Everest 2022: Alpenglow Makalu Success, Avalanche Death on Lhotse

With a good window before a brief windy period, teams are positioning for Everest summits and reaching the summit of Makalu, Kangchenjunga, and Dhaulagiri. But there was a tragedy on the South Face of Lhotse.


Makalu saw multiple successes early on Monday, May 9, 2022. Adrian Ballinger, co-founder of Alpenglow texted me “I summited today with Dorji Sonam and Pasang Sona (Alpenglow Sherpa). We fixed to the summit from where rope fixing ended by French couloir. And….I skied Makalu!!!!!! I just got back to ABC. First on top for season. Alpenglow pride 😜”

Adrian Ballinger Skiing Makalu. Courtesy of Alpenglow

Also with Alpenglow are Karl Egloff and Nico Miranda looking to set an FNT-Fastest Known Time record.

Pioneer Adventure saw four summits: Lon Patrick Murphy, US, Battogtokh Altangere, the first Mongolian with Kami Sherpa, and Pem Lakpa Sherpa. 8K Peaks‘ Pemba Sherpa notes Halung Dorchi Sherpa with Chiao-Yu Chan (TriFish) summited. Also that Battogtokh Altangerel, with PemLakpa Sherpa, became the youngest Nepali to climb Makalu.

Lhotse South Face – Tragedy

A member of the South Korean Hong Sung-Taek expedition’s Sherpa rope team, Khudam Bir Tamang, who was caught in a sudden avalanche Lhotse’s South Face is missing with a low chance of finding him, according to their logistics partner, Seven Summit Treks. He and Pasang Rinzee Sherpa were returning from Camp 2 when the avi hit. Pasang survived the event and was rescued by helicopter. The South Face is notorious for rockfall and avalanches. Harsh and dangerous conditions have stopped Sung-Taek’s ambitions 7 previous times.

Hong’s previous seven attempts have been impressive and just under the 8,516-meter summit. There are the results according to the Himalayan Database:

  1. 1999 – Abandoned at 7700m due to food and gear finished, winds, and fatigue
  2. 2008 – Abandoned at 6500m due to strong winds
  3. 2013 – Abandoned at 7900m due to very high winds
  4. 2014 – Abandoned at 7900m due to the end of the climbing period, bad weather, and lack of team strength
  5. 2015 – Abandoned at 8200m due to high winds
  6. 2017 – Abandoned at 8300m due to strong winds and extreme cold
  7. 2019 – Abandoned at 7950m due to bad conditions (excess snow) and damaged tents

The first successful ascent of the South face was by Russian alpinist, Serguey Bershov and Vladimir Karataev in 1990 and it’s never been repeated.

Dhaulagiri – More Summits

There were several other summits on the world’s seventh-highest peak: 8K Peaks‘ Pemba Sherpa notes Halung Dorchi Sherpa with Chiao-Yu Chan (TriFish) summited.

Kangchenjunga – More Summmits

The KanCan2022 with logistics and support from Grand Himalaya Tours made the top: “As far as I’m aware, Barath, myself (John), Arie, Satya, Eli, Peter, Catalin made it to the summit, in that order. First summit 8am. People still descending to C4.” No updates yet from Kobler & Partner.

Also, Qatari princess Asma Al Thani, 30, became the first Arab climber to summit Kanch. She had support from five climbers. She had previously climbed Dhaulagiri and Manaslu and now plans to go to Everest and Lhotse. This is a nice report from her summit, that oddly seemed to have started from Camp 2, very usual. 

Summit Summit Summit

And what a peak it was. Kanchenjunga (8586m) is one of the most beautiful mountains to climb. Completely out of this world. Its characteristics of dramatic seracs, deep crevasses to its steep slopes and rocky summit. I’d been sick for a couple of days and was worried I wouldn’t make it. But trying is always better than not, right?

In 2 days we summited the magnificent Kanchenjunga. From camp 2, we began our summit push. We proceeded to Camp 3, passing Camp 4 on our way up toward the summit. Although Kanchenjunga is the world’s third highest mountain, it is famous for its extremely long summit push. And it was a long one. Before we reached the summit, the day turned into night and back again. Perseverance is something I learned to value on this mountain. Perseverance in the pursuit of my goal. Fighting the inner demons that tell you that you can’t make it. In order to succeed, you must be willing to keep searching for light in the darkest of places, even when it appears impossible. I decided to go ahead and do it, and so we did.

I had a strong team behind me. United by brotherhood and lead by @Nimsdi, @mt.sherpa @lakpa8848  guiding_photography @ifmga_tenji_sherpa @lakpa8848. Their attention to detail, the strength they had and the helping of one another was inspiring. We shared every step to the summit and back. When you really want something, fight for it — don’t give up no matter how hopeless it appears. And when you’ve given up hope, ask yourself if you’ll wish you’d given it one more shot in a couple of years.
The best things in life don’t come easy. Don’t let fear keep you from doing the things you want to do. I am humbled to be the first Arab to summit Kanchenjunga, hopefully to many more 🙏 I am grateful💫 I am excited⚡️ I am inspired🦋

Everest – In Position

Weather forecasts are calling for amazing summit conditions with light winds and temperatures around OF/-20C after May 10. I’m hearing several teams looking to summit between May 11 and May 16. Some teams may hold at EBC for a few more days if the weather shows low winds, and no Typhon impact, so I’m expecting a steady stream of summit through at least May 22. Climbing The Seven Summits gave this update on their massive teams:

Our front wave of climbers is currently at C2 looking to summit on the 12th or 13, while our second wave will head up over the next few nights.

Jessica, Mark, Margaret, Meghan, John, Clayton and their guides are all at C2 as part of the first wave. With this first crew we will have 17 Sherpa and guides in support of them for the summit, more than a 2:1 ratio of climbing staff to climbers, so they will be in the best of hands. Heading up in short order, the second wave will be Jane, Gabby, Manal, and Pascal with their guides and support Sherpa.

Currently the weather is looking good for summit bids from the 12-16 and we will be watching this weather window closely. Our high camp is now fully stocked with oxygen and supplies and everything is in position. We will keep you updated in the coming days as to the teams movement.

Best from EBC

Mike Hamill, Expedition Leader

Also, the Full Circle Everest team is getting into position:

The Full Circle team is currently heading up the mountain, and will attempt the summit of Chomolungma/Mt. Everest in the next few days. After countless hours of training, preparing, and dedication, the team is getting ready to make a push for the summit. This historic feat is a community effort that would not have been possible without all of you. Stay tuned this week for an update from the summit push 🙏🏽

I’ll be doing request updates as we begin seeing Everest summits. Also, look for a special Podcast and YouTube interview with Tim Bogdanov who was rescued from Annapurna last month. He tells a chilling tale of getting lost and multiple mistakes he made during his no Os climb.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

The Podcast on alanarnette.com

You can listen to #everest2022 podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Anchor, and more. Just search for “alan arnette” on your favorite podcast platform.

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2 thoughts on “Everest 2022: Alpenglow Makalu Success, Avalanche Death on Lhotse

  1. Brilliant as usual. Thank you for providing us with this ringside view of all the happenstances on the mountain. The Indian team has lost a friend and colleague on Kanchenjunga – Narayanan Iyer from my hometown Pune. Just the things that take place on mountains.

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