Visualizing Everest Expeditions. An End-To-End Data Visualization… | by Karla Hernandez | Jan, 2024

Missing Dates & Elevations

Most entries in the campsites column have this form:


A string of camp names, dates (in DD/MM format), and elevations (in meters). In the example above, the first camp is “BC” (base camp), the expedition camped there on 08/12, and the elevation of the campsite was 5400m. Unfortunately, dates and elevations are sometimes missing. For example, expedition EVER84101 (or EVER84101–1984 under the new expedition ID) has the following campsite information:


As you can see, some campsite dates and elevations are missing for this expedition. We should be able to estimate campsite elevations by looking at other expeditions, at least for most campsites. For example, the campsite C1 was probably around 6000m in elevation (based on the first campsite record I shared). We can also estimate a date for the BC campsite (if it were missing) based on the value in the bcdate column, but we can’t estimate dates for the C1, C3, and C3, campsites. This means we can’t use these campsites as waypoints for the expedition. I decided to drop waypoints where I couldn’t recover date and elevation from an expedition’s elevation profile.

Missing Information Altogether

In other cases, the campsite field simply has text that says things like “See route note descriptions for individual teams” or “see route details”. In theory it’s possible to recover some information from the route details text which looks something like this:

South Side Camp Details:
BC at closest possible site to Icefall
C1 at top of Icefall
C2 at bottom of Lhotse Face in Cwm (normal site)
C3 on Lhotse Face right of Geneva Spur
C4 at South Col
C5 on SE Ridge (halfway South Col-South Summit).


North Side Camp Details:

BC(06/03,5154m),C1(11/03,5500m),C2(12/03,6000m),ABC C3(17/03,6500m),

South team had to hurry up to catch up with N side climbers because were 10 days late at BC due to transport problems to BC (after 29 March in almost daily walkie-talkie radio contact with north side). No mountaineering problems but communications problems among 3 nationalities who had "quite different" ideas especially "Chinese who had quite a bureaucratic inflexible attitude." Chinese were CMA staffers or TMA staff members, not army who had to obey orders from North BC or later when contact established by radio with Beijing, orders from Beijing of what they must do - where as most Japanese members paid some fees to join. Nepalese on salary from NMA but were quite familiar to Japanese. Tibetans could not speak frankly to others because "observers" were in BC who were Han Chinese and Han Chinese at BC could not differ with Beijing.

South side climbing not much snow, so had packed ice. Icefall very dry and stable - on summit climb 5 May, deep snow on ridge. 5 May summit group planned to be 2 traversing parties: Top Bahadur Khatri in 2nd group but miscalculated oxygen supply with not enough on South Col: 24 bottles were there Ok but 17 or 18 empty on 4 May when these 6 and 6 support members on Col or above, hoping all to go to top. 2 Chinese were to go so went, Ang Phurba followed them to C5 to 8300m on 4 May - not enough oxygen at 8300m for Kitamura to go with them, so he stayed at C4 and tried to go to top on 5th from C4 early morning in very strong wind. Khatri and Isona and supporting members including Sungdare did not try to go up because oxygen at Col only enough for one summiter from there. Kitamura reached South Summit at 3:00 pm; was told it too late for him to continue, leadership felt, and told Yamada to bring him down.

7 May Beijing said climb finished but young Japanese and some Nepalese climbers did not agree. 6 Nepalese went to South Col: Sungdare, Padam Bahadur Tamang, Ang Karma, Ang Rita (Thami), Narayan Shrestha and Hira Bahadur Rana - why all 6 did not reach summit Isono doesn't know. Nepalese defied end of climb decision and it was their country, but Japanese were not permitted to continue, much to their unhappiness.

South Chinese climbing leader stayed in North Col camp with Shigehiro at end of climbing period.

North side 3 stages of climb:

1) make camps and carry loads to N Col,
2) do same to C6 with loads but not occupy higher camps - then all down
to BC for rest,
3) complete climb

In 1st stages down to BC when bad weather came after C3 established. In 2nd stage C6 reached but not slept in for 1st time on 9th April. In 3rd stage C6 occupied and rest of climb completed. Did not at any time have to wait for south side climbers to make progress because south side route easier to climb and number of camps less and fact summit date fixed for 5 May. team led by Yamada who knew south route. 6 Yamada selected before leaving Japan so could descend without south side climbers to guide them down. Oxygen used in C5 sleeping, same members climbing above C5, all members sleeping in C6 and C8 and climbing above C7. From summit Yamada left about 10:30 am with Ang Lhakpa and Cerin Douji. Linert Yamada party at top and left 11:00 am. Lhakpa Sona and Yamoumoto left 12:30 pm. Camera crew reached top just few minutes before south side trio arrived and left at 1:00 pm. 2nd traverse team in C5 ready to go to top (had ferried oxygen and food and fuel to C6 on 6 May) when decision taken late night 6 May by Chinese leader (final decision taken 3:00 am 7 May Chinese time) so 2nd team to N Col 7 May. In 2nd team was Mitani who would have been his 4th ascent.


You can see the campsite information we want is available near the start of the document (there are actually two teams):

noth_side = BC(28/03,5350m),C1(04/04,6000m),ABC(11/04,6500m),C3(19/04,7300m), C4(28/04,7986m),C5(04/05,8300m),Smt(05,10/05)
south_side = BC(06/03,5154m),C1(11/03,5500m),C2(12/03,6000m),ABC C3(17/03,6500m),C4(01/04,7028m),C5(08/04,7790m),C6(02/05,8200m),C7(04/05,8680m),Smt(05/05)

I decided not to attempt to recover campsite information from the route details. The main reason was that the text was not available in the expeditions data I extracted, and I would need to either:

  • borrow my friend’s laptop again to see if the route details data was available,
  • or write a web scraper with Selenium to extract route details from The Himalayan Database Online page.

Then, I would need to automate extracting campsite information. Because I was creating this visualization for fun, I decided not to go down this road and instead removed this type of record from the visualization.

Multiple Teams

Another problem with campsite descriptions is that some expeditions have information for multiple teams:

BC(05-06/08,5250m),ABC(15-16/08,5821m),C1(20/08,6248m); W-Ridge.C2(03,05/09,6700m),C3(08/09,6900m)xxx(10/09,7240m); N-Face-xxx(23/09,7315m) (see route notes)

In these cases, I kept only the first route.

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