8000er weekend summary: Kami Rita’s record, summit successes and two deaths

Kami Rita Sherpa

“When I’m on Everest, I’m totally focused,” writes record climber Kami Rita Sherpa in his little book “How to climb Everest.” The 52-year-old has done it once again: for the 26th time Kami Rita stood on the roof of the world.

On Saturday, he reached the highest point on earth at 8,849 meters – with bottled oxygen – as the head of an eleven-member team of Climbing Sherpas. The team fixed the ropes to the summit, paving the way for commercial expedition teams. This week, Mount Everest is likely to see its first major summit wave.

Meanwhile, German professional climber David Göttler is practicing patience on his third Everest attempt without bottled oxygen. It’s getting too crowded for now, the 43-year-old writes me. “So I wait.”

Colibasanu’s ninth eight-thousander without breathing mask

Horia Colibasanu

More summit successes were reported last weekend from the eight-thousander Kangchenjunga and from Dhaulagiri. On Saturday, Romanian Horia Colibasanu reached the 8,586-meter-high summit of Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain on Earth – without bottled oxygen. For the 45-year-old, it was the ninth eight-thousander he scaled without breathing mask.

“It was one of the most difficult ascents. Seemed never ending. When I would reach the seemingly higest point, another one would appear,” Horia reported via Facebook. “There was a strong wind on the top, probably 70-80 km/h.” He took only a few photos and then descended, Colibasanu said. His two fellow climbers, Romanian Marius Gane and Slovakian Peter Hamor, had turned back beforehand because they had suffered slight frostbite on their noses, he said.

Also on Saturday, a 13-member team led by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa of the expedition operator Imagine Nepal reached the summit (with bottled oxygen), according to their own information. Among the summiteers was Pakistani Sirbaz Khan, who is now the first climber from his home country to stand on ten eight-thousanders.

Carlos Soria turns around again on Dhaulagiri

On Sunday, the operator 8K Expeditions announced a summit success from the 8,167-meter-high Dhaulagiri. Norwegian Kristin Harila, accompanied by three Sherpas, had reached the highest point, it said – with bottled oxygen. The 36-year-old, a former cross-country skier, has set her sights on climbing all 14 eight-thousanders within about half a year, like Nepalese Nirmal Purja in 2019. With Annapurna, which she scaled at the end of April, and Dhaulagiri, Kristin has now “ticked off” the first two eight-thousanders in Nepal, number three is soon to be Kangchenjunga.

Meanwhile, 83-year-old Spanish climber Carlos Soria abandoned also his second summit attempt this season on Dhaulagiri and descended to base camp. The reason: strong winds on the mountain predicted for today.

Death on Everest, Nepalese missing on Lhotse


Mount Everest has seen its second fatality of the season. 55-year-old Russian climber Pavel Kostrikin died in Camp 1 at around 6,100 meters – apparently from high altitude sickness. In April, 38-year-old Ngimi Tenji Sherpa had collapsed dead in the Khumbu Icefall.

Little hope remains of finding Khudam Bir Tamang alive, who was caught in an avalanche on Sunday while descending the lower section of the South Face of Lhotse. Last year, the 33-year-old had summited Mount Everest. The Nepalese was part of the Climbing Sherpa team, which supports an eight-member international team led by Sung Taek Hong. The 55-year-old South Korean is attempting this 3,300-meter-high, extremely demanding eight-thousander wall for the seventh time.

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