Everest Sherpas battle crevasses on Khumbu Icefall route
Sherpas repairing the climbing route on Mount Everest destroyed by the Nepal earthquake in April say they have had to overcome huge new crevasses.
They have spent days battling up the Khumbu Icefall between Base Camp and Camp One, with many new crevasses giving way.
Despite this, the "icefall doctors" managed to reach Camp One this week.
The icefall is one of the most dangerous stretches of the route to the world's highest point.
Team leader Ang Kami Sherpa told the BBC Camp One appeared to have dropped from its earlier height and that much of the equipment left behind by mountaineers in the spring has been buried under thick snow.
"Snow is still piling up in many areas because avalanches have continued in the region probably because the mountain slopes overlooking the icefall have been shaken by the quake," he said.
The Sherpas say they have finished repairing the route between Base Camp and Camp One, while only a small stretch to Camp Two remains to be done.
"Now that we have fixed ropes and ladders with all that difficulty, it will not be as difficult for the mountaineers but it will certainly be harder than the usual climb for them."
The 25 April quake killed more than 9,000 people around Nepal.
It caused avalanches in the Everest region, killing 18 people at Base Camp. Further avalanches then made it impossible for icefall doctors to repair the route, leading to the cancellation of all expeditions this spring.
The route-fixing Sherpas went back two weeks ago to prepare the path for the autumn expedition season which begins this month.
Only one team, with two Japanese climbers, is climbing Everest this year. They're currently at Base Camp. One of them, Nobokazu Kuriki, plans to go it alone from Camp Two.
But other teams scaling Lhotse and Nuptse will also be using the same Khumbu Icefall route.
In May 2014, a massive avalanche killed 16 support climbers, prompting Sherpas to boycott all expeditions.
That prompted authorities to move the climbing route towards the middle of the Khumbu Icefall to avoid climbers being hit by avalanches this year.
China is yet to reopen its side of the route to the Everest summit after it was closed following landslides in Tibet caused by the April quakes.
The Nepalese government and the country's tourism industry have been trying to reassure tourists that Nepal is now safe to return to.
Officials said 30 teams with more than 200 climbers had obtained permits for this season.
More than half will attempt Mount Manaslu, the world's eighth highest mountain, which is in one of the worst quake-hit areas to the north west of Kathmandu.
The chairman of the Expedition Operators' Association Nepal, Dambar Parajuli, said climbers had encountered no problems so far.