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The scoop on the Everest Weather Window
image story

May 14, 2005 00: 04 EST

Everest climbers are looking up. Where’s the window? With the jet wind parked right on top of Everest and the surrounding 8000ers in the past week, climbers are getting fired up by weather reports promising the jet moving south by Saturday, and the 60-80 mph winds to come down to 15-25 m/s (30-50 mph) at summit level.

Window not yet ready to open wide

The Monsoon is often instrumental for an Everest weather window. It’s no rocket science: When the monsoon starts moving in over Sri Lanka, it pushes the Jet and bad weather north of Everest. The result is most often a week or two of low summit winds, little precipitation and great climbing conditions.

Monsoon the key

The Monsoon is also normally accompanied by cyclones forming in the Bay of Bengal. Alert climbers thus check for the Monsoon to form, and to start moving – and also for the presence of the cyclones. This year we have had no indications of any of this yet.

May 15, 18 and 22

Last year the Monsoon was 5 days early allowing for the earliest weather window in recent Everest history. Winds dropped significantly on the 15th and allowed for more than 100 summits in three days. In 2003, the winds dropped on the 18th and in 2002 on the 22nd of May.

According to IMD (Indian Met Department), with regards to timing and strength, we are up for an average Monsoon this year.

Weather Window not always calm

At an altitude of almost 9000 meters, calm doesn’t necessarily mean windless. While end of May in 2002 and 2004 sported prolonged periods of low wind, in 2003 the wind speeds varied. The average wind is however almost always lower end May compared to the beginning of the month.

When to summit?

Starting tomorrow (Sunday) the winds are predicted to come down to 15 m/s (even 10 in some instances) at he summit , which would allow for successful summit bids, but only by very experienced climbers or by climbers lucky enough to catch temporary patches of low wind.

The real opportunities for good weather and the best chances of success are most probably still a week or more away.

Check the links section for more info on Monsoon and weather.

ExplorersWeb is active in various Himalayan projects, including medical camps, technology and - weather. ExWeb's AdventureWeather has done Everest weather for 9 seasons now. It's a unique service, the most advanced and reliable setup in history for Himalayan peaks - and - it's free! Why? Because it is set up by climbers, for climbers.

In order to get the best forecasts possible, ExWeb has selected the foremost sources available in the world.

WNI, or Weathernews (US), is the world's largest, publicly-traded, full-service weather company. They continuously invest in the development of new scientific innovations and their forecast and service centers around the world operate 24/7/365, all day, every day. The company specializes in extreme weather forecasting.

SMHI is the National Swedish Meteorological Institute. If you ever fly on a commercial Jet to Sweden, these guys, with HQ in Arlanda (Swedens main Airport), will be the ones giving the weather report to your flight Captain. The Institute is responsible for all National commercial and environmental weather plans and decisions.

Both companies have been kind enough to sponsor Himalayan climbers at a lower cost (covered by ExWeb) the same service they offer hard paying clients of commercial airlines and oil rigs. They are the best satellite images, the best super computer models, the man made interpretations of both (synopses) and live, interactive weather briefings with numerous experienced meteorologists and risk communicators.

High altitude climbers review the forecasts before they are sent out, and climbers give feedbacks on the results when they come home.

Image of sunrise over Everest summit, ExplorersWeb files.

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