Final Everest Summit Push Goes Smoothly

The last wave of climbers this season reached the top, with no major mishaps reported

May 26, 2012
Outside Magazine
Base camp on Everest's north side

Base camp on Everest's north side    Photo: Meiquianbao

The last major summit push of the season is now over and so far we've yet to learn of any major incidents or accidents. The last wave of climbers began their summit bid last night (May 25th) and, according to Everest expert Alan Arnette, nearly a 100 climbers topped out safely and have begun making their way back down the mountain. Arnette reported that the weather was perfect—low winds, no clouds, and relatively mild temperatures—and that some teams summited as early as 3:30 in the morning local time.

We also just recently spoke to Grayson Schaffer at Everest Base Camp, where he has been living for the past five weeks. He reported that a team sponsored by Eddie Bauer and led by Dave Hahn—who now has 14 Everest summits under his belt, the most of any Westerner—successfully summited last night. He also noted that Conrad Anker, who had originally hoped to climb the mountain's notoriously difficult West Ridge, summited via the South Col route without oxygen. Anker, one of the most respected alpinists of our time, was part of a team sponsored by National Geographic and The North Face, whose members also included alpinist/photographer Kris Erickson; climbers Sam Elias and Emily Harrington; ski mountaineer Hilaree O’Neil, and alpinist and frequent Outside contributor, Mark Jenkins, all of whom also topped out.

We also just recently confirmed that earlier this morning alpinist Chad Kellogg, who was hoping to set a new speed ascent record on the mountain, abandoned his attempt at approximately 8,600 meters, just a few hundred meters from the top. A spokesman at Outdoor Research, one of his sponsors, did not yet know the reason why he turned around.

And that pretty much does it for this eventful season on Everest. Arnette isn't aware of any more planned summit bids, though last-minute attempts are not unheard of. According to his very rough "unscientific estimates," there have been "389 summits on the South and 148 on the North for a total of 537."

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