Spring 2013 | Makalu Has been SUMMITED | First Ascent(s) of the Season

News came in from Iran this morning that Mount Makalu (8485m) has been summited by one of finest climbers of the nation. It was reported that Azim Gheichisaz reached the top of Makalu on Wednesday morning. Now, the same has been confirmed by climber's home team. Summits very early in the season are a welcome sign.

Makalu - route to the top; Source

Last week, when most of the teams were still trekking to Makalu BC (5700m), there was hint about at least one international team busy in acclimatization and establishing higher camps. Australian Gavin Vickers, who sent a few messages in past weeks, seems part of (a similar) expedition. Not many details are available about climbers and team composition. As per Azim's website his expedition consisted of fellow climbers from Serbia, Spain, China, Germany and other countries. These are first SUMMIT(s) of the climbing season Spring 2013 in Himalayas.

Azam Gheichisaz climbed Makalu in almost a perfect style. Summit was achieved within 20 days of reaching the ABC. After arriving in Kathmandu on 30th March, he flew to Tumlingtar and took a helicopter flight to Yangle Kharka village at 3600m, just below Hillary BC. After a couple of days of acclimatization rest, he advanced to ABC (5600m) on 7th April. After Puja ceremony on 11th, the higher camps were established in no time. C1 (6650m) was sat-up on 14th, C2 (7400m) on 16th and C3 (7650m~7800m) on 22nd. Instead of returning to BC for rest, he opted to push for the summit on 23rd. The climb to the top started at 7PM (22nd April) but the conditions were not appropriate and team had to turn back within couple of hours.  Next day, he pushed for summit again (starting as early as 2:30PM) and reached the top at 10:30AM in good conditions. "Half of the time I was photographing the breathtaking scenery around; then got down and spent the nights in Camp 2" - told Azim over the phone from BC, this morning.

Climbing Makalu; Source

Azim climbed without artifical oxygen and Sherpa support. It can surely be termed as a great climb, as he reached summit in less than 2 weeks - that too when route wasn't established. This is the first ascent of any Himalayan 8000er this spring. Makalu is Azim's 11th 8000er; only 3 left to become the first Iranian to complete 14x8000er. At the moment, it's not known whether someone else reached the top too.

Azim at Manaslu summit (Autumn 2012); Image source

Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world, often referred as black pyramid. Recent update on other Makalu expeditions can be read here.

 Regular updates appear in tweetbox on right side of this blog and Twitter.
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