At 7,560 meters on the Southeast ridge of Cho Oyu was the end of the line. Due to announced gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour in the upper zone of the eight-thousander, the ten-member Nepalese team led by Gelje Sherpa abandoned its summit attempt – “because the (weather) window was too short to get going,” as Ashok Rai, manager of the expedition, told the Internet portal “Everest Chronicle”: “There will be a second attempt once the weather improves.”
He said it took the team four hours today to fix the ropes up to the col on the ridge between Cho Oyu and the 7,916-meter-high Tenzing Peak (also known as Ngojumba Kang) to the east. According to the team’s assessment, the time until the storm began might have been long enough to climb to the summit at 8,188 meters, but not to return safely, Rai said: “We were in a tricky situation. We decided to retreat. Safety is the most important part of climbing.”
Back at base camp
According to Gelje Sherpa’s GPS tracker, the climbers descended all the way to base camp. Two days ago, the expedition leader had already spoken of “tricky” weather conditions on the summit day planned for today, but had hoped that the wind would calm down for at least a few hours. As reported, Gelje Sherpa has set out to open a new route on the Nepalese side of Cho Oyu this winter, which will later be suitable for commercial expeditions.
The Nepalese team led by Mingma Dorchi Sherpa is pursuing the same goal, albeit on a different route. The eight climbers descended due to bad weather after depositing equipment at 7,200 meters. “If weather permits, the team will set out for a summit push on 27 February,” said Nivesh Karki, manager of the team. Both teams on Cho Oyu use bottled oxygen for their ascents.
Summit attempt on K2
This also applies to the commercial team on the 8,611-meter-high K2 in Pakistan, the second highest mountain on earth. According to the Nepalese operator Dolma Outdoor Expedition, five climbers led by Nima Gyalzen Sherpa reached Camp 3 at about 7,200 meters today with their Taiwanese client Grace Tseng. “If the wind is low tomorrow, they plan to move towards Camp 4 (at about 7,600 meters). If the weather doesn’t favor them, they will wait there,” the expedition provider let know. “For now, the team are planning to get to the summit on 24 February – if everything goes as planned.”