There have been summits of 8000-meter peaks this Autumn but not for the regular folks, but for those well-connected or the right nationality. Meanwhile, Nepal moved the goalpost once again, a decision I support, that effectively closes any climbing in their country for 2020.
A large Chinese team with equal support, similar to that on Everest last Spring, summited Cho Oyu. A total of 23 climbers reached the summit at the end of September. China has only allowed Chinese nationals to climb its peaks in 2020.
Over in Nepal, after what appeared to be a suspect path to obtaining a climbing permit, Bahrain’s Royal Prince Sheik Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and his Royal Guard team first summited Lobouche then choppered to Manaslu where support in a 2:1 ratio of Sherpas to foreigners topped out on Manaslu. The support was provided by well connected Seven Summits Treks, the largest operator in Nepal. A massive 40 people were reported to have summited along with the 14 foreign clients.
Perhaps more impressive or depressing was that the guide company brought down almost 2,000 pounds (900kg) of trash including tent poles, tent ropes, cans, empty EPI cans, stoves, and more. Note Seven Summits Treks has been the largest operator on Manalsu for the last several years so good on them for cleaning up.
Nepal Moving Rules
The Nepal Government struggling to control the COVID-19 Virus seeing record cases and deaths daily has once again moved the date when foreigners will be allowed into the Kingdom. According to the Kathmandu Post, it’s now mid-November, a month delay from previously announced October 17, which effectively closes any opportunity for trekking or climbing even a 6000-meter peak like Ama Dablam.
They had announced a 7-day quarantine for all visitors then dropped that after protest from powerful tour operators. As I’ve maintained for months, we might not see significant climbing in Nepal until the Spring of 2021 at the earliest and now I wouldn’t be surprised to see Autumn 2021 as a return to “normal” for trekking and 6000-meter climbs and Spring 2022 for Everest and back to record crowds.
Rest assured Nepal and the guides will promote climbs now and in the future regardless of the Virus status. This is similar to other tourist-dependent countries around the world, so it’s really up to the individual to assess the risk and not trust operators.
There have been a couple of climbs in Pakistan but nothing near the usual due to the virus. On K6, Jeff and Priti Wright summited K6 West (7040 m) and K6 central (7100 m). Jordi Tosas and Phillipp Brugger reached 7000m on Muchu Chhish before abandoning their effort.
German owner/operator of SummitClimb.de, Felix Berg, joining forces with Pakastaini alpinist, Mirza Ali Baig, completed the first ascent of a 5,770m in Shimshal on August 20, 2020. They had three german clients with them. The team went on to summit another unclimbed and unnamed peak, this one at 6,105m. He posted an update on Facebook.
As has become the norm in recent years, several teams announced a winter K2 attempt. Of course, this is the remaining crown jewel in mountaineering – a no O’s winter summit of K2. First up is the Nepali outfit Seven Summits Treks who has run summer trips each year since around 2013. Dawa Sherpa will serve as expedition leader and John Snorri who was thwarted last year climbing with Mingma Sherpa and holds ill-will thus will be seeking vindication is also along. They are aggressively marketing this trip for more paying climbers so it might not happen.
Also, the Russian outfit 7 Summits Club with Alex Abramov said he would go. He and his life partner Lucy Korobeshko are in Pakistan now training. Alex says the effort will be by 32 climbers from four countries (Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan) on two routes.
And I won’t be surprised to see a few more, including Nirmal Purja. But also, I’ll be surprised to see any actually go. It’s easy to make a Facebook post but more difficult to pull it off … and summit.
With the fires in California and Colorado dominating US news, Kilimanjaro is also on fire. It’s was reported by VOA that the fire started in the Whona area on the Marangu route. It was reported to be contained.
Don’t Mess with Mom!
26-year-old hiker, Kyle Burgess, came upon some cute kittens, and then it turned ugly. The cougar mom aggressively moved towards him as he correctly walked slowly backward making noises and himself as large as he could all the while filming the encounter. Worth the 6 minutes watch!
Lastly, a young, aspiring American served as a porter in Nepal and filmed his experience. I helped a bit with an early review and found this interesting.
Memories are Everything