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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Himalaya Spring 2017: More Summits on Everest and Dhaulagiri, Near Miss on Shishapangma

The second big summit push is underway on Everest, and teams are now reaching the top with regularity as good weather has arrived once again. Expect a steady stream of climbers topping out over the next few days as the seasons begins to slowly grind to a halt. The days are most definitely numbered, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

IMG reports that they had 100% success with their team, putting 25 climbers on top of Everest from the South Side yesterday. They have another small squad making a summit push without oxygen and a lone climber heading up Lhotse today, so their work isn't quite done yet.

The Alpenglow team is on the North Side in Tibet, and are in position to summit today. Going with them will be Adrian Ballinger and Corey Richards, who are making a no O's ascent as part of the #EverestNoFilters project. Everyone is reportedly in good spirits, moving well, and ready to finish what they came to do. Also preparing to go for the summit today or tomorrow is German climber Ralf Dujmovits, who is attempting to complete his quest to stand on the summit without bottled oxygen as well.

Blind climber Andy Holzer is amongst those who summited earlier in the week. He made the final push to the top in just 8 hours, and spent 5 more descending to Camp 3. Holzer is now the second vision-impaired climber to reach the top of the tallest mountain on the planet, with Erik Weihenmayer accomplishing the same feat back in 2001.


Elsewhere, this past weekend Marco Confortola and Mario Casanova managed to summit Dhaulagiri. According to ExWeb it took the Italians 20 hours to complete the push to the summit. For Confortola, this was his 10th 8000-meter peak as he inches closer to nabbing all 14 of those big mountains. The team descended back to Base Camp without issues, and are now preparing to head home.

Over on Shishapangma, HervĂ© Barmasse and David Gottler came up just short in their efforts to summit along the very difficult South Wall. The two men managed to complete the ascent of that route, wrapping up what is perhaps the most daring and difficult climb of the season thus far, but they were forced to turn back from the summit just 3 meters from the top. Apparently, as they approached the final section of the climb, they were crossing over a snow cornice and could actually hear the snow and ice cracking around them. Rather than risk losing their lives on the final few meters, they wisely turned back.

Finally, more on the tragic death of the four climbers found at Camp 4 yesterday. Alan Arnette has weighed in on the topic, with the thought that perhaps he guides made a mistake by using their stoves inside the tent, without proper ventilation, causing carbon monoxide build up which eventually led to their death. Alan uses this opportunity to discuss the risks of going with a new, inexperienced, and less-well funded operator on Everest, where the guides may be inexperienced, lacking in proper training, and possibly not prepared for the summit themselves. It is an interesting read for anyone who is considering a climb with one of these "budget" guide services.

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