It’s May, summit month on Everest. This season several expeditions are particularly connected to the Mountainfilm in Telluride community.
Eddie Bauer/First Ascent’s team consists of Jake Norton, David Morton, Brent Bishop and Charley Mace and they are tackling the West Ridge route pioneered by Americans Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein. Norton is featured in the film Wild Love: Jake Norton and Wende Valentine, which will screen at this year’s festival and is about life, love and risk in the mountains.
Longtime Mountainfilm guest Conrad Anker is also ascending the West Ridge right now, but his expedition ran into trouble when his partner, Cory Richards, experienced unexplained health issues. There is speculation that Anker may attempt the summit with Simone Moro, who along with Richards, starred in the Charlie-Fowler Award-winning film, Cold. (To follow their progress, check Field Test on Everest: Dispatches from the Roof of the World.) Richards has returned to the U.S. and will attend the upcoming festival to exhibit his photos and receive the Galen Rowell Award from the American Alpine Club.
Elsewhere on the mountain is Telluride local HilareeO’Neil who is part of a team that is working with assorted groups that include The North Face, National Geographic, Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Army.
Dry conditions, rockfall and low-angle blue ice are thwarting climbing efforts this year and could change the plans for some of the alpinists attempting to summit. Then again, there are those who believe “Mount Everest is Completely Irrelevant.” At the same time, the mountain is susceptible to climate change and is on a list of Five Iconic Mountains Threatened by Climate Change.
Given the number of our friends on the peak this month, we just care that they are safe.