Everest: Two Waves of Summit Pushes See New British and World Records

A few days ago, Everest blogger Alan Arnette reported that an incoming weather window, combined with a useful covering of snow on the Lhotse face had created favourable conditions for climbing to the high camps. At the time, most teams were completing their rotations through the high camps, and fine tuning their plans for the summit push. Now, the first fruits of that weather window have emerged.

The first reported summit by the rope fixing team was on Friday 7th May. In mountaineering, the first climbers to summit the mountain in the season are responsible for fixing the ropes which subsequent summiteers will use in their own attempts. It’s an arduous job, one that is taken on by formidable sherpas. This year, the rope fixing team included Kami Rita Sherpa, who’s summit on Friday saw him set a new world record for the most summits of Everest, at 25- and with many clients still to climb this year some are suggesting he may add to his tally before the season is out.

Kami Rita Sherpa set a new world record of 25 Everest summits when he stood on top of the world on Friday as part of the rope fixing team.


Overnight on Monday 10th May, commercial team summit bids began in earnest. Wind speeds as low as 15 mph at the summit were predicted by computer models, making this a prime time to make the push. Amongst the first wave was a large group of 30 climbers from Bahrain who were seeking to become the first team from the nation to summit. In the first wave, it is thought that over 50 people summited, with many more ready and raring to go at the South Col.

Perhaps most notably for UK readers, the first wave also included Kenton Cool, who was bidding for his 15th summit, which would extend his own British record. Sure enough, at 6am local time on 11th May, Cool wrote his name in the record books when he stood on the summit with Dorji Gyalzen Sherpa. Impressively, this ties Cool with American Dave Hahn for most non-Sherpa summits, a record he will surely look to claim outright in the coming years. However, not content with the record equalling summit, Cool descended to Camp III where he quickly recovered and began the climb East to the summit of Lhotse (the 4th highest mountain in the world) which he reached on the morning of 12th May. Cool is no stranger to the Everest-Lhotse double, having previously become the first person to complete the triple crown of Manaslu, Everest and Lhotse in a single push of six days.

Kenton Cool is now tied with American Dave Hahn for the most Everest summits by a non-sherpa at 15.


Making the most of the same weather window which saw Kenton’s double, the second Everest wave began in the evening of 11th May. Over 50 people summited on the morning of the 12th, taking the total to over 150 across the two waves according to Alan Arnette. Arnette estimates that over 350 climbers and sherpas are yet to make their attempt as of 13th May, but an incoming cyclone might mean that they are pushed back to later than 20th May.

The first two summit pushes have provided some good news in amongst a growing COVID outbreak in Nepal, including at base camp, which has loomed over the climbers for the past few weeks. With conflicting messages regarding the situation in Nepal, and the US Government advising against travel to the country, there is huge uncertainty over what remains of the season this year. Only time, and the unravelling situation, will tell.