The Khumbu Icefall is a dangerous place, with shifting ice, toppling seracs and deep crevasses, and it’s often a crux for teams hoping to climb Mount Everest. However, the fixing of a new approach will change the game for many hopeful summiteers.
Himalayan climbers Alan Batard and Yorick Vion recently set out to establish a climb that would avoid the Khumbu by ascending a nearby peak. The team included Jean-Marc Demoz, Lucien Boucansaud and Vincent Gouyet. They climbed a previously unclimbed summit at 5,888 metres, which Batard has called Sundare, named after a mentor Sherpa to Batard.
Batard reported his new 700-metre route to Le Dauphine, and said that it’s now fixed with a kilometre of rope secured to fixed expansion bolts. Batard and Vion said they’ll return in the spring to complete the route which will follow a rocky ridge to a snow slope and eventually camp two of the regular route on Everest.
The long term goal of the new approach is to fix it with metal railings and clip-in points, sort of like a via ferrata. The point of that is to provide safe passage for Sherpa carrying loads up the mountain. Batard said the new route is similar to the Hörnli route on the Matterhorn.