Nobody knew what to expect from Everest's first climbing season during a pandemic, however the mountain has already set two records for 2021.
On 15 April Everest base camp recorded the first confirmed case of Covid 19. That same week the number of seasonal climbing permits broke the all-time high of 381, set in 2019.
Both numbers have continued to climb.
Yesterday, the Himalayan Rescue Association reported 17 possible cases among climbers evacuated from Everest base camp.
The country in the Himalayas is the most popular route to Everest. Each year there is a brief window for mountaineers to try and reach the summit. Climbing the highest mountain in the world is still an ultimate goal for many adventure tourists.
Last year's season was cut short by the Covid 19 Pandemic. Everest's approach from Tibet was the first to be affected by the virus, with China halting climbing permits from 11 March, 2020. Nepal followed, suspending visas from 14 March, well before the annual climbing window.
However, when the Department of Tourism in Kathmandu said it had resumed granting permits this March, it was hard to predict the uptake. Initially Kathmandu said it expected around 300 climbers this spring.
Those wishing to scale mountains still have to quarantine in a hotel in the capital and provide negative test results for the coronavirus.
The BBC reported that some expedition members tested positive before climbing. Norwegian mountaineer Erlend Ness became the first person to test positive on return from base camp two weeks ago.
Airlifted from the mountain with suspected altitude sickness, Ness returned three positive tests for the virus in Kathmandu.
Nepal a 'mini India'
Nepal sits at the roof of the world but also the border of India.
Just as India is reporting a crisis and the fastest growing outbreak in Covid 19 cases, Nepal is also seeing a peak.
Health officials in the Banke District next to Uttar Pradesh said Nepal risked turning into a "mini India", as daily cases mirrored the spike across the border.
"The situation is out of control," staff at the local hospital told the Guardian on Friday.
Nepal shares a lot of history and the country is affected by many trends that happen in its larger neighbour. However the Covid 19 wave is disturbing.
Last week Nepal saw daily cases peak at 7,587, a new record and a 3600 per cent increase on the seven-day average at the beginning of April.
The upward trend is only a few days behind India. Relative cases per million are rising to meed India's.
In the Kathmandu Valley, scenes of outdoor cremations on the bank of the Bagmati River are eerily similar to those first seen in India.
Record cases, record permits
Amid this new Covid 19 peak, last Friday the Department of Tourism published the news that a record 408 permits have been granted this season.
Mountaineering is a huge source of revenue for Nepal's guides, tourism operators and the governing bodies granting permits. According to Kathmandu, the foreign climbers spend an average of 2 months in Nepal, with each spending between $40000 to $138000 over a climb.
Everest alone is worth around $400 million in tourism revenue to Nepal.
New Zealand mountaineering has a long-held links to the region, since before Hillary and Norgay first made the first successful Everest climb in 1953.
The county's inbound adventure tourism operators represent a large proportion of the expedition guides.
A spokesperson for New Zealand Alpine Club confirmed that New Zealanders are among those on the mountain this season.
"The effects of COVID-19 have been significant to the New Zealand and international climbing community and as a result, to the climbing reliant industry of Nepal," said the Club's spokesperson.
"We understand that an Everest climbing season was opened up to international assents and that some New Zealanders are among the teams. We expect that all due considerations and precautions will be taken by the teams and their supporting networks."
Currently the contact tracing and record of transmission is patchy for Nepal's mountaineers. With no official test facility at the mountain, mapping the possible spread of Covid at mountain camps is hard to verify.
Some larger expedition groups have their own portable testing kits, to help distinguish altitude sickness from potential virus cases.
Dr Prakash Kharel at the Base camp clinic told the BBC there was a persistant rise in climbers arriving with flu-like symptoms.
"Almost all climbers get a cough here, but we are seeing people with other symptoms, and we are making sure that they stay in isolation," said Dr Kharel .