Hamor and Co. abandon Dhaulagiri expedition

Underway on new route on Dhaulagiri
Underway on new route on Dhaulagiri

“Even their guardian angels got a little sweaty, but everything went well in the end,” reads Peter Hamor’s Facebook page. The Slovak and his two Romanian team partners Horia Colibasanu and Marius Gane today abandoned their expedition on the eight-thousander Dhaulagiri. The chronic bad weather caused “unacceptable” dangers, the trio let it be known. During their summit attempt without bottled oxygen via the still unclimbed Northwest Ridge, the three climbers had – as reported – reached an altitude of 6,800 meters. During the night, their tent had been hit by an avalanche. They had to cut open the tent wall to free themselves.

Carlos Soria wants to stay for the time being

The base camp on Dhaulagiri has emptied out in recent days. Many climbers had themselves flown out because of the corona outbreak on the mountain. Among those who tested positive for the virus were Stefi Troguet from Andorra (she was climbing without bottled oxygen) – and Nepalese Maya Sherpa, who previously scaled (with breathing mask) Annapurna, her sixth eight-thousander.

The Spaniard Carlos Soria wants to stay in Dhaulagiri Base Camp for the time being. However, the 82-year-old does not sound very optimistic about still being able to summit his penultimate of the 14 eight-thousanders. “The situation on the mountain is very bad, it snows every day. We have very little prospect of attempting the summit,” Carlos told desnivel.com yesterday. “But the only place we want to be currently is here.” Soria pointed out that he and fellow climbers Sito Carcavilla and Luis Miguel Soriano could not leave Nepal at present anyway.

The government has suspended virtually all international flights until the end of May because of the dramatic development of the corona situation. On Wednesday, authorities registered 9,238 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the number of currently active cases to more than 100,000, they said. Nepal’s health system is unable to cope with the massive outbreak. Throughout the country there is a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen to care for the severely ill.

Three sisters on Everest

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa (l.) and his sisters
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa (l.) and his sisters on Lobuche East

On Mount Everest, for the second day in a row, several dozen climbers from commercial teams – using bottled oxygen – reached the summit at 8,849 meters. Among them were three sisters of Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Imagine Nepal: Nima Jangmu Sherpa, Tshering Namgya Sherpa and Dawa Futi Sherpa. The Sherpanis have set themselves the goal of climbing the Seven Summits together, the highest mountains on all continents.

Mingma has not yet announced what has become of his own announced Everest summit attempt without breathing mask. In January, the 35-year-old was among the first winter ascenders of K2 (with bottled oxygen), and in April he scaled Annapurna (without breathing mask).

One day after his 15th Everest summit success, the Briton Kenton Cool also stood on the summit of the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse – probably with bottled oxygen.

Update 13 May: Seven Summit Treks reports the first two fatalities of the spring season on Everest. A Swiss client had died on the descent, an American climber on the South Col – from exhaustion before he could set off for the summit attempt, they said.

Update 16 May: Mingma Gyalje Sherpa informed me that he made it to the South Col in his attempt without bottled oxygen, but stopped there because of stomach pain. After taking a medicine and oxygen, he felt better, Mingma said. However, he then didn’t want to ascend with breathing mask.

Update 18 May: Carlos Soria has also abandoned his expedition on Dhaulagiri. The 82-year-old referred to the recommendation of the Spanish government to leave Nepal with a flight organized by them.