Spring 2016 Wrap Up: Pre-Monsoon Climbing Season Ends

It has largely been a normal climbing season in Himalayas; although characterized by consistent bad weather and tough climbing conditions on some mountains. Last year’s earthquake didn’t seem to have a notable impact on climber counts. Despite some doubts before start of the season, no significant drop in number of climbers was witnessed. It appears that the trekker’s score, however, remained considerably low.

After two catastrophic seasons, 2016 proved to be a good year on world’s highest peak. It’s estimated that there were around 550 summits (South and North sides combined), including five climbers who topped out without supplemental oxygen. An attempt on SW Face by two Slovak mountaineers was abandoned after being hit by a small avalanche near 7200m, though.

A North Col climber reportedly died in Everest Northside BC on May 12th, while five others perished during May 20th-22nd summit push from Southside – all due to altitude related problems.

Spring 2016 ends, apparently, with two summits on Lhotse. On May 19th, during first summit push, several climbers were approximately 100m below the top when a member of rope fixing team Ang Furba Sherpa suffered a fatal fall. Summit bid was cancelled. Thereafter, bad weather didn't let majority of climbers go above C4.

Two Japanese climbers Kenji Kondo and Ban Ito, however, summited Lhotse on May 21st. They had climbed Everest a couple of days earlier.
(Editor's note: A previous version of story stated that no climber reached Lhotse summit.)

Despite consistent bad weather and ever-changing weather forecasts, more than 30 climbers summited Makalu in two summit windows. Four climbers including Italian Nives Meroi and Romano Benet, reached the top on May 12th. It was 13th eight-thousander for both Nives and Romano. Roughly 29 mountaineers topped out during second summit push on May 23rd.

Earlier, two climbers perished in C2 tent on the night of May 10th because of suffocation. It was apparently a case of burner-malfunction and/or poor ventilation.

Cho Oyu
Several climbers remained unsuccessful on Cho Oyu due to bad weather. Climbing conditions above C1 were also reported to be difficult. Nonetheless, four climbers summited the mountain on May 7th, whereas around a dozen made it to the top during May 14/15th summit push.

First summit attempt on Dhaulagiri around mid-May failed due to bad conditions. Majority of climbers also abandoned second summit push, a couple of days later. Nevertheless, five climbers made it to the top on May 19th.

Indian climber Rajib Bhattacharya, unfortunately, died above C3 on summit push that day. He was exhausted, snow-blind and couldn’t be rescued.

First few weeks of the season on Manaslu were marked by excessive snow and adverse weather. A summit window, though, arrived around May 9th/10th. Ten members of Dutch Korps Mariniers team stopped a little below Manaslu (true) summit, considering further climb to be unsafe. Slovak-Romanian duo Peter Hamor and Horia Colibasanu, however, summited the mountain on May 10th. It was 13th eight-thousander for Peter Hamor.

Peter and Horia also intended to climb a new route/variant on North Ridge of mountain, but bad weather ended the attempt at around 4900m.

After a lot of waiting due to bad weather and an unsuccessful summit attempt, around 30 climbers climbed Annapurna at the end of April / early May. Boyan Petrov was first to summit on April 30th, while others reached the top on May 1st.

Annapurna was reportedly South Korean Mingon Kim's 13th and Carlos Soria's 12th eight-thousander. 77 year old Soria also become oldest person to summit Annapurna.

Shisha Pangma
Conditions on Shisha Pangma were worse than other 8000m peaks. Climbing season didn’t really kickoff on Northside of the mountain, while two strong mountaineers Ueli Steck and David Gottler were turned back from 7800m and 7600m in two summit attempts from South. David and Ueli’s plan to attempt a new route was thwarted by consistent bad weather.

On Northside, two climbers died after falling into a hidden crevasse at 6200m on April 24th. This virtually marked the end of climbing season for all teams.

Here is a quick summary of known summits / fatalities, this season.
  • Everest: 550+ / 6
  • Kangchenjunga: 0 / 0*
  • Lhotse: 2 / 1
  • Makalu: 33 / 2
  • Cho Oyu: 15+ / 0
  • Dhaulagiri: 5 / 1
  • Manaslu: 2 / 0
  • Annapurna: 30 / 0
  • Shisha Pangma: 0 / 2
* Apparently, no team attempted Kangchenjunga this season.
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