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Climbing Routes Up Mount Everest

Everest is not the world's tallest mountain for nothing. Climbing it takes long and careful planning and preparation. Thus, we have this section on Everest's Approach and Climbing Routes. While this may not be discussed in great detail, we hope that this would give you an idea of the amount of physical, mental and even logistical preparation you have to make for this trip. Take note of the following before you even grab your rappel devices, boots, and backpacks.

Approach Routes

Most parties fly from Kathmandu to Lukla. There, one spends about one week walking up through the spectacular mountain scenery of Sola Khumbu, passing Namche bazaar and the famous Thyangboche monastery on the way to base camp. Sherpa staff will normally carry your luggage on yaks to Base Camp ready for the team's arrival. If you have 10 days to spare, then a nice slow acclimatization stay is to walk-in from the roadhead.

Trucks can drive all the way to the Northern Base Camp at the beginning of the Rongbuk Glacier at 5200 meters, just a few miles from the Rongbuk Monastery. It is therefore possible to do this journey from Kathmandu in just two days. However, this is not recommended - it is a too sudden height gain and could be very dangerous. An acclimatizing stopover at about 4000 m is frequently recommended.

Arrived at Base Camp, yaks are normally hired to take supplies from Base Camp to the Advance Base Camp via the East Rongbuk Glacier just below the North Col. This northern approach is a beautiful walk with stunning views of the Everest and the surrounding peaks.

Climbing Routes Up Mount Everest

So far, there are four established Climbing Routes that Climbing teams could take. Each have different characteristics and degree of difficulty in Climbing which are described below. South Col or South East Ridge Route
  1. South Col/South East Ridge
    This is the most popular way up to the summit (it is also called the "yak" route) but should never be underestimated. It is extremely long with a variety of difficulties (mainly on snow and ice) over four main sections: the dangerous Khumbu Icefall, the steady plod up the Western Cwm, the steeper 1500m high Lhotse Face, and the long, long summit day from the South Col, first up a broad couloir, then along the South East Ridge, with a final sting-in-the-tail at the Hillary Step, just below the top.

  2. South West Face Central Couloir
    The first ascent via this route was in 1975 and has only been repeated a few times since then. From the Western Cwm, the route climbs the huge Y-shaped couloir, taking the left fork through the rockband, then traversing back right across the face and up a gully to the South Summit and the final section of the East Ridge.

  3. North Ridge/North East Ridge
    This Climbing route is shorter than the South Col route. The Climbing already starts from the Advance Base at 6400m on the East Rongbuk Glacier. Above the North Col, the route becomes increasingly rocky with awkward terrain - vicious and frequent winds between 7000m and 8000m. Although the top camp is higher than the one on the South Col, the summit day itself is definitely harder.

  4. North Face - Messner Variant
    When Reinhold Messner made the first solo ascent in 1980, he climbed about halfway up the North Ridge, then traversed to the right to the Great Couloir, which he followed, bearing right to the summit.


There are many ways to climb Everest and only your Climbing ability and other factors like logistics will prevent you from exploring those possibilities. What you read above are just the usual Approaches and Climbing Routes. If you dare to take the risk then you may take the path where others haven't been to. But the stakes are high and Everest doesn't seem to be too fond of people who are bent on reaching her summit. But who knows, she might allow you to make that adventure?



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