Approaching Everest 2011

Feb 15, 2011
Outside Magazine

HPIM0670 I know I am busy with my preparations for Everest in a little over a month and so are many others. There is a never ending series of tasks from planning to packing and of course training.

I am pleased that I am making contact with many of my future teammates and fellow climbers. It looks to be a great season. A few items of interest I thought I would highlight.


Anyone who has climbed on Everest’s Nepal (South) side in the past decade knows that EverestER is THE place when health issues arise. Dr. Luanne Freer runs it with volunteer doctors. She just sent me this update

Hello Everest Nuptse and Lhotse-bound expeditions!

YES the Everest base camp medical clinic will be on the mountain this year for our 9th season.  We will continue to ask for $100 per Non-Nepali staff and climbers in base camp, which will cover all doc consultations for each donating member.  IF your entire team signs up, we will include unlimited consultations for all of your team Nepalis at no charge! As in past years, we will charge a low fee for medications, oxygen and hospitalization as used.  NEW in 2011:  we’ve added a 3rd doctor to our staff, a Nepali physician, which will go a long way to providing even better care for our Nepali friends in base camp.  (Sometimes, the nuances of Nepali language don’t translate!)

We have been funding this clinic for the past 9 years from our US nonprofit (the $100/climber doesn’t come close to covering the expenses unless all non-Nepali folks in EBC sign up.)  We continue to try to create an enduring system to fund the clinic fairly, but in the meantime, we appreciate the support of the climbing community on a voluntary basis.  We hope to see a mandatory subsidy solution soon, but in the meantime, when you go to apply for your permit, please put in a plug for paying a fee for the clinic.  If they know you’ll be behind a fixed subsidy, please let them know that you see it as a big advantage to climbing on the Nepal side (maybe it’s not the only reason you don’t climb from Tibet, but if reliable and cost effective medical care is even a part of that decision, please speak up!)

We appreciate your support!  Expedition leaders or independent climbers can now make donations online before leaving home!  Go to and hit the gold donate button, then pay by secure credit card $100 for each non-Nepali team member who will be at base camp.   Then send an email to [email protected] with a list of everyone you’ve paid for.  If you prefer to pay by check, make it out to HRA-USA and sent to PO Box 365 Gallatin Gateway, MT  59730 but make sure we receive it by March 10.  Then if you can provide us with a list of your Nepali staff once you get to EBC we’d appreciate that too.

See you on the rockpile soon, and thanks for your support.  If you’d like us to send you a list of suggested medications for your climbers to bring along to minimize their costs in EBC, we’re happy to do so – just let us know.

Luanne Freer, MD
Founder/director, Everest ER


Everest ER

Summit Success Rate

A common question is what is the summit success rate for Everest? Well, kudos to Russell Brice who has posted his company, Himalayan Experience aka Himex’s, success rate. I applaud him for his transparency in publishing these statistics. You can download his complete table via this link where he lists all of his guided climbs since 1994. Overall he has put 311 people on the summit including Sherpas, guides and clients for a 49% overall success rate. To understand recent success rates and representative of the higher numbers modern climbers will experience, I looked at a subset from 2001 to 2010:

Everest 2001-2010
Average %
High #
Low #
Members70% (112)72% (23) 200940% (2) 2002
Guides79% (31)100% (7) 200940% (0) 2002
Sherpas85% (147)117% (14) 200357% (2) 2002
Total74% (290)



Another hot topic right now are the cell phones on Everest’s south side. As I reported a few months ago, Ncell has put new towers along the Khumbu creating quite the stir amongst trekkers and climbers that they could phone home while on expedition. Well not so fast. Explorersweb HumanEdge Technology team did an in-depth analysis and concluded that sat phones will still be necessary for those requiring reliable communications. You can read the entire article via this link. This is the quote:

TeliaSonera’s Press Officer Iréne Krohn in Sweden told ExplorersWeb in an email that “climbers should definitely continue to bring their satellite phones on the climb.”

Exweb has a very good article just posted on expedition technology – a good read for anyone going to Everest this year; or anytime.

For the record, I am bringing my sat phone!

OK, that’s all for now. I will be updating and posting here a few favorite articles over the next weeks including an overview of routes, gear and training.

Climb On!


Arnette is a speaker, mountaineer and Alzheimer's Advocate. He is climbing the 7 Summits throughout 2001. He has summited Vinson and Aconcagua already and leaves for Everest in late March. All to raise $1 million for Alzheimer's research. You can read more on his site.

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