Updates from autumn Himalayan Climbs: Teams Abandon Summit Pushes

Setting the Fixed rope on the Lhotse Face on EverestThe climbing Gods have not been happy this year across Nepal and Pakistan. This weekend we saw the sole climber on Everest give up and many teams on Manaslu abort their attempts. Of course we saw no spring Everest summits due to the earthquake, none on K2 due to snow conditions and only handful on the other 8000m mountains.

Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki , s the sole person attempting Everest, turned back shortly after leaving his Camp 3 for the summit. He cited deep snow.

Manaslu – Some In, Most Out

The recent big snows that have hit the other mountains finally caught up with climbers on Manaslu. After trying to fix the route to Camp 4, Sherpas from Himex and Altitude Junkies turned back due to deep snow, threatening avalanches and poor snow conditions. One Sherpa from Himex fell through a soft snow bridge and had to be rescued. He is safe and now back in Kathmandu.

With all this, Himex and Altitude Junkies have stopped their expeditions and are going home. Others are expected to follow since Himex and AJ have done the majority of the route preparation and have the most Sherpas of any teams. The route was fixed to Camp 3, but there is a lot of work to do to get to Camp 4 and the true summit.

Phil Crampton, Altitude Junkies, said some of his team are leaving:

Some of our team members have been waying up their options and have decided, with the present conditions on the mountains of slab avalanches happening, the large open crevasse blocking the route, and the uncertainity of the rope fixers completing their job, to descend to Sama Goan where they will take a helicopter back to Kathmandu.

Several other teams are now having some members depart their respective expeditions based on the conditions of the mountain and the number of climbers present. Our other team members are going to wait at base camp and see how things work out with establishing the route to camp four and the problematic crevasse blocking the route..

Russell Brice provided a detailed update on the route fixing and his Sherpa who fell into a crevasse:

All the members made it up to C3 and the Sherpas were pushing the route up towards C4. All was going to plan but then as the Sherpas were reaching the upper slopes and the beginning of the traverse towards C4 things took a turn for the worse. Nima one of our strongest Sherpas who was also using oxygen was pushing the route, however we were encountering the same sort of snow conditions that we experienced on Broad Peak, waist deep sugar snow.

Nima pushed through this for over 800m put then he was getting worried about his safety and so decided to stop. The problem was how to find a stable and reliable belay in this snow. But another problem was soon to become apparent. Behind him 5 more Sherpas crossed the snow bridge across a crevasse that we have never experienced before. We have always just stepped across this crevasse on previous expeditions, but this year there was a narrow snow bridge. As Namgel the seventh Sherpa to cross this bridge was making his way up the rope, the bridge collapsed complete with Namgel on it.

Fortunately he is fine, but this created a delicate moment as he was now about 5m down in the crevasse, the wind was blowing strongly, there are 6 Sherpas above the crevasse and another 6 or seven below the crevasse. And now there is a 4m wide and 100m long gaping hole. The Sherpas that were below were able to get Namgel out, but now what to do with the guys above. They made a high traverse to a point where they could still see a small bridge across the crevasse, and then managed to slither across this small bridge and so were able to re-join the original fixed ropes.

I received a message today from one of Himex’s member that Russ has decided to end the Manaslu expedition due to dangerous conditions:

Russ pulled the expedition due to concerns about slab avalanche potential on the upper portion on through to C4. Wind deposited snow is down here at BC. Many other leaders, guides concur. Disappointment but nobody is arguing with the assessment.

Other teams are attempting to climb. SummitClimb reported they are at Camp 2 in bad weather. Adventure Consultants is pushing on per this post:

The plan is to go to Camp 2 tomorrow. Our Sherpa team are poised at Camp 3 to fix ropes through to Camp 4 but strong winds are pounding the upper slopes making progress impossible for now. There is a short window of low winds coming up but we are not yet certain if there will be sufficient time for us to make a summit bid before the next wind event hits the upper mountain.

Makalu – Climbing

After being delayed with heavy snow, the only team on Makalu is pushing for the summit. It is uncertain what snow conditions they will encounter once they get to the true high altitude of Makalu. Emily Harrington posted on Facebook:

Tomorrow we head back here! And this time it’s not on an acclimatization rotation or a ski lark. Meteotest, our genius Swiss meteorologists, have given us the green light for an unusually good summit window with calm winds and sunny skies. We are rested, 100% healthy and couldn’t be more stoked. So, Camp 2 (21,500 feet) tomorrow; Camp 3 (24,500 feet) on the 28th; Camp 4 (25,000 feet) on the 29th; and, if luck and hard work and passion are on our side, the summit (and a 10,000 foot ski descent) on the 30th. We’re going light (meaning without satellite internet) the next 4 days, so photos may be lacking

Dhaulagiri – Climbing

A small team lead by French Alpinist Yannick Graziani is moving up on Dhaulagiri (26794’/8167m) base camp. They reported:

Push to 6200m. Now at 5800m. It has narrow ridge, just enough for our tent. We climbed 650m yesterday early in the morning to Avoid falls blocks. We plan to join the BC tomorrow before 10:00.

Everest – Over

Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki, made a valiant effort and reached around 7000 meters or just above the traditional Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. He set off from there for the summit – a very long and untraditional method – not using supplemental oxygen and alone. He reported turning back shortly after he left noting deep snow. He is back in Base Camp now. He posted on his Facebook account:

I decide to descend. I left the final camp (7600-6600m) a little after 8pm on 26th for summit push. I tried hard taking all my energy, but it took too much time to move in deep deep snow. I realized if I kept going, I would not be able to come back alive, so I decided to descend.

Best of luck to all.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


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One thought on “Updates from autumn Himalayan Climbs: Teams Abandon Summit Pushes

  1. Very wise decision by Japanese Climber in Everest..,,better to be safe than end up dead…. Nice comprehensive coverage, Alan…Thanks a lot…

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