The Chinese refused to make an exception for Norwegian Kristin Harila to attempt Cho Oyu and Shishapangma from Tibet, thus ending her current attempt to get all fourteen 8000ers in the shortest time. Meanwhile, Ama Dablam continues to see summit after summit with a record number of permits this Autumn.
China Play Favorites
China closed Shishapangma in the Autumn of 2019, saying all foreigners must be out of Tibet no later than October 1, fearing protests around China’s National Day commemorating the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Additionally, China had said no climbing on Shishapangma a few months earlier after a string of deaths and accidents on the lowest of the fourteen 8000ers. They officially stated then that they believed the mountain had become too dangerous to climb but most likely, that is just an excuse to keep people out of Tibet.
But then the Chinese mountaineering authorities made an exception and allowed Nirmal Purja Pun Magar to climb Shish from Tibet to set an 8000er record in under seven months. However, according to a study posted online, 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 but only reached it in the autumn of 2021.
This leaves Harila the opportunity to set an 8000er speed record when China opens Tibet for climbing next Spring, as many operators expect. Harila’s Sherpa support team of Pasdawa Sherpa, and Dawa Ongju Sherpa, of 8K Expeditions are caught up in these politics, as is the young Brit, Adriana Brownlee, 21, is attempting to be the youngest to get all of the 8000ers. And then there is Grace Tseng, who is under some scrutiny about her Manaslu claims. She wanted to be the youngest Tawainese to get all 14.
Harila posted on IG:
It is over for now💔😭
Right now I am just trying to come to terms with the past 6 months, and especially all the effort we have gone through to try and get the permits for the last two mountains Cho Oyu and Shishapangma…
We have left no stone unturned in this process, and have exhausted every possible avenue to make this happen, but unfortunately due to reasons out of our control we were unable to get the permits in time😭
As you all know I have put everything I have on the line to make this happen, and falling short with just 2 peaks left due to factors out of my control is something I am struggling to process right now💔
It’s been an amazing journey. But it has also been a rollercoaster with many ups and downs, and a lot of hard work in between. The most difficult part has for sure been in between the climbing. I am so happy to have @fieldprod with me, documenting everything🙏🏻The whole story will be told on film when it is ready
There was an attempt to climb Cho from the Nepal side, but it failed due to harsh conditions. That side is rarely climbed due to objective dangers. Of the 3,923 summits on Cho, only 135 have been from the Nepal side.
There are no problems with permits on Nepal’s 6000er, Ama Dablam. The Ministry of Tourism has issued 336 foreign permits through October 23. As always, these days, you can double that number to account for support climbers, so around 700 people are attempting Ama this Autumn.
Thus far, no reports of severe crowds, but many teams have just arrived at base camp to begin their assault. One factor working in their favor is acclimating on other peaks like Lobuche or Island Peak, thus eliminating one rotation on Ama, so teams climb from BC to the summit in one push.
The weather has been nice recently after a difficult start to the autumn with heavy rain and snow. Let’s hope it stays nice for the remainder of the climbing season. It’s full-on trekking season in Nepal, so the trails are filled with people who are enjoying the experience of a lifetime.
Climbing in 2023
If you want to climb the world’s most popular peaks next year, sign up early as climbs on peaks like Rainier, Mont Blanc, and Denali fill up fast. Astonishingly, commercialization is taking over many of the 8000ers, including Everest and K2, so train hard now to go in with the chance for a positive experience, as none of these climbs are “easy, and no experience is required.”
Memories are Everything
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If you dream of climbing mountains but are unsure how to start or reach your next level, from a Colorado 14er to Rainier, Everest, or even K2, we can help. Summit Coach is a consulting service that helps aspiring climbers worldwide achieve their goals through a personalized set of consulting services based on Alan Arnette’s 25 years of high-altitude mountain experience, including summits of Everest, K2, and Manaslu, and 30 years as a business executive.