New Zealander Russell Brice, owner of outfitter Himalayan Experience (Himex), the last major commercial expedition that was considering a south side Everest climb, announced Friday that he is pulling his team from the mountain this year.
After assessing the situation in Nepal following the April 25 earthquake that killed thousands and badly damaged Everest climbing infrastructure, Brice posted on the Himex website that his team will not pursue a summit.
“Now having considered all facts, I can tell you that we will not be continuing any of our ascents in Nepal this season,” Brice wrote.
The realities that led to Brice’s decision include a “lack of logistics, and of course the dramatic situation in Nepal at present,” he wrote. Himex was the last team considering a summit attempt. And after Chinese officials closed the north side of the mountain Tuesday, it’s unlikely any team will make a push this season.
Brice pledged to get his team safely off the mountain, cooperate with Nepalese officials, and to help search for missing trekkers, guides, and porters.
“We will continue to support all of our staff and their families during this difficult time,” Brice wrote.
Clients of Himex included Under Armour senior director of innovation Nick Cienski, who was heading a project called the 6 Summits Challenge. The project sought to raise awareness on human trafficking by climbing six Himalayan peaks in one year. The team aimed to climb Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu this season, but is abandoning them “out of respect for the families and individuals who have lost lives and homes during this terrible disaster,” according to an April 30 press release.