Kathmandu: The wait is over. After a month of walking and acclimatizing, hoards of Everest aspirants are inching closer to their dreams of reaching the top of the world.
According to senior mountaineering officials, weathermen have forecast the “fair weather window” from May 18 to 25 for Everest ascent this spring expedition.
The 8,848-m Mt Everest, or Sagarmatha, saw its first spring summit this year on May 10. “As weather was partly fair, eleven rope-fixing Sherpas reached the top at 11:30 am,” said Ang Tshiring Sherpa, chairman of Asian Trekking.
On May 11, Spanish national David Liano succeeded Everest with his companion high-altitude climbing Sherpa Samden Bhote despite high winds. Both reached the summit at 08:05 am.
At least 43 individuals, including 16 foreigners, have already climbed the Everest as of Friday, according to Gyanendra Shrestha, an official of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. “Although there was sporadic climbing as of Friday, Everest will see a beeline of climbers to their way up to the mountain from Saturday onwards,” Shrestha said.
Around 670 individuals, including 315 foreigners are in a bid to climb Mt Everest. Last spring, there were 560 individuals, including 335 foreigners, but only 181 made to the top. Last year, Everest witnessed a “traffic jam” due to small weather of window and bad weather had prevented rope-fixing work. “As fair weather has been forecast for the next week, we are expecting such a traffic jam will not occur this time.”
In addition, Sherpa said there are two separate ropes fixed—one for climbing and another for descending-at the Hillary Step, a 40-ft wall of rock just below the Everest , which is the most difficult climbing section. “Last year, traffic jam occurred as there was only one rope or ladder at the Hillary Step,” Sherpa said.
Eighty-one-year-old Nepali mountaineer Min Bahadur Sherchan and 80-year-old Japanese Yuichiro Miura are set to make an assault on Everest to secure the title of the world’s oldest person to scale the world’s highest peak. Officials said Miura is at Camp 2, while Sherchan has reached the base camp.
Sherchan had scaled Mt Everest on May 25, 2008, at the age of 76 years and 340 days and was officially recognized as the oldest person to climb the mountain by the Guinness World Records in November 2009. Sherchan had replaced Miura in the Guinness Records. Miura had first climbed the peak in 2003 at the age of 70. He climbed Everest again in May 2008 when he was 75, but this time failed to set a record as he reached the summit a day after Sherchan achieved the feat at 76.
Sudarshan Gautam, a Nepali Canadian, plans to become the first amputee to climb the mountain to spread the message that “disability is not inability”. Gautam, 30, who lost both his hands at the age of in an accident, will climb Everest without the use of prosthetic limbs.
Meanwhile, Phurba Tashi Sherpa made his 20th Everest ascent on May 10, according to Ang Tshiring Sherpa. “He has planned to climb Everest for 21st time in a few days to equalize the world set by Apa Sherpa,” said Ang Tshiring. “And, if things go as planned, Phurba could make his third attempt this season to secure the world record title of the most Everest ascents.”
Apa is the only man in the history to reach the top of the world 21 times. Phurba climbed Everest three times in the 2007 season alone, and twice in 2011.
Actress Nisha Adhikari and actor Arjun Karki are other aspirants awaiting favorable weather window. According to Shrestha, Karki plans to climb within a few days, while Adhikari plans to climb towards the end of the season.
Spaniard Carlos Pauner is aiming to summit Everest and accomplish his pursuit of climbing all eight-thousanders without oxygen, according to explorersweb.com.
According to the website, Pakistani Siblings Mirza Ali and Samina Baig are climbing under the slogan “Gender Equality”. They are part of the Seven Summit Treks Everest expedition. Samina Baig is the first Pakistani female to attempt, Everest while her brother Mirza Ali wants to reach the summit without using supplemental oxygen.
Three Sherpas and a foreigner have lost their lives at Everest so far this climbing season. Fifty-year-old Russian climber Alex Bolotov died last Wednesday in Khumbu icefall at 5600-metre, according to government officials.