Website- Peak Freak Expeditions

Friday, 25 April 2014

Everest Unofficial Closure and the Future

The SPCC (Sagamartha Pollution Control Commity) has thankfully given us permission to use helicopters to lift our 32 human loads of equipment from Camp 1 & 2 eliminating putting further life at risk on the glacier.

As a result of the base camp meet the government encouraged people to continue to climb if they want to. If they were to officially close Everest as so many Sherpas requested, they would have been up against demands to give permit fees back. Instead they've offered the current permits a validity of up to five years to be used for a future Everest climb.

There is one private team here that we are aware of that says they're going to make a go at climbing this spring. The ice fall doctors (team of Sherpas who fix the route on the glacier) say ladders they placed will have all been disassembled by force of nature, they'll be bent and broken if not maintained daily. The doctors haven't been back up since April 18 and they aren't planning on going up again this year.

Another chunk of ice broke off today causing another avalanche in the same area as April 18th. Avalanches are frequent and common all over the Himalayas this time of year, but problem areas we have to travel under we take seriously and especially with too many people moving slowly in an area will be conjested. If the Sherpas had to move slow in the area, the clients would be moving even slower once they started.  All western commercial operators are packing up to leave. We're not sure about one of the Nepalese operators. They've not made an announcement yet that we're aware of.

The future of Everest being safe is questionable. Yes there are too many people coming. Some teams have as many as 60 people on them. Everest has become a high altitude tour not a climb as we used to know it. Peak Freaks has often expressed this to the Ministry and aspiring applicants that team sizes and the number of permits they issue would be the death of their gem if not controlled. Seems that the more people are successful, the more the momentum builds compromising safety.  We feel this was irresponsible of the government to just look the other way. We never knew how many people were going to show up till we got here.

Everest is not a walk in the park, dangers are real, mountains kill people. Clients need to accept more responsibility, they should be self-reliant climbers and question what if something were to happen to my Sherpa guide?, would I be able to help him?

Everest does not only have wind issues, the shifting tectonic plates continue to push Everest upward, along with the whole Himalaya mountain range, at 1.6 to 3.9 inches (4 to 10 centimetres) per year. Compounded with the glacier being pulled downward due to global warming, there's a lot of friction between the two. We can't say that Everest will or will not be safe on a particular day. We can only predict with our years of experience working here combined with our tools and skills we've learned as guides who actively work in the mountains, and with our Sherpa guides wisdom and their spiritual insight.

As an operator, we also have work to do. Peak Freaks will continue to train people in safer areas on smaller peaks in the beautiful Himalayas. Sherpa culture is a beautiful thing. There is much we can learn from them.

Everest? The government of Nepal has work to do. 

Om mani padme hum

Tim & Becky Rippel


  1. The future as you say is very uncertain for Everest. Let's hope that future conquests are contemplated an eye towards what is good for the mountain and the peoples of the region. This might just be the wake up call everyone needs.

  2. The future is in the past; the north side.

  3. I'm not a climber but wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your reporting, insights and philosophy. Thanks so much for getting it out there.
    Tibby Rothman

  4. Good summary guys. And agree with Chris, tragically it could be the wake up call it needed.........