Winter expeditions on Nepal 8000ers: Two teams for Lhotse none for Makalu

Posted: Dec 07, 2006 09:10 pm EST

( Serap Jangbu Sherpa, the world's leading 8000+ Nepali climber and a frequent member in Japanese and Korean teams has updated ExplorersWeb on the upcoming winter 8000er climbs in his home country.

Both the Japanese and the Koreans are definitely going for the south face of Lhotse this winter. But there is no planned winter attempt on Makalu this year, according to the Nepal Tourism ministry in KTM.

Tragedy surrounds Makalu

Makalu has been a doomed peak lately: Last winter, French climber Jean-Christophe Lafaille went missing on the peak at about 7600m and was never recovered. Earlier this year, Czech climbers Martin Minarik and Pavel Kalny made plans for another Makalu winter attempt but the plan died with Pavel on Lhotse.

Tanabe back to Lhotse?

As for the Asian teams for the south face of Lhotse - a team from Japan Alpine Clubs Tokai Section is due to attempt the peak's south face this winter. This is a long-cherished goal for Japanese climbers: Osamu Tanabe led a previous Tokay expedition there in 2001.

Tanabe will probably lead this new expedition as well. The team made a preparatory climb on Shisha Pangma this fall but no summit has been confirmed.

News is also expected soon on the Korean team, reportedly sharing the same goal of the Japanese.

Osamu Tanabe is one of the leading high altitude climbers in Japan. He has summited 7, 8000ers, among them a winterly climb on Everest in 1993 (Osamu summited on December 20, one day before the beginning of calendar winter).

In 1997, Tanabe managed to reach the top of K2 partially through the West face. His Tokai team followed the fellow Japanese climbers' 1981 ridge route up to 7800 meters, and then proceeded through a new variation northwards.

Serap Jangbu has bagged a number of 8000er summits: Spring 1999, Kanchenjunga (with Park Young Seok ); fall 1999 Shisha Pangma. 2000: K2 and Shisha via the south face. 2001: Lhotse, K2, and Cho Oyu. 2002: Annapurna, Lhotse. 2004: Everest, Cho Oyu. 2005: Dhaulagiri (debated). 2006: Everest (traverse), GII, Manaslu.


South face of Lhotse, image courtesy of late Klaus Dierks' website (clik to enlarge).
File image of Tanabe's previous attempt on Lhotse's south face, at about 7,000 meters. Makalu in background. Copyright Chuunichi Shinbun 2002 - courtesy of Japan Alpine Club.

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