3G Cell Service on Everest

Mount Everest's Base Camp-France-Presse

Advice from a MOUNTAIN…
Reach new heights
There is Beauty as far as the eye can see
Be uplifting
Get to the point
Enjoy the view!
~Ilan Shamer

The New York Times recently posted that a new private Telecommunications company based in Nepal has installed eight 3G stations near the base of Mount Everest. They have now had success making calls from the famous base camp and are expecting that the 29,035-foot summit will have coverage also. Just think that the conversation of choice upon reaching the summit of Mount Everest might be, “How many bars do you have?”

I don’t know about you but this is just mind-boggling to me what technology and money now has the power to do. To read the complete article:
New York Times – Video Calls From the Top of the World

This really got me thinking about safety and my experiences with cell service coverage in the back country. I have climbed Mount Whitney, a challenging peak numerous times from various routes with friends, family, teenage boys and have yet to have had cell service on top of this famous peak. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet, is the most climbed peak in the Sierra Nevada (literally thousands climb this peak every year) and is located on the Sierra Nevada Crest a mere 13 miles west of the town of Lone Pine.

It was almost comical this year upon reaching this summit, to watch many intrepid hikers with cell phones in hand (including myself) looking for bars… any bars and to no avail. I was even informed that I might get service on the ridge below the peak. I had BIG plans: post blog entries, call my kids, and more importantly arrange for resupply at the trail head (we were a day early).

Through the years, I have witnessed on every single Mount Whitney climb a hiker in trouble from altitude sickness, injury, or hypothermia. This is a mountain to be reckoned with and should not be taken lightly. Maybe one day this post will seem silly and cell coverage is something that just is … not if.

In late June this last summer, the views from the top were one of a kind due to usually late snows and high snow pack. The video below is a 360 view from the top of Mount Whitney to either revisit for some or a virtual experience for others and I apologize ahead of time for the wind noise. I clearly state at the beginning of the video that there is no wind, but apparently the altitude had distorted my sense of reality. For me, I never tire of the intensity of the experience.

5 Comments

  1. Very interesting! It is amazing that there is cell coverage at Everest now. That seems to be the latest “tourist” destination!
    I got cell coverage when I climbed Whitney last year… I’ve got Verizon 🙂 A friend with AT&T didn’t get reception. I agree that it would be nice to have coverage on other parts of the trail to call for help, just as long as people don’t get a false sense of security. Just being able to call someone doesn’t mean that the mountain is any safer.
    Great post!

    • I had heard rumor that Verizon had service at the top of Whitney. Good to know.
      Boy you are so right! Hikers need to be prepared to get themselves out of all kinds of situations with proper equipment, knowledge, and clothing. Thanks for the info!

  2. That is so interesting. Maybe when I finally get trained to make the climb, I can call home. Yah right. Where will technology go before my life is over?? I can’t handle the changes now.

  3. Love this post, mom! Well done!

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