“Summit Push Time,” writes Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese commercial expedition operator Imagine Nepal, on Instagram. The picture shows him in a helicopter on his way back to the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna I in western Nepal. The Sherpa team, which secures the normal route with fixed ropes for the commercial teams, had already reached Camp 3 at around 6,400 meters some time ago. Then, however, snowfall and the associated high avalanche danger had made a summit attempt impossible. In the next few days, stable, dry weather with little wind is expected, only on the weekend there should be some snow showers again.
Adri Brownlee throws in the towel on Manaslu
This weather forecast also applies to the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain on Earth located nearly 70 kilometers east of Annapurna I. “In the last 2 weeks we estimate around 300cm of snow fell,” writes Felix Berg of the expedition operator Summit Climb. “Let’s hope finally the weather changes.”
Meanwhile, Briton Adri Brownlee, who said she wanted to climb without bottled oxygen, has pulled up stakes on Manaslu. She had run out of time because her Sherpa team had to leave for Mount Everest this weekend, the 22-year-old wrote yesterday, sounding rather frustrated: “I think I will take a break now from 8000m peaks, the culture seems to be changing so much on these mountains, it’s all about the records, the fame, the money.”
This insight is a bit surprising, given that she had competed in the race herself in previous years. Brownlee had wanted to become the youngest on all 14 eight-thousanders. Always supported by the experienced Nepalese mountain guide Gelje Sherpa, Adri had scaled nine of the highest mountains – with bottled oxygen, on the normal routes. On Manaslu in fall 2021, she had not reached the “True Summit,” the very highest point at the end of the summit ridge. She had wanted to make up for that now.
Team moves to Shishapangma ABC
Three other eight-thousander collectors are – as reported – currently in Tibet: the Norwegian Kristin Harila, the Swiss Sophie Lavaud and the Mexican Viridiana Alvarez Chavez. As Mingma Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the commercial operator Climbalaya, let know today, the team wants to move tomorrow, Wednesday, to the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at the 8,027-meter-high Shishapangma, the lowest of the 14 eight-thousanders.
It is the first foreign expedition in three years to be granted permission by Chinese-Tibetan authorities to climb Shishapangma and Cho Oyu. Tibet’s mountains had been closed to foreign climbers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in winter 2019/2020.
Around 250 Everest permits to date
For Mount Everest, Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism has issued 243 permits so far (as of 10 April). There will certainly be a few more to come. In spring 2022, the ministry had issued 325 climbing permits for the highest of all mountains, and in spring 2021 the record number of 408.