autumn Himalayan Update: Snow Hits, Icefall Doctors Struggle

Manaslu 2013
Manaslu 2013

A brief update on what’s happening in the Himalaya big peaks. According to Himalayan Newspaper Chief, Rajan Pokhrel, there were 265 permits issued this year for Nepal peaks on 42 expeditions. Manaslu leads the crowd with 106 climbers.


Snow, and rain, has hit Manaslu stopping all activity for a few days. Not unexpected, the base camp on this 8000 meter peaks can be hit with three feet of snow in a single day. This year, it seems to be rain.

Sherpas have fixed the route to Camp 2. Russell Brice noted the difference in the route from last year:

The route to C2 seems to be steeper at the bottom but more easy on the upper part, however we did have to put in a 4 section ladder about half way up. Just as well we brought more ladders at the end of last season. Every year it seems that we need more ladders here on Manaslu and already we have used 11 in order to make the route this year.


The only team on this peak saw one of their skiers/climbers, Kit DesLauriers, leave the team with altitude related issues. The remaining team seems to be having a great time sliding down the slopes with a reported 3,500 foot run from 22,500 feet according to Adrian Ballinger.


Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki is acclimatizing on Lobuche Peak before starting up Everest. The BBC reports the Icefall Doctors had a tough time getting the route set in the Icefall with more crevasses having appeared on the Khumbu Icefall between Base Camp and Camp One, with many giving way. Quoting Ang Kami Sherpa:

… Camp One appeared to have dropped from its earlier height and that much of the equipment left behind by mountaineers in the spring has been buried under thick snow.

“Snow is still piling up in many areas because avalanches have continued in the region probably because the mountain slopes overlooking the icefall have been shaken by the quake,” he said.

“Now that we have fixed ropes and ladders with all that difficulty, it will not be as difficult for the mountaineers but it will certainly be harder than the usual climb for them.”

Trekking Business Down, Shift to Tibet

In a very interesting interview by Adventure Sports, Stefan Nestler, Dawa Stephen Sherpa, operator of Nepali based Asian Trekking said his trekking business was down significantly and members were asking to climb Everest from Tibet in 2016. Dawa Stephen went on to say the Nepal Government was mishandling mountaineering and should extend Everest permits based on the early ending in 2014 and 2015. He sums up the post-earthquake situation saying majority of trekking routes are safe.

Mountain Trip, in advertising their 2016 Everest program made the comment about permits being extended:

The Nepalese government will honor permits for the past two years and has committed to allowing permits to follow the climber, not the guide service or trekking agency that secured them.

I have not been able to confirm this elsewhere.

First Ascents

In 2014, Nepal opened up 104 new peaks for climbing. Many of these peaks had no name but one was named after the oldest American to summit Everest, Bill Burke, who summited from the Tibet side in 2014 at age 72. Located on the border with China, Burke-Khang at 22,775 feet high is located between Mt. Everest and Cho-Oyu. Bill, honored with this gift felt it was only appropriate to be the first one to summit “his” peak.

This past spring, Bill and expedition guide Garrett Maddison, took a helicopter to investigate a potential route. Sherpas hired by Bill earlier had done a foot reconnaissance and determined it was “unclimbable” from Nepal but from the air, Garrett and Bill felt they found a route and will attempt it in late October.

There are several other teams attempting first ascents all across Nepal this autumn.

I wish them all safe and successful attempts.

Climb On!


Memories are Everything




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