Spring 2014 | Eight-thousanders Update

A tragic ice avalanche, followed by series of controversial events resulted in cancellation of almost all Everest Southside and Lhotse expeditions. However, the season proceeds at usual pace on Everest Northside and other eight-thousanders. Here is an overview of recent climbing activities.

1. Kangchenjunga New Route

Denis Urubko, Alex Txikon, Adam Bielecki, Artjom Braun and Dmitri Sinev are currently working on Kangchenjunga North Face British Route. The team intends to use it for acclimatization and descent. The new route, alpine style attempt will be launched after this.

In first two rotations, they established two camps and reached as high as 6900m. Currently, all five climbers are on the mountain trying to reach 7500m and set up C3. Denis and Artem went up on May 5th; Alex, Adam and Dmitri left BC yesterday (6th).

Kangchenjunga North Face; Source

2. Shishapangma Summits

Horia Colibasanu, Justin Ionescu and Peter Hamor were first to reach the summit of any 8000er this season. They summited Shishapangma on April 30th.

Next day, on May 1st, Iranian Azim Gheichisaz also reached the top. Shishapangma was his 13th eight-thousander. He needs to climb Lhotse to become the first Iranian to complete 14x8000ers. It’s reported that Azim climbed alone from C3 to summit in extremely cold conditions.

The initial summits were followed by a bad weather patch. However, now teams are heading up again for a possible summit window on May 8th. Dominik Mueller of Amical Alpin reports that they reached C2 on May 6th in snowy conditions. They will assess the conditions, before going up today. Another team retreated from C3 yesterday, due to excessive snow.

American mountaineer, Alexander Barber, also tweeted from C2, “looking to summit Thursday, the 8th. Very tough climb, heavy snow and extremely cold.”

Lastly, Azerbaijani duo, Firuz Dadashov and Israfil Ashurly, left the mountain after Israfil suffered altitude sickness during summit push on May 1st

Shishapangma; Source

3. Death on Makalu

Several Makalu climbers have completed acclimatization and are ready for summit push, now. However, tragic news came in from BC, about the death of French alpinist Yannick Gagneret, last week. Yannick showed signs of HACE while spending a night in C2. Fellow climbers Ferran Latorre and Ralph Schweizer managed to bring him down to C1. Yannick passed away, while he was being lowered from C1 to BC by Chris Warner and others.

Billi Bierling (of Himex team) writes that ropes will be fixed all the way to the top before their team launches the final summit push. Last year, the route could have been fixed till 8200m, which forced all commercial clients to turn back; only few independent climbers went on to reach the summit.

4. Annapurna Season is Over

The two teams attempting Annapurna have abandoned their climbs. The conditions on the mountain are reported to be difficult and dangerous.

The International team was first to make an unsuccessful summit push on April 24th. They turned back 1000m short of summit. The descent proved to be equally challenging, as several members suffered falls but fortunately remained safe. Norwegian Tore Sunde-Rasmussen updated on Facebook that they returned to Kathmandu via helicopter on April 26th.

The Romanian team reached C3 on April 28th and was hoping to reach the summit in next couple of days. But on May 3rd, Zsolt Torok’s home team reported that Zsolt and Cristian were evacuated from the mountain due to “great avalanche danger and health troubles”. The expedition is over.

5. Alone at Lhotse/Everest BC

American Cleo Weidlich is the only climber (team) at Lhotse/Everest Southside Base Camp, reports 4bakancs.com. She is unable to make significant progress, yet. The chances of Lhotse and Everest Nepal side summits, this season, diminish as monsoon is less than a month away.

6. Kangchenjunga - Bad Weather

Kangchenjunga normal route climbers are currently at BC due to bad weather. Samuli Mansikka, who is climbing alone and without Sherpa support, has shifted the gear to C3 (7400m) and is now looking for summit window. Italian and Spanish teams are also at BC now.

7. Dhaulagiri Summit Push Over

First summit push on Dhaulagiri has been thwarted at 7400m due to excessive snow. Leader of RMI team, Elias deAndres Martos, announced that they are wrapping up the expedition and are on the way back to Kathmandu.

Iranian lady, Parvaneh Kazemi, is in coordination with other climbers at BC to decide the way forward.

8. Cho Oyu Summit Window

The route on Cho Oyu has been fixed till C3 and several teams are ready for summit push. Jim Walkley wrote on May 5th, “we will depart the day after tomorrow (May 6th) for Camp I, move to Camp II on the 7th and depart for the summit at ~2am on the 8th.”

Wind is forecasted to increase significantly on May 9th and next summit window is projected no earlier than May 20th.

Meanwhile, SummitClimb team is still at BC after acclimatization climb to C2.

9. Progress on Manaslu

Adventure Consultants, the only team on the mountain, has completed acclimatization to C3 and is now ready for summit push. They touched C3 yesterday (May 6th), before descending down to BC.

Towards C2 on Manaslu; Source

10. Everest Northside

Everest Northside teams are progressing as usual; finalizing the acclimatization and waiting for ropes to be fixed till summit. Peter Hamor and Horia Colibasanu are expected to reach North BC soon, for their no O2, light style attempt.

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