Kami Rita’s 27th strike – fifth death of the Everest season – rescue operation for Carlos Soria on Dhaulagiri

Kami Rita Sherpa
Kami Rita Sherpa – climbing Everest again and again

Today, Wednesday, was the most successful summit day of the spring season on Mount Everest so far. According to the newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, more than 100 members of commercial teams reached the highest point on earth at 8,849 meters. So, it is likely that there was jostling at the summit and also on the route.

For Kami Rita Sherpa, standing on the highest point was routine. The 53-year-old Nepalese led – with bottled oxygen – a billionaire from the US financial sector to the Everest summit. Kami Rita thus stood on the roof of the world for the 27th time, more often than any other person.

Sunrise on Mount Everest
Sunrise on Mount Everest (in fall 2019)

As reported, Pasang Dawa Sherpa had ascended for the 26th time over the weekend. It is possible that the 46-year-old will once again draw level with Kami Rita this season. In seven seasons so far (in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2018, 2019 and 2022), Pasang Dawa had climbed twice each to guide paying clients to the summit of Mount Everest. Briton Kenton Cool – wearing a breathing mask – reached the highest point yesterday for the 17th time; no other foreign climber has been up more often.

Sherpa dies below the South Col

Yesterday marked the fifth death of the Everest season. Tshering Tenzing Sherpa, manager of Everest Base Camp, confirmed to me that Phurba Sherpa had died. According to the Himalayan Times, Phurba was working for a Nepalese Army expedition. He had passed away below the South Col while descending from the summit, it said.

Another member of the expedition, apparently suffering from high altitude sickness, who was unable to descend independently below the South Summit, was reportedly rescued. According to his own words, the Nepalese mountaineering star Nirmal Purja, who had actually wanted to lead a customer to the summit, also participated in the rescue.

Bad luck for Carlos Soria

There was also a rescue operation on the eight-thousander Dhaulagiri in western Nepal. It was aimed at the tireless Spaniard Carlos Soria, who had set out last night from the last high camp to attempt the summit. At 7,700 meters, a Sherpa fell on the 84-year-old and injured his shin, Soria’s home team informed. Carlos was no longer able to continue walking on his own. His team partner Sito Carcavilla and some Sherpas brought him further down the mountain. He is to be flown out by rescue helicopter.

Somehow, it is not meant to be that Soria scales Dhaulagiri. It was his 14th attempt on the mountain. Unlike during his last attempts, however, this time everything seemed to fit, even the weather finally played along – and then this mishap of the Sherpa. What bad luck! Soria is only missing Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma in his collection of eight-thousanders; he celebrated ten of the twelve summit successes at the age of over 60.

Pakistani Shehroze Kashif at the summit

Among those who reached the summit of Dhaulagiri today – with bottled oxygen and Sherpa support – was Pakistani Shehroze Kashif. For the 21-year-old it was the eleventh eight-thousander summit success. This does not include Manaslu, where Shehroze did not reach the “True Summit” in fall 2021, the very highest point at the end of the summit ridge.

Update 18 May: Carlos Soria was flown today by rescue helicopter from Camp 2 on Dhaulagiri to a hospital in Kathmandu. The pilot was Italian climber Simone Moro.

Three more deaths of clients of commercial teams are reported from Mount Everest: A Moldovan and a Chinese died on the mountain, as well as an Indian woman who did not make it past base camp.

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