October is the time of year when only a few 8000ers are climbed, too early for Antartica or Aconcagua but spot on for many peaks in Nepal. With that preamble, lets start with the 8000ers currently under siege.
Lhotse – Camp 4
South Korean, Sung-Taek Hong, 51, along with Spanish climber Jorge Egocheaga, 49, are attempting Lhotse’s South Face. The only time this route has been climbed was in October 1990 by Russian climbers Serguey Bershov and Vladimir Karataev according to the Himalayan Database. Sung attempted it in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
They are seeing the same they have seen for the past few years with avalanches and rock fall – not surprising as the world’s mountains are literally melting. They posted this update on reaching Camp 4 but at the price of 2 Sherpas being injured:
Our team set up camp 3 (7,800m) on Oct 17th, fixed camp 4(8,250m) on Oct 18th. There was some accident at there. Two sherpas were injured when rocks came crashing down on them near Camp 2 and left base camp for treatment, but thankfully they said it isn’t too serious. And small avalanche struck a tent on camp 3 when Mr. Hong was sleeping in the tent on 19th Oct, but luckily, Hong was safe. As he said, he feel small pain on body but OK. They will try their summit bid around the end of this month.They said that setting camp 3 & 4 was delayed around 5 days since there was snows and strong winds. During the bad weather conditions, they lost their tent on camp 1 and some fixed rope were covered with snow and frozen. They are mostly climbing up the wall during night time and early morning to avoid the risks of snow showers and falling rocks in the daytime.
This camera was tilted (look at the background and horizon) but the South face is quite steep nonetheless.
Annapurna – 6000m
Slovenian duo Luka Stražar and Nejc Marčič are trying to ascend the West Face of Annapurna in alpine style, in the most direct way possible. They arrived in Nepal mid-September. They are climbing the normal route. They have reached 6000 meters. They are posting occasional updates on Facebook.
Manaslu – Travelling
Hans Kammerlander is now on his way to Manaslu on October 20, 2017. He is driving, flying and trekking. The route is reported in good shape and a couple of other small teams will also be there.
Meanwhile back on the 7000 meter peaks in Nepal. Nepal is extremely popular for climbs of the so called “Trekking Peaks” of Island and Meru plus the more difficult climbs of Ama Dablam (6,812m/22,349 ft) and Cholatse (6,440m/21,130ft). The usual commercial guiding suspects are guiding on these this season – too many to try to track.
Ama Dablam is often called the most beautiful peak in the world, but Alpamayo also claims that title. I have climbed both and would call it a draw!
Ama Dablam has experienced dramatic changes in the last ten years not only in topology but also by attracting crowds. When I summited it in 2000, we were the only team on the mountain. Today there can be 300 people on the peak at one time.
I climbed with Adventure Consultants and coming down from the summit was when I first considered attempting Everest so, needless to say, Ama is special to me. This is the latest from the Adventure Consultants team:
This afternoon we set up some fixed ropes and practised the essential skills needed for the climb ahead. The South-West ridge is well known for its steepness and exposure, and we need to be sure in our abilities before we commit to the route. Along with Dawa and Perkash, two of our climbing Sherpa, we all refreshed our jumaring, traversing and rapelling skills. Tomorrow we plan to hike up to Advanced Base Camp (or Yak Camp as it’s known) to further our acclimatisation.
There have been several attempts in the past three years to summit via the North Ridge instead of the standard South East Ridge, but there has been no success.
Ama has emerged as a dangerous climb. Six climbers were killed in November 2006 when part of the Dablam collapsed hitting Camp 3. Parts of the Dablam also collapsed in late 2008 but didn’t take any lives. In 2014, three climbers were killed when the Dablam released but some say they were depending on old ropes and that contributed to their deaths.
Today, teams continue to climb but many choose to bypass Camp 3 and have a very, very long day from Camp 2 to the summit but some guides have stopped climbing Ama Dablam all together due to the danger.
Cholatse located between the Khumbu and Gokyo Valleys, has emerged as an alternative to Ama with less danger. Phil Crampton, Altitude Junkies, calls it his favorite Himalayan climb. This is his latest update:
Our team memebrs have all now arrived in Kathmandu and will be taking private helicopters to Namche Bazar on Monday. After a couple of days in Namche the team will start the trek to base camp.
I arrived in Namche yesterday as we have some final logisitcs to sort out for the Cholatse and Ama Dablam expeditions as well as our new climb, Kyajo Ri which we will be offering in 2018.
As with last year, the monsoon was very late to leave Nepal and this caused some pretty dismal weather conditions in September as well as delaying many Lulka flights. Most early expeditions to the Khumbu ended up hiring helicopters to make the flight to Lukla. We have always used helicopters to avoid any delay at the start of our expeditions.
The trails are busy with trekkers heading to Everest base camp and climbers heading to the popular Island Peak and Ama Dablam. Hopefully now the monsoon has offically withdrew from Nepal we will start to get the favorable weather conditions the fall season is famous for.
New Nuptse Route
A team of French Alpinists, calling themselves the “The Moustache Gang” sent a new route on the South Face of Nuptse which is adjacent to Everest and Lhotse and climbed from Nepal. There are seven peaks on the Nuptse ridge and they reached Nuptse II at 7,742 meters. While this was a new variation, there are several routes on the South Face. The posted the success on Facebook. From their website:
Nuptse south face, one of the most coveted walls in the world, a 2500 m face of steep rock and ice, 4 km across and topping out at 7861 m at the highest point. With only four ascents by big names in alpinism, a new route up this face will put the Gang des Moustaches into the history books.
Nuptse which is connected to Everest, currently has just one route (out of the four) attempted in alpine style. A handful of well known names; Chris Bonington Valeri Babanov, Stephane Benoit, Patrice Glairon-Rappaz, Steve House, and Marko Prezelj, Koshelenko lay claim to this face, mostly succeeding by using fixed rope or in heavy himalayan style.
The team made up with French alpinist Frederic Degoulet, Ben Guigonnet, and Helias Millerioux. Degoulet attempted a new route on the South Face of Nuptse II, at 7742m without reaching it.
10 Dead on Mongolia’s Mount Otgontenger
According to the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency, a group of 30 climbers, aged between 30 and 50, ignored the ban and was hit by an avalanche as it was descending from the mountain peak on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Memories are Everything