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Everest Team Safely Descended to Advanced Base Camp

Lines fixed to the summit. Team’s high point at 8,500m.

During yesterday’s summit push, teams experienced a systemic failure of their oxygen systems. In the interest of everyone’s safety, the team made the tough decision to abandon their summit push and return to lower elevation. All team members, guides, and Sherpa have safely descended to Advanced Base Camp.

Guide Adrian Ballinger’s account of the situation, “As day broke, we were two teams – one at 28,000 feet; the other at 28,500 feet. Our night had been perfect – still, warm, and with all 25 of our guides, Sherpa and members looking strong and confident. And then it happened – we experienced a systemic failure of our oxygen systems. Within an hour, almost 50% of our regulators had failed. And that’s when Everest demanded everything we had. Climbers buddy-breathed with guides; our strongest Sherpa (those that still had functioning oxygen) handed off their oxygen systems to members and descended without; and everyone without question gave up on a summit to ensure our team got down alive. It’s not the experience I wanted to have today. But I am so proud of our team. Thank you to Sherpa, members, guides and BC staff. You did it all right today.”

Teams will continue their descent to Everest Base Camp and return home in a few days. They have decided against making another summit attempt. The enormous effort that it takes to reach 8,500m burns through the body’s reserves. In the climbing community, it is well known that exhaustion breeds accidents, so, in the interest of safety, the team has decided to pack up their climbing boots and call it a season.


Teams departing Camp 3 at 2am.

Climber Jim Morrison: “I was just to the ridge where you can see into Nepal and chaos came over the radio.” {The Everest Rapid Ascent Team ahead of us} “had a sudden batch of oxygen regulators fail. A moment later my backpack emitted a venomous roar and all my precious oxygen dissipated into 8,500 meter air. No big deal, we have backups so I just waited for Adrian and explained what happened. We replaced and moved on up through the first step where the radio did its thing again. And then on cue my regulator blew, all backups were being rushed to the other team, and we were out!”

Mingma Sherpa was climbing with Jim. Mingma “just took his mask and handed it to me. We descended and shared the one mask, me on it and him refusing to take it. An incredible swift climb turned to a different adventure.”

Multiple other teams on the mountain who were using the same oxygen system experienced failures. The cause of the mass regulator malfunction is being investigated. The entire Everest community is aware of the situation and is taking appropriate cautions. At this time, no injuries have been reported.