Last year we speculated that the Hillary Step, one of the most prominent landmarks on the route to the summit of Everest on the South Side, may have been destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. The iconic spot was named for Sir Edmund Hillary of course, who scrambled up that section of the mountain on his way to the first ascent with Tenzing Norgay back in 1953. That part of the climb has always told climbers that they were closing in on the summit, and was an important access point for climbers who may not have had the technical skills necessary to complete the ascent. Now, it appears that there is more evidence that the Step is gone, and it could cause problems for future alpinists.
When news broke last year that the Hillary Step was no longer on the mountain, there were some that said that it was indeed still there, but it was covered in a lot of snow and ice, altering its look. When climbers approached, they still found a similarly shaped obstacle that had to be overcome on the way to the top, leading many to believe that everything was normal, but things just looked a bit differently. But now, it appears that those reports may have been wrong.
According to a report posted by Alan Arnette. climbers Tim Mosedale and Scott Mac summited Everest earlier this week just behind the rope fixing team. On the way up, the discovered that the route was indeed a bit more technical than normal, and that the Hillary Step was no longer there. Mosedale is quoted as saying:
"The route from the South summit is reasonably technical and, shock horror, there’s no Hillary Step. The next thing you know we’re on the summit enjoying the views and the sense of achievement."He later posted the photo above with another quote:
"It’s official – The Hillary Step is no more. Not sure what’s going to happen when the snow ridge doesn’t form because there’s some huge blocks randomly perched hither and thither which will be quite tricky to negotiate."
So there you have it, it seems this iconic point that has been a part of the Everest climb for decades is now gone. How that will impact the summit push ahead remains to be seen, but it sounds like it will have a bigger role in years to come, when there might not be as much snow on the mountain. We'll just have to wait to see.
This season continues to get more and more interesting.