Costa Mesa, California

May 15, 2021

Dear Family & Friends:

The 2021 Everest season is in full swing. Covid 19 dominated the early news because of the fresh outbreak of the deadly virus in India, Nepal and even Everest Base Camp. Most teams have elected to hunker down and continue their expeditions. Fortunately, the weather has been cooperative, as the jet stream kept its distance from the mountain. However, in the last couple of days, the jet stream has moved from the south back over the summit, forcing teams to delay their summit moves. The hope is that, next week, the jet stream will continue to move north into China and provide summit windows for the climbers patiently waiting at Base Camp.

Over 150 climbers have summited Mt. Everest this season. Sadly, there have been two deaths. Abdul Waraich, 41, a Swiss climber, reached the summit, but succumbed on the way down at the South Summit, just below the true summit. A team of Sherpas tried to attend to him, but could not save his life. Puwei Liu, 55, an American climber, decided to turn around at the Hillary Step and descend to Camp 4 on the South Col. He fell ill, which was compounded by snow blindness. He was helped down to Camp 4 but died in his tent. Mr. Liu is survived by his wife and three children, one in college and the other two in high school. Both deaths were attributed to exhaustion. I offer my deepest condolences to both families. Alan Arnette has posted an excellent blog titled “Everest 2021: A Look at Deaths on Everest.”

ESPN published a very thorough article on the history of the last 100 years on Mt. Everest. I am quoted at the beginning of the article discussing the dangers inherent in descending an alpine mountain. If you are interested in learning about this history, you should read this interesting article. A recent article in the New York Times has also received a lot of attention. The article raises the provocative question “What is a Summit.”