With the lines now set to the summit the climbers will now follow those heroic Sherpas that paved the way on Friday.
Some are already on the way while others will hold off for strategic or physical reasons.
Meanwhile, the Sherpas themselves have safely returned to Base Camp and have started to share the pictures from this season’s debut climb.
These same Sherpas will no doubt enjoy a quick break before turning around and making the climb again with clients in the days ahead.
Of the major teams, the Bahrain Royal Guard seem to be making an early summit move. They aim to reach the top on Tuesday.
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British guides Kenton Cool and Jon Gupta are on their way up with one client each, however. Neither has updated his position since setting off.
Colin O’Brady explains that a no-O2 climb must consider a number of factors, besides the weather. Namely, extra acclimatization and avoiding crowds. For safety, they need to get up and down fast and can’t wait hours in a queue. O’Brady has been in Base Camp for the last week with his wife, Jenna Besaw, “relaxing, recovering, and strategizing”. But he is now currently on the way to Camp 2.
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Kilian Jornet and David Goettler have also done an acclimatization trip to Camp 3 and then hustled all the way back to the village of Pheriche. Their pictures show them using air-filtering masks and climbing some metres away from the fixed ropes. Even these lung-busting athletes may struggle more than usual in their masks. A recent study shows that wearing masks can lower VO2 Max by an astonishing 29 percent!
The pair continue to maintain a strategic silence about their exact plans. “Making plans on a map is easy, but then you have to actually climb,” Kilian tweeted, in response to a question about his secrecy. “Alpinism is about adaptation. To speak beforehand simply makes no sense. Once you get something done, you talk about it.”
Sobre el mapa es muy fàcil hacer planes. Luego hay que escalar… y como alpinismo es adaptarse, hablar antes es un sinsentido, una vez se hace algo ya se explica.
— kilian jornet (@kilianj) May 7, 2021
Avoiding the Crowds?
Most of the big outfitters’ teams are finishing their acclimatisations to Camps 3 or 4. Afterward, some are shedding as much altitude as possible to rest before the final push. In previous years, some went all the way back to Kathmandu for R&R, but with COVID rampant in Nepal’s capital, they are staying close to the mountain. Nirmal Purja and his clients, including 19-year-old Adrianna Brownlee, are recovering in Namche Bazaar, before heading for Everest and Lhotse.
The urgency to summit and leave as soon as possible might lead to some crowding on the next massive push. If the picture shared above by Kami Rita Sherpa today, showing lines of climbers represents this week’s action, and all those climbers plan to summit by mid-May, the traffic jams of previous years could repeat themselves.