Autumn 2023 Himalayan Roundup: Death, Rescue and Cancellations

The Autumn season moves on with climbs on Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri and the very popular Ama Dablam. However, there were more tragedies in the 8000-meter mountains, with a death on Dhaulagiri. Nepal continues to monetize its mountains, issuing 881 climbing permits across forty-two mountains, generating $450,000 in revenue. China and France represent the two largest countries climbing this Autumn.

Dhaulagiri Death

As reported by the Russian mountaineering portal and translated by German mountaineering journalist Stefan Nestler, Russian climber Nadya Oleneva died after falling on the steep slopes above 6,500 meters. She was climbing without supplemental oxygen, ropes or support with fellow Russians, Roman Abildaev and Rasim Kashapov.

Abildaev and Kashapov arrived at Camp 2 at 6,880 meters, but Oleneva was not behind them. Upon backtracking, they found one of her trekking poles and evidence that she slid down the slope towards seracs and a steep icefall. The next day, a helicopter search discovered her body around 6,100 meters.


Oleneva was an avid alpinist and nominated for the Piolet d’Or two times, including in 2022, opening a new route through Kyrgyzstan’s steep North Face of Pik Korolyova, 5,186 meters. On her Facebook feed, she expressed excitement about the Dhaulagiri expedition:

Our expedition to Nepal starts today. Team gathering at Kathmandu. Our partnership with @romanabildaev and @kashapovrasim plans to climb the northeast rib of the 8167m Dhaulagiri, the seventh-highest peak in the world. Today, we are leaving for Pokhara, and tomorrow, we are flying a helicopter to the base camp! So I want to say, pinch me, I’m climbing the octopus! Looking forward to new heights!

Cho Oyu from Nepal

Another Russin team is attempting Cho Oyu by the SSW ridge on the Npeal side using Goyko as a base. This route has been attempted several times over the past few years, with Nepali guides hoping to use it as an alternative to Tibet’s significantly easier normal route. Bad weather has slowed their plans thus far, but there are some excellent video clips on
Cho Oyu Russian Planned Route from Nepal

Ama Dablam Rescue

The autumn season is prime time for this pointy peak. A reported 301 permits have been issued to foreigners, similar to last year. However, it was not a good start to the season, with Danish climber Brian Boll, 53, developing altitude sickness and snowblindness after summiting. He was rescued via helicopter using the long-line technique and is now back in Kathmandu in the hospital.

What’s disturbing about this otherwise fairly standard for the times’ story is that when his Nepali operator, Rajendra Lama, Managing Director at Friends Adventure, called for a helicopter rescue, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority refused to release high-altitude pilots for the mission, citing a mandatory limited flying hours rule for a day putting Mr. Boll’s life at risk. A warning to others to be sure. source

Everest Ski Expedition Cancelled

A $1 million expedition to ski the Hornbein Couloir on Everest’s Tibet side, sponsored by The North Face and National Geographic, has been canceled. Sources, including The Himalayan Times, noted that Americans Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Jim Morrison, along with Chinese climbers, had planned the expedition for over two years to honor Hilaree Nelson, who died while skiing from the summit of Mt Manaslu in 2022. The Chinese had issued them a climbing permit but not one for skiing. Upon initial arrival at the border, Chin and Anker were denied entry into Tibet. The other members continued to base camp and established C2, but the weather moved in, and the expedition was called off with still no skiing permit.

My condolences to the families of the fallen.

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