniz skied down the Lhotse face of Everest, and were remprimanded for not having the correct 'skiing' permit.

Regardless of the missing paperwork, it was a huge achievement - we reported on it here.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number 1 for ski news

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