High winds and heavy snow thwarted all of the ambitious plans for the 2021/22 winter Himalayan season. Using the end of February as the end of winter, it’s over. It’s time to turn to Spring climbing. There were attempts but no summits on five of the fourteen 8000ers: Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat, Manaslu, and Cho Oyu.
Valient efforts, but there is a reason there are few 8000-meter winter summits as we saw.
We now turn our focus to the Spring 2022 Everest season. It appears all the action will once again be on the Nepal side as China is not issuing climbing permits in Tibet for Everest, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma. Lukas Furtenbach of Furtenbach Adventures tells me directly today:
I have been here [Kathmandu] for meetings for the Everest season. Tibet is closed for this spring season but unfortunately, an official announcement does not exist. Yes, we will be climbing from the south side again.
Winter Everest – Over
It’s over for German climber Jost Kobusch trying a no Os solo attempt on Everest’s West Ridge. His objective was to tag 8000-meters but his high point was around 7500 meters. High winds and snow stopped most of his progress and he spent the majority of his time in the high Khumbu villages, waiting out bad weather. I suspect he will try again next year, but we will see.
Everest has seen only 13 winter summits for 371 attempts out of the total 10,656 summits. The last winter summit, defined by Nepal and the Himalayan Database as December through February was in 1993 by a very strong Japanese team led by Hikaru Hoshino on the SW Face (Bonnington Route). Polish climbers Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki were the first on February 17th, 1980 via the South Col route with oxygen.
Please see this video interview I did with Jost a few months ago, where we discussed his plans in detail. You can follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and an excellent 3D view of his current location on his website.
Cho Oyu – Over
Gelje Sherpa‘s team made one last summit attempt but high winds forced them back according to their GPS tracker. They were attempting to create a standard, commercial route on the Nepal side of Cho Oyu. Gelje has been quick to make optimistic posts and thank everyone for their support but is quiet now.
No reports from Pioneer Adventures’s Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, but it’s assumed they have also stopped. They were trying to achieve the same objective – a commercial route from Nepal. The team includes Mingma Dorchi Sherpa -Team leader, Pemba Ongchhu Sherpa, Pasang Dorjee Sherpa, Mingma Dorchi Sherpa. They made a few climbs on a different route than Gelje.
The Nepal side is rarely climbed due to avalanches and other objective dangers. Of the 3,923 summits on Cho, only 135 have been from the Nepal side. It will be interesting to see if any of the commercial guide companies use this new route in the prime spring or autumn seasons. The traditional Tibet-side route is considered very safe with little objective danger.
Also, time to look at the summer climbing season in the Karakorum with the winter K2 attempt over.
Winter K2 – Over
Poor weather hit the heavily support K2 client and they have turned back from as high as Camp 4 with no summit. The Sherpa team of Chhiring Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa, Furi Sherpa, Ngimatendi Sherpa, and Ningma Dorje Tamang tried to get Taiwanese climber Tseng “Grace” Ko-Erh with Dolma Expeditions.
Memories are Everything