Highly anticipated restrictions on Nepal site

The Nepalese authorities have proposed more stringent rules for climbing Everest. I have been anticipating this kind of rules for many years, seeing many people on the mountain who obviously shouldn’t be there.

The rules imply that you must prove yourself capable of climbing a high mountain by ascending a 6500+ mountain before coming to Everest. If you do that in Nepal that means doing an “expedition grade mountain” ie. a mountain outside the range of the socalled “trekking peaks” (that can actually be quit a technical challenge). But I welcome this change in the rules.

Another new rule is imposing an age restriction: You have to be between 18 and 75 years of age. Although I know of capable climbers younger than 18 and climbers of more than 75 having no problem scaling Everest, I generally welcome this rule as well.

I think this will improve the safety on the South side of Everest, but it might move some more traffic to the North (Tibetan) side, the normal route here being technically slightly more difficult. And that wont improve safety.

Read more on UIAA’s website

But overall I’m joyed by the proposed new rules.BBC_5480

Video from my acclimatisation trip to Aconcagua

After coming back from the earthquake on Mount Everest I finished editing a video from the acclimatisation in Argentina. Here I climbed in the Vallecitos area and afterwards went to the summit of Aconcagua.

If you like the video please give it a like and consider subscribing to my youtube channel.

Everest closed – going home

The ending of my fourth attempt to climb Mount Everest didn’t end anyway near what I had foreseen.

Due to the disastrous earthquake of April 2015 I wasn’t allowed to even reach North Col this season. In a way it’s my worst attempt on Everest ever, but in other ways I felt that I was very well prepared and would have a very good chance on the summit.

I didn’t feel the altitude in any way at any time and that is unusual. I climbed faster at altitude than I have ever done. I had full confidence in my ability to reach my goal, of course given the right conditions on the mountain.

The only problem was the Chinese closure of the mountain, and for what reason?

Officially the mountain was closed due to the risk of further earthquakes.

I’m a geologist and I know that after a large earthquake there will be a lot of aftershocks but most likely no large. The size of aftershocks were already diminishing markedly and there was no reason to assume a large earthquake would hit again. 80 years have passed since the last huge earthquake in this region, in all probability that is the period between major earthquakes. Thus, closure without a reason.

Another reason given for the closure was, that a large crevasse had opened on the North Col.

Well, mountaineers are used to cross crevasses, it is part of everyday life in the mountains. If climbers are not used to this, they should not find themselves on the way up Everest. It is not the crevasses that pose a problem it is the audience allowed onto the mountain. Closing Everest on this reason makes no sense.

It is therefore with large regret that I find myself heading home, forced by the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA).

Were transferred to Lhasa as the roads through Nepal are not passable due to the huge impact of the earthquake on the fragile infrastructure. But costs like visa to pass to Lhasa and out of the country, flight from Lhasa etc ate not covered. We are denied the right to climb what we have payed for, and we are inferred further costs.

The only thing that CMA is “returning” is the climbing permit. We do NOT receive the money back, but they extend the validity of the permit to 3 years. You still have to pay logistics, travel costs etc. for a new expedition on top of that. The deal will always be in favour of CMA not the individual climber.

It is by no means a fair deal, as you force further costs onto the climbers especially if the want to exploit the opportunity to come back and attempt another year.

CMA should return all fees paid and let climbers decide if and when they want to come back to the North Side of Everest – some might opt for the Nepalese side and they should have their money back from CMA so they are free to do so.

Bo Belvedere Christensen

Earthquake and avalanches

On April 25th 2015 Nepal was hit by an earthquake 7.8 of strength.

In Everest ABC on the North side it was felt and caused some big avalanches and stonefall narrowly but luckily missing climbers on their way to North Col.

Quite that lucky they weren’t in Basecamp on the Nepalese side. A huge avalanche falling from Pumori, one of Mt. Everest prominent neighbours, hit and destroyed part of Basecamp. At the time of writing 16 dead climbers has been found and 45 injured some of which severely sent to hospital in Kathmandu.

Kathmandu itself is together with Pokhara the sites of major devastation. Around 6000 people in total are presumed dead and many more have lost their home. Many spend their days and nights in the streets in fear of further trembling that might cause their houses to collapse.

Picture:
Bo in Everest ABC with North Col in the background. It was from the seracs on the ridge and below the Col that several avalanches fell

Last day in basecamp

Today is my last day in basecamp. I have been on three acclimatisation walks/climbs two of which to an altitude of 5750 meter and I am going for a third today.

That altitude will be the height of my next camp, Interim Camp on the way to ABC and the start of the real climb on Everest.

I haven’t felt the the altitude this little – ever. My training up to Everest and especially the acclimatisation trip to Aconcagua has not been in vain, I come better prepared for the ascent of Everest without oxygen bottles than ever before.

Given a good weather window I’ll have a really good chance of success :-)

Bo Belvedere Christensen from Everest basecamp in Tibet at 5130 meters

Everest Basecamp

Finally, I arrived in basecamp after four days of steadily ascending. So happy :-)

My Suunto Ambit 3 gps watch shows 5130 meters, but I don’t feel the low oxygen level. But let’s see what happens after a nights sleep here at the new altitude.

Tomorrow is the day for Puma, the religious ceremony without which the sherpas won’t go to the mountain.

Acclimatisation in Tingri

After a lot of challenges and delays, among others one extra day in Nepal as I couldn’t make it to the border before closing time, I am now in Tingri on The Tibetan Highland. The village is situated at 4300 meter and is relatively fast to get this high, but I don’t feel the altitude.

Actually that is not quite true. I loose my breath if I try to move fast uphill. But it would be like that even fully acclimatized.

Together with a Russian climber, Dmitry, and his two sherpas I went for a small trip before noon. We went to a viewpoint at approximately 4700 meter. On the way up we had glimpses of Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu, the eight thousand meter peak I climbed last year, at a distance of 80 kilometers. But when we reached the viewpoint clouds had enveloped the high mountains.

The wind suddenly picked up and the trip down became a challenge. Several times we were almost overturned by strong gusts of wind. Thus, we were very happy when we reached the hotel.

Tomorrow I will continue to basecamp to meet the group with which I share facilities in both basecamp and advanced basecamp.

Bo Belvedere Christensen

Tingri at 4300 meyer

I reached the village of Tingri on a plane between minor mountains. The altitude of 4300 meter would normally be felt, when you only have two days of acclimatisation.

But I fell perfect probably due to the acclimatisation in South America earlier this year. I am staying one more day before continuing to Everest basecamp.

The picture is from Nyalam, where I spend the previous night. Cows are walking around in the streets eating cardboard boxes.

Bo Belvedere Christensen

Arrival at border

In spite of delayed start from Kathmandu we are already at the Kodari/Zangmu border to Tibet at 10am.

Passed the huge landslide from last autumn on the way. Some houses still stand deep in water

Kathmandu weather

It is raining and has done so the last twelve hours. Rumours are that it is snowing heavily in the mountains and flights for Lukla are cancelled.

Luckily I am not going that way tomorrow, but we are heading by car towards the border at Kodari (Nepal) /Zangmu (Tibet). It seems from others ahead of me, that conditions in Tibet are better. Can’t wait to get there.

Picture: not having breakfast in the garden of Nirvana Garden Hotel due to the rain

Bo Belvedere Christensen