Autumn 2018 Himalayan Climbing: Sherpas Dies on Dhaulagiri

Phurba Tashi Sherpa, Himex Sidar, fixing route to Manaslu summit in 2013

Team after team are wrapping up their acclimatization rotations so look for summit pushed to begin as early as this weekend or early next week. The weather is looking poor for next couple of days but then returning to nice autumn conditions, albeit with rain around Manaslu and snow on Dhaulagiri – which seems to be the norm for those peaks.

Sherpa Death on Dhaulagiri

As happens regularly when climbing the world’s largest peaks, a death has occurred. This time he was Dawa Geljen Sherpa of Makalu rural municipality – 2, Sankhuwasabha on Dhaulagiri. Apparently he was part of a seven-person rope fixing team when an avalanche slab below them released carrying the Sherpas downslope. Dawa Geljen didn’t survive. He was employed by Seven Summits Treks and supporting a team that included 79-year-old Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontan. There were between Camp 2 at 6,400-meters/20,997-feet and Camp 3 at 7,400-meters/24,278-feet.

Everest and Cho Oyu
Everest and Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu

The world’s sixth highest peak at 26,907’/8201m is the second most popular 8000er after Everest with over 3,500 summits. Everest now has over 8,000 summits.  Most teams have spent nights as high as Camp 2 at 7,100-meters/23,293-feet – a bit higher than Aconcagua.

This year the commercial teams include.

Kobler reports they are at “6500 M, have built a depot with tents, ropes, cooker and gas, and slept two nights at camp 1 in 5.800 m. The Acclimation is progressing.” Caroline Gleich climbing with Alpenglow has been posting about her difficulties adjusting the altitude, but now she seems fine.

8,156m (26,670'), Manaslu
8,156m (26,670′), Manaslu

Manaslu – 250++ climbers

Similar to Cho Oyu, Manaslu is regarded as attainable and in recent years has seen a dramatic increase in traffic with the closures and avalanches on Cho Oyu. However, some foreign guide companies refuse to guide on Manaslu feeling the avalanche risk is too great so they focus on Cho Oyu.

Most of the communication coming from Manaslu says that their rotations are on schedule and they are optimistic about summiting soon.


Dhaulagiri – Carlos’ last Time

79-year-old Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontan has done one rotation and is back in Base Camp. Also Kobler is running a trip on Dhaulagiri this year and they report in all is well expect for the Sherpa’s death which has hit the entire camp hard.

Lhotse Ski Descent

Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison, partially sponsored by The North Face will attempt a ski descent from the summit of Lhotse this autumn. They have established the route to Camp 2 on the Western Cwm

Annapurna Ski Descent

Two Russian climbers/skiers, Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin, will attempt ski down Annapurna I at  8,091-meter/26,545-feet.

Movie: Dawn Wall

Lastly, I saw the movie The Dawn Wall last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is showing in limited release but if you a chance, take it.  In January, 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson sent a route on Yosemite’s El Capitan almost everyone said simply couldn’t be done. The movie takes us through their lives, their friendship and struggles on the Wall.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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