Climbing in the Himalaya continues to set records. Sadly another death. Some previous records are being questioned while others continue their pursuits.
The popular 6000 meter Nepal peak, Ama Dablam, 22,349 feet is currently swamped with climbers and their support, some estimates are over 800 will be the final total. The Nepal Ministry of Tourism has officially issued 250 permits to foreigners as of October 19,2022. You can double that for support climbers so we are already at 500. However, as one climber told me, they were there with few people thus far. So like I always say, you can still enjoy climbing in Nepal, or Pakistan, if you go at the right time, on the right route with the right team.
There has already been one death on Ama. Tragically, Mingma Wangdi Sherpa was found dead at Camp 3. He was part of the Seven Summits Rope fixing team, but somehow got separated.
Cho Oyu From Nepal
Meanwhile in the 8000 meter time race, Norwegian Kristin Harila is on track to get all fourteen 8000ers in the shortest time, but a huge snag awaits her. Thus far, she has twelve of the fourteen, all with climbing Sherpas, Pasdawa Sherpa, and Dawa Ongju Sherpa, of 8K Expeditions. Also climbing with Kristin is young Brit, Adriana Brownlee, 21, with Seven Summits Treks who wants to be the youngest to get all of the 8000ers.
The foreign climbers are heavily supported by a reported 14 Sherpas from Seven Summits Treks and Pioneer Adventure who said they have “touched 7300m and set a summit target date for October 22, 2022.”
Harila usually climbs with just two Sherpas but the Cho route from Nepal is rarely climbed and definitely dangerous, especially towards the top due to avalanches and other objective dangers. Of the 3,923 summits on Cho, only 135 have been from the Nepal side. They have had issues with the weather being stuck in Lukla for a week and then an avalanche wiped out the fixed rope between Camps 1 and 2.
2022 has been a treacherous weather year across Nepal and Pakistan with an unusual monsoon. Let’s hope they get a break and can climb safely.
If she can get Cho, then Shishapangma remains and thus the snag. She needs permission from China and they have closed it for the last two years allegedly due to COVID. She recently gave the update “The Chinese government has yet not accepted my request to climb Cho Oyu [from Tibet] and Shishapangma.”
The current 8000er record is 189 days between April 23 and October 29, 2019, by Nirmal Purja Pun Magar and is recognized by Guinness World Records. However, a study posted online notes it took Nirmal five years, four months, and 25 days to complete all 14, primarily due to their conclusion that he didn’t reach Manaslu’s true summit during his 2019 campaign and only did in the autumn of 2021. Kristin’s first summit of the project was Annapurna on April 28, 2022. She will need to finish by November 3, 2022, to get the speed record under six months, but could go into next year to still get a record.
Record or No Reocrd for Grace Tseng?
The Taiwan News posted a provocative article questioning whether Grace Tseng actually made the true Manaslu summit in a record 13 hours citing another article by Formosa News. It’s reported she offered no proof and her WaBay fundraising account is now frozen. She had raised over NT$5 million (US$156,000).
She is suppose to be on Cho Oyu with Harila and Brownlee then Shish aiming to set a Taiwanese record, but she’s’ gone quiet for now. If operators care about their credibility, they need be careful not be complicit in any fraud. Somehow, I feel like reporting on climbing has become fodder better for a British or American tabloid.
Not All Climbs Use Sherpas
It may feel these days that you must hire a Sherpa to climb a mountain, well while not a bad idea, there are many climbs, obviously, around the world that do not rely on Sherpa Power. Coming up in the Southern Hemisphere are climbs like Argentina’s Aconcagua, Antartica’s Vinson Massif, Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl, Mexico, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Cayambe, Ecuador. While many Nepali operators are now expanding to climb these peaks, the local guides have been doing just fine for decades.
I use the Himalayan Database as my primary source of Everest summit statistics. If you are climbing in 2022, they are asking you to fill in an electronic web-based survey. This replaces the time-consuming process of visiting each team in their hotel before the climb. Please use this link to complete the survey. You can now download the HDB for free at their site.
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