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Everest 2020 Canceled due to Fears of Coronavirus Hitting Base Camps

By Maggie Eshbaugh March 11, 2020

 

Everest 2020 Expedition Canceled

With a heavy heart, we are announcing the cancelation of our Everest 2020 expedition. Today China announced that it has shut down the Tibet side of Mt. Everest due to fears of Coronavirus hitting base camps, one of the most remote and inhospitable environments in the world.

Adrian Ballinger reports, “While I am saddened for all the hard work our members, guides, Sherpa, local staff, partners and office have put in, and that they and we won’t get to test ourselves on the highest playground in the world this year, I am in agreement with China’s decision. It is responsible, and the same one Alpenglow Expeditions was inevitably leaning towards in the past days. Climbing a mountain is not currently worth the transmission risk in the Base Camps, nor upon returning home.”

 

What risks does Coronavirus pose to climbers on Everest?

In high altitude conditions, where breathing is already a challenge, the novel Coronavirus, which attacks the respiratory system, would be life-threatening.  The tight-knit base camp communities where climbers assemble before summiting would also be susceptible to a rapid spread of the viral infection.

“Our concern would be getting someone stricken by the virus safely off the mountain,” explains Ballinger. “Receiving appropriate medical attention at a remote site like this would be very challenging, and getting someone home, while ill, a logistical nightmare.”

 

Why won’t Alpenglow Expeditions switch to climbing on the south side?

Switching the climbing route over to Nepal, which allows access to the southern side of the mountain, is also not an option for our teams. We made the decision to stop climbing on the south side in 2014, primarily due to the extreme objective hazard posed by the Khumbu Icefall. You can read a bit more about why we choose to climb on the north side here. This hazard has not changed, thus we wouldn’t consider a switch to the south side regardless. The threat of COVID-19 has only added to this mix. The transmission risk combined with the healthcare system in Nepal is a combination that we are not comfortable with.

 

All Other International Expeditions & Tahoe Programs

We are closely monitoring the CDC, WHO, and federal, state, and local authorities for updates on the Coronavirus situation. At this time, no other international expeditions or local programs are impacted. We will reach out directly if there are any changes that may affect your upcoming trip. As usual, please feel free to reach out to the office with any concerns or questions. Call us at 877-873-5376 or send us an email info@alpenglowexpeditions.com.

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