After many successes on Manaslu in the past few days, the first ascents of the fall season were announced today also from the eight-thousander Dhaulagiri. According to the commercial Nepalese expedition operators Seven Summit Treks and Pioneer Adventure, more than two dozen mountaineers reached the highest point at 8,167 meters. For the first time, women from Nepal (Purnima Shrestha and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita) and India (Baljeet Kaur and Piyali Basak) stood on the seventh highest mountain on earth, it was said.
Among the lucky ones at the summit were also the Swiss Sophie Lavoud, for whom it was her twelfth eight-thousander success, and the Pakistani Sirbaz Khan, who thus became the first climber of his country to stand on nine of the 14 highest peaks on earth. Khan had announced that he would do without bottled oxygen on Dhaulagiri, the Indian Basak reportedly also climbed without breathing mask.
Failed a dozen times
The Spaniard Carlos Soria had turned back because of deep snow in the upper parts of the mountain and had ended his expedition yesterday. For the 82-year-old it was already his twelfth failed attempt on Dhaulagiri. Soria announced he would make his next attempt next spring. “The mountain is my passion,” Carlos told the Spanish website desnivel.com. Carlos has scaled twelve eight-thousanders, ten of them after the age of 60. In 2008, for example, he climbed Makalu solo and without breathing mask at the age of 69. Only Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma are still missing from his collection.
Summit attempt on Kangchenjunga?
On the 8,586-meter-high Kangchenjunga in eastern Nepal, the third highest mountain on earth, there is only a small team of the U.S. operator Alpenglow Expeditions this fall with only one client, the Dane Jan Werner. The PR manager, who summited Cho Oyu in fall 2019 – with bottled oxygen – has a powerful team with plenty of eight-thousander experience around him: Esteban “Topo” Mena and Carla Perez from Ecuacor as well as the Sherpas Dorji, Mingma, Palden Namgye, Pemba Gelje and Pasang. On Mount Everest alone, the seven of them have achieved more than 50 summit successes. The route stands up to Camp 4 at a good 7,500 meters, so everything is prepared for a summit attempt (with bottled oxygen).
Update 6 October: According to “Topo” Mena, a first summit attempt failed on Kangchenjunga: “A cyclone over the Ganges lowlands brought more humidity than our most pessimistic plans could help us negotiate with, and we decided to transform that summit attempt in a mission to reopen the route to Camp 4.” Weather permitting, another summit attempt is planned for next week, he wrote.