Alan Arnette has been reporting on his own mountain climbs and others since 1999. Now he's adding a podcast, The Podcast on alanarnette.com.
Arnette is the oldest American to summit K2 on his 58th birthday and has summited Everest and seven of the eight seven summits.
Everest 2021: Interview with Garrett Madison from Everest Base Camp on COVID
I caught up with Garrett Madison, founder of Madison Mountaineering from Everest Base Camp. He describes #Everest2021 thus far as they prepare for a 2:00 am departure back to Camps 1 and 2 in the Western Cwm. This will be their last rotation before the summit push in a couple of weeks. I asked him how his team, Madison Mountaineering, was doing with the COVID outbreak at EBC.
I talk in the beginning about the virus situation at EBC and the possible scenarios that could unfold over the next few weeks. Garrett's section begins at 7:45 in this short interview.
Everest 2021: Guide Interview with Kenton Cool
Kenton Cool is one of the premier climbers from the United Kingdom. Among his many accomplishments, he skied the 8000er Cho Oyu, made the first, and thus far only, climb of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse in seven days in 2013. And he has summited Everest 14 times. He's currently on Everest with a client attempting his 15th which would tie American Dave Hahn for the most non-Sherpa summits of Everest.
I caught up with Kenton while he was in Namache Bazzar recovering from his acclimatization rotations in prep for the summit bid. We discussed the allure of Everest, a bit of history, his own long-time interaction with the mountain, and the conditions this year.
It's a fun, fascinating interview I hope you enjoy.
Everest 2021: Weekend Update May 2
It's clear that there is or has been COVID at Everest Base Camp. Well, at least it clear that people who had it there were taken to Kathmandu where they tested positive and are receiving treatment. It's also clear that Nepal is seeing a huge spike in new cases and has gone under lockdown once again. Finally, it's clear that India has become a super-spreader country and needs global help to respond.
Nepal tourism officials continue to deny there are any problems at base camp other than one person who had pneumonia. The guides, both foreign and domestic, are posting only climbing updates with no mention of the virus. This includes those who are well-known to have multiple cases within their teams and some who have been evacuated.
Now, on to climbing. Many, many teams are doing their rotations and report no issues. Of course, there are the usual problems with a few people having altitude issues or GI problems, but this is to be expected each year. The conditions are reported as good, albeit with the Lhotse Face being a bit harder than normal due to the lack of snow. Also, the Khumbu Icefall appears to be in good shape, however, the route is taking a bit longer than in previous years but not being a major obstacle. There are a few comments on lines at the few ladders due to the record number of climbers on the mountain in the spring of 2021.
At last count, Nepal has issued a record 408 Everest permits.
Interview with Ed Viesturs and David Schaeffer of Himali gear company
Ed Viesturs has joined David Scheffer's Himali gear company. I interview the pair about how they met, Ed's contribution to an updated product line, and Ed's project with Inspiration4 - the first civilian space flight in history.
University of Colorado graduate, David Schaeffer started the outdoor gear company, Himali, in 2014 along with Tendi Sherpa. Today, the Boulder, Colorado company has grown nicely and, in my opinion, is about to really take off. Ed Viesturs, known globally as an author, speaker, and the only American to have summited all 14 of the 8000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen have come together. They will introduce a new line based on Ed's input this autumn.
I spoke with both about how they came together and their plans, and an interesting project Ed is working on, the first full civilian space travel in history, Inspiration4. Also, Dave plans to make Moon Suits!!
Everest 2021: Teams in the Western Cwm, EBC COVID Evacuations
Climbers in the Western Cwm are extending their stays to avoid EBC with the current spat of COVID evacuations. Good weather is allowing climbers to tag Camp 3 at almost 7,000-meters. The rope fixing teams reached the South Col. I expect the summit in a few days.
Everest 2021: The Missing Jet Stream
With climbers enjoying excellent weather while in the Western Cwm, meteorologists are seeing a strange phenomenon - a missing jet stream. These high winds aloft are the key for summiting Everest in particular. When the jet is off the summit, the winds drop below 30 mph, the maximum most guides will let their clients climb in. When on top of the peak, which is almost all year long, the summit is too dangerous. Climbers have been known to be blown off mountain tops.
This could foretell good luck for the crowded mountain. In 2018 there were 11 consecutive days of low winds that allowed crowds to spread out. Of course, the nightmare scenario occurred in 2019 when there were only three suitable days of low winds thus hundreds of climbers were squeezed into those few days creating massive lines high on the peak.
I spoke with meteorologist Chris Tomer about the Jet Stream and other elements of mountain weather and forecasting for Everest climbers. Chris forecasts the weather for KDVR FOX-31 and KWGN Channel 2 in Denver. He also provides weather forecasts for climbers throughout the world.
I’ve long followed Alan’s blog and, as a Twitter newbie, started following him there a couple of months ago. Not sure why it took me until today to listen to the podcast. It’s beyond enjoyable, particularly because Alan knows climbing so incredibly well. I have been binging all of the Everest coverage for this year (2021) and his vivid descriptions take me back to my treks to Everest via Kathmandu, Lukla, and Tengboche. Cannot recommend this enough if you’re a climber or into climbing!