Mt. Everest 8848m is the most famous mountain in the world. Drawing climbers for almost a century, it is known as Qomolangma Peak in Tibet and Mount Sagarmatha in Nepal
The Grand Dame of all Everest statistics, Ms. Elizabeth Hawley reports on the Himalayan Database that there have been 7,646 summits of Everest through June 2016 on all routes by 4,469 different people. 1,015 people, mostly Sherpa, have summited multiple times totaling 3,861 times (included in the 7,646 total summits). The Nepal side is more popular with 4,863 summits compared to 2,783 summits from the Tibet side. 197 climbers summited without supplemental oxygen, about 2.5%. 14 climbers have traversed from one side to the other.
282 people (168 westerners and 114 Sherpas) have died on Everest from 1924 to June 2016. Of the deaths, 109 died attempting to summit without using supplemental oxygen. 70 climbers died on the descent from the summit. The Nepalese side has seen 4,863 summits with 176 deaths through June 2016 or 3.7%. The Tibet side has seen 2,783 summits with 106 deaths through June 2016. or 3.8%. Most bodies are still on the mountain but China has removed many bodies from sight. The top cause of death was from a fall, avalanche, exposure and altitude sickness. 640 people summited in Spring 2016 from both sides and there were 5 Everest deaths.
Belgian Everest Climb 2016
In 2016 Paul Hegge and sofie started there expedition towards Everest by the Tibet side, climbing the North Side after a acclimatization trekking in Nepal, the South Side until Everest Basecamp.
The expedition was a experience off a lifetime with a successful summit on 21 may 2016 at 07:15 but for me personally, I felt disappointed to climb with supplemental oxygen. After this expedition we made the choice not to climb this way again and setted a new goal : climbing with my partner Stef Maginelle the Lhotse face 8516m in 2017 without the use of supplemental oxygen and without Sherpa Support. (more info about Lhotse expe click HERE)
Even when Everest is overrun by people, it still remains a beautiful mountain. The north side is my favorite side, with more rock climbing, less people and no dangerous khumbu icefall. But it has also some less attractive points like no beautiful trekking, no helicopter rescue, the lack of good communication with the Chinese Mountain association, the absent of a moraine basecamp close to the mountain.
Your choice depends off what you find the most important in your climb.
The high camps on Everest North side are better placed ; with less diversity in the altitude meters between camps. The highest camp is also higher than the South side, making the summit day less longer.
The first Belgian man to climb Everest was Rudy van Snick in 1990 and the first Belgian Woman was Ingrid Baeyens in 1992
In total 17 Belgians stood on the Summit of the highest peak on earth, counting one deathly tragedy in the descent.
Stef Maginelle climbed Mount Everest on the North Side in 2007, together with Bjorn Vandewege and Stijn Stant.
In 2016, there were 4 belgians to summit Everest, 2 from the South ; Jelle Veyt and Rudi van de poel and 2 from the North; Paul Hegge and me.
Itinerary North side
Here is the itinerary North side, given by Alan Arnette with my personal pictures
Base Camp (5666m) to Advanced Base Camp (ABC)( 6400m)
From BC to ABC it is about 22km of rugged hiking on boulders, ice and snow. The route follows the Rongbuk Glacier until it merges with the Eastern Rongbuk Glacier. ABC is on the northwestern side moraine of East Rongbuk Glacier, under the slopes of Changtse Mountain.
It normally takes 2 days for the first trip to ABC stopping at an interim camp. Once acclimatized, the trek takes 1 day. ABC is the primary High Camp home for Northeast Ridge climbers during the expedition. Climbers use the lower base camp for rest and preparation prior to their summit bid.
ABC to North Col (Camp 1)
(23,000'/7000m) The North Col camp is a 2,200' climb from ABC. Leaving Camp 1, climbers reach the East Rongbuk Glacier and put on their crampons for the first time. After a short walk, they clip into the fixed rope.
The climb from ABC to the North Col steadily gains altitude with one steep section of 60 degrees that will feel vertical. Climbers are clipped into the fixed rope and use their ascenders. Rappelling is used to descend this section. A few ladders may be placed over deep crevasses.
It takes between 4 to 7 hours to reach the North Col depending on acclimatizing and weather.
Camp 1 to Camp 2
(7500m) C2 starts the "High Camps". The route is usually pure snow but can be rock since this section is known for high winds.
It should take about 3 to 5 hours to reach C2. Some teams use this as their highest camp for acclimatization purposes
Camp 2 to Camp 3 (7900m)
Some expeditions do not use a Camp 3 and go directly to 8300 m. At almost 8000m, most climbers now sleep on supplemental oxygen.
The climb is extremely windy and the tents are on small rock ledges since there is limited large and level areas. At Camp 3, the wind is usually blocked by the North Face of Everest so sleeping is easier. Climbers will take 3 to 6 hours to reach C3.
This is equivalent to the South Col in altitude and exposure to the weather.
Camp 3 to Camp 4 (8300m)
Camp 4 (or Camp 3 if the previous camp is skipped) is a short rest stop on the way to the summit for most climbers. At 27,390', you do not want to spend a lot of time here. Climbers will have some food and water, perhaps a short nap and start for the summit around 10:00PM.
Leaving C3, climbers follow the fixed rope through a snow filled gully; part of the Yellow Band. From here, climbers take a small ramp and reach the northeast ridge proper.
The Northeast Ridge is a few hundred feet above C4.
Camp 4 to 2nd Step
The Northeast Ridge represents the most difficult climbing on this route. There are three "steps" or rock climbs along the way.
The 1st Step, the first of three rock features, is difficult at this altitude. The route tends to cross to the right of the high point. Some climbers may rate it as steep and challenging. It requires hard pulling on the fixed ropes in the final gully to the ridge.
Mushroom rock is a feature on the Ridge that spotters and climbers can use to measure their progress on summit night. Oxygen is swapped here. The route can be full of loose rock adding to the difficulty with crampons.
The 2nd step is the crux of the climb with the Chinese Ladder. Climbers must first climb about 10' of rock slab then climb the near vertical 30' ladder. This section is very exposed with a 10,000' vertical drop.
It is more difficult to navigate on the descent since you cannot see your feet placement on the ladder rungs.This brief section is notorious for long delays thus increasing the chance of frostbite or AMS.
Second Step to Summit
The 3rd Step is another straight forward rock climb but challenging at this altitude (nothing is easy anymore). Climbers now spend the next hour to climb the steep snowfields of the Summit Pyramid.
It is a steep snow slope, often windy and extremely cold, climbers feel very exposed. Towards the top of the Pyramid, climbers are extremely exposed again as they navigate around a large outcropping and experience three more small rock steps on a ramp before the final ridge climb to the summit.
The Summit Ridge is the final 500' horizontal distance along the ridge to the summit and is quite exposed. Slope angle range from 30 to 60 degrees. It is narrow with 10,000' drop-offs on both sides leading directly to the Everest Summit.
Now the climbers have spent 8 to 10 hours to summit. It will take another 4 to 6 to return to C3.
If you like more info about coverage 2016 North Side : http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2016/05/31/everest-2016-normal-season/
If you like more info about south Side Everest :
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