Teams are making excellent progress early in this autumn season across the Himalaya. Everest Prices to increase and more record breaking attempts are underway. A busy time on the world’s highest peaks!
First off, a small bit of news on permit prices on the Tibet side. It is being reported that the Tibet Mountaineering Association has recommended a $5,000 increase for the permit fee. source. It is currently $11,500. Nepal is at $11,000 but has proposed a minimum expedition costs of $35,000 per person, including the permit fee. Seems like both countries will use price to address some of the crowding problems.
Madison Mountaineering Autumn Everest
Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering continues to lead his team on the trek towards Everest Base Camp. They will be the only commercial team on Everest this autumn and will fix the route from base camp to the summit. They are above Pheriche.
The Mystery Everest Run
Mystery is revolving around Spanish ultra runner Kilian Jornet‘s Everest plans. I am told he plans to do a speed climb on Everest including perhaps a new route starting at Camp 2 but others are suggesting he wants to do the long sought after Everest-Lhotse link. This is what the late Ueli Steck was planning when he died from a fall on Nuptse in 2017 while acclimatizing for Everest/Lhotse.
Adding to the mystery is that Jornet says he has permits for Lhotse and Everest. His cagey publicist, Laura Font Sentís of the Barcelona-based Lymbus agency, is quoted “Kilian will spend some time in the Himalayas with his family and he will take advantage to explore the terrain. If he does any relevant activity he will communicate after he has completed it.” Jornet plans to participate in the Annapurna 100 in Nepal, which starts on October 25.
Skiing down Everest
Polish climber Andrzej Bargiel who will attempt to ski from the summit of Everest without using supplemental oxygen, and without removing his skis at any point during the descent has arrived at Everest Base Camp and is using his drone to help the Icefall Doctors inspect the Western Cwm for Camps 1 and 2 as they prepare the route.
Project Possible – On Manaslu Now
Nirmal Purja is already at Manaslu base camp and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the first to summit this season. From there he is on to Cho Oyu. Still unclear which route he will take but he may just use the standard route on the Tibet side instead of the more risky Nepal side. Then there is still the big question of whether China will make an exception and issue his team a permit for Shishapangma. There are talks between the Chinese and Nepali governments underway. Reports say if he cannot get the Shis permit, he will climb Cho from the Nepal side. The reason for closing Shisha is due to the recent deaths and accidents causing officials to believe the mountain has become too dangerous to climb.
Nirmal Purja has a total of 11 summits of 8000ers in 94 days: Annapurna (April 23), Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, K2 and Broad Peak (July 26).
Lhotse – Acclimatizing
The 11 member Polish team who will attempt Lhotse via the standard route are already on the trek through the Khumbu. They spent some time acclimatizing on Lobuche.
Dhaulagiri – Acclimatizing in the Khumbu
Carlos Soria Fontán and team who will be attempting Dhaulagiri for his 10th time are currently trekking in the Khumbu for acclimatization.
Sergi Mingote is wrapping up his preparations before leaving home for his attempt on Dhaulagiri. He hopes to summit all fourteen of the 8000ers in 1,000 days without supplemental oxygen. The Catalan alpinist has already summited six so the clock started with Broad Peak on July 16, 2018. The remaining schedule includes: Annapurna and Kangchenjunga (spring 2020), Gasherbrum I (summer 2020), Shishapangma and Cho Oyu (autumn 2020) and finally Makalu and Everest (spring 2021).
Manaslu- Rain and Snow
There are over 400 people on Manaslu this autumn including 237 foreigners. 2019 seems to be a normal year for Manaslu with multiple reports of heavy afternoon rains. Mingma Sherpa gives a nice summary:
We are now at Manaslu Base Camp. Yesterday went to camp1 and back. It has been raining continuously for more than 50 hours now. Sherpa Calendar shows Monsoon ends on 17th September so we can expect heavy snowfall in beginning of Autumn. We will try to finish our acclimatization by 20th September.
Seven Summits Club has a large team on Manaslu this year. They have competed a rotation to Camp 1 at 5700 meters.
Adventure Consultants is also on Manaslu this year. They are at Camp 1 today. Climbing The Seven Summits (CTSS) has a team lead by partner Tendi Sherpa and Kobler & Partner is on Manaslu. Some of the people on Manaslu this season include Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Noel Hanna and Lynne Hanna.
Cho Oyu – Rope Fixing Progress
IMG posted they are making excellent progress with their Sherpas making excellent progress on fixing the ropes to Camp 2.
Shisha Pangma – No Permits?
Still no word if China will be issuing any permits for Shish this autumn.
Winter K2 Gets Another Big Name
As I noted in the previous blog, Mingma Sherpa from Rowling, announced he will make an attempt this winter along with Icelandic John Snorri and the Chinese Gao Li. They will use supplemental oxygen. Now Denis Urubko has announced he will make a winter attempt on Broad Peak and then, hopefully, move over to K2.
Urubko keeps the debate alive on the definition of winter. He rejects the December 22 to March 22 period but rather uses December 1 to the end of February. The first winter summit of Broad Peak was on March 5, 2013, by a strong Polish team thus Urubko feels he will achieve the first true winter ascent if he makes it this year before the end of February … of course this applies to K2 as well! Its being reported that Canadian Don Bowie will join him.
Of note, Nirmal Purja made a splash recently declaring that he would be the first to accomplish the feat, and without supplemental Os. If he cannot get Shish due to the closure, he might make an attempt this winter, but I give it a 5% chance that he would try given the expenses he has incurred for his Project Possible. 2020 seems more likely.
Best of luck to all on all the peaks this autumn, and winter.
Memories are Everything