09 Apr 2015 , Khumbu Icefall, Mt. Everest
On April 8, 2015 SPCC’s Icefall Doctors completed the setting of a new route through the Khumbu Icefall for this year’s Everest spring season. The previous route used until last year ran along the Lola pass to the left side of the Icefall. This year’s route will run through the centre of the Icefall.
The SPCC’s team of Icefall Doctors, Ang Kami Sherpa, Ang Sarki Sherpa, Nim Dorjee Sherpa, Temba Sherpa, Mingma Tsiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa, Thukten Dorjee Sherpa, and Phu Chettar Sherpa began setting the route on 14 March 2015. Aided by aerial photographs taken by David Breashears following last year’s avalanche, they mapped out a new route from Base Camp to Camp I. From Camp I onwards, the preexisting routes will be followed.
The central route significantly reduces the risk of encountering serac collapses and avalanches such as the one experienced during the tragedy of the Spring 2014 season. However, the new route does present new challenges, particularly the need to cross more crevasses and the increased use of both vertical and horizontal ladders. The new route involves steeper ladder climbs and longer climbs involving multiple ladders joined together. The SPCC therefore recommends operators, workers, and climbers strictly exercise the following safety precautions: 1) have only one climber on any ladder at any given time; 2) lighten and limit loads carried by individual high altitude mountain workers so as not to overload the ladders; 3) strictly adhere to safety measures such as clipping harnesses to safety ropes while on ladders.
The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) is a community-based NGO established by the local Sherpa people of Khumbu in 1991. It is the lead organization working to manage waste in the three Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Chaurikhara, Namche, and Khumjung, which form the Sagarmatha National Park and its Buffer Zone and also encompass the core Everest trekking area. Since 1997, the SPCC has been contracted by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA)to set the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall each year. The SPCC also works to check climbing permits, monitor illegal climbing, and implement waste management strategies at the base camps of the Khumbu area’s mountains and peaks including Mt. Everest.
For further information on the Icefall Doctors and the SPCC, please contact:
Ms. Yangji Doma Sherpa
Public Relations Officer