“We have canceled the Cho Oyu expedition because the weather will not be good for a long time,” Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, founder of Nepali expedition operator Pioneer Adventure, wrote to me today. His team is already back in Kathmandu.
Yesterday, Thursday, a summit attempt had been abandoned at Camp 3 at 7,200 meters. “We all feel like we are on winter expedition with this cold and wind,” Gelje Sherpa had described on Instagram the situation on the Nepali south side of the eight-thousander Cho Oyu. The wind had been “insane,” wrote the 29-year-old Nepalese. “We were in 70kph winds and we knew straight away this was not safe territory.”
“It was purely a head decision, not one of the heart,” ultra runner Holly Zimmermann tells me. The U.S. resident of Germany dropped out on the second day of the “Snowman Race” in Bhutan.
“I would have loved to see more mountains of the Himalayas, the beautiful valleys and the hospitable people who live there. But I was already late on the first day and walked for several hours in the dark. And that’s borderline in the Himalayas.” When she reached the roughly 5,200-meter-high Karchung La on the second leg, Holly pulled the ripcord: “I was too slow. It was going to be another very long day. I have four children at home, ranging in age from 14 to 21. I told myself, ‘Safety first’ and turned around.”
Nepal’s mountaineering star Nirmal, called ” Nims” Purja has escaped with his life in a serious parachute accident near the Spanish city of Seville. According to coinciding Spanish media reports, a 36-year-old fellow skydiver of Purja was killed in the accident on Friday.
The experienced skydiver, a soldier from the British special forces, had made a sport jump together with Purja from a height of around 4,500 meters, the Spanish news agency EFE reported. In freefall, the two first successfully completed some formation exercises and then opened their parachutes, it said. At around 1,000 meters, the two parachutes got tangled up.
Gerlinde and Manfred are on board. Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner – the first woman in the world to climb all eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen – and her partner, the yoga teacher Manfred Jericha want to collect donations for the aid project “School up – far west”, which I started, in their lectures and seminars. I am very happy about this prominent support from Austria and hereby expressly invite other mountaineers to join in.
Disappointed, sad, tired. This is how Ralf Dujmovits describes his emotional state after his failed expedition to the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal. Disappointed because he had to abandon three summit attempts due to bad weather. Sad about the accidents on the mountain with dead and injured climbers. Tired because the descent in the highest avalanche danger is in his bones. “It has been hissing all day around. Here a crack, there a crack, big snow slabs were released. The descent day was a horror,” Germany’s most successful high-altitude mountaineer tells me after his return. “That’s why I’m still so knocked out.”
A serious avalanche accident has occurred on the 5,670-meter-high Draupadi ka Danda II in northern India. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, a climbing school based in Uttarkashi, a town about 60 kilometers west of Tibet, said the avalanche hit a team of 34 trainees and seven instructors. Four bodies have been recovered so far, it said. The Indian news agency PTI reported at least ten dead, citing information from officials. Several people are reportedly still missing.
“It wasn’t meant to be,” says Ralf Dujmovits. He made three summit attempts during his Manaslu expedition, all three failed due to bad weather. Twice, fresh snow and the associated high avalanche risk stopped Germany’s most successful high-altitude mountaineer. Once it was extremely strong wind that made his ascent impossible without bottled oxygen. This time, the 60-year-old did not get beyond Camp 4 at 7,400 meters. “It was an absolute roller coaster of emotions,” Ralf tells me from the base camp before heading back to Kathmandu.
Dujmovits had already thought he was on the summit of Manaslu in spring 2007. As it turned out later, however, he had missed the “True Summit”. That is why Ralf had now returned to Manaslu once again. “If you’re an honest person and you realize you’ve made a mistake, of course you want to fix it,” he had told me before leaving for Nepal. “This is all about me, not about a (eight-thousander shrink) list or anything else.”
Actually, Ralf had planned today, Monday, as the summit day for an “attempt at the last minute,” as he had put it. In terms of weather, it would even have fit. “You won’t believe it. Today is the most magnificent day of the entire expedition,” Ralf says, and I can literally hear him shaking his head. “But because of all the fresh snow, it’s just way too dangerous.”
For the second time in a week, a large avalanche went down on the eight-thousander Manaslu in western Nepal. It hit the base camp today at around 4,800 meters. The videos circulating on social media (see below) , show a huge cloud of snow sweeping over parts of the camp. More than 30 tents of six teams were destroyed, writes Tashi Lakpa Sherpa of the largest Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks on Instagram. His team was well, he said. Other operators, such as Imagine Nepal, also rushed to assure that neither clients nor staff had been injured.
Seven Summit Treks also reported on two avalanches that had hit higher camps. According to information that reached me from the base camp, at least one Sherpa was killed. At least half a meter of fresh snow fell on the mountain overnight, it was said. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that no more bad news will reach us!