Fall Climbing Season at its Peak: Updates from Makalu to Shishapangma

Posted: Sep 30, 2014 07:09 am EDT

(By Raheel Adnan) The post monsoon climbing season is at its peak, as summit-bids continue on Manaslu and Cho Oyu. Multiple summits have already been witnessed on both mountains, since last week. Meanwhile, the progress on Lhotse, Dhaulagiri and Makalu has been slow and steady. In a tragic incident, a Japanese climber died on Manaslu after suffering a fatal slide.



Firm Against Lhotse South Face


The last communication from Korean Lhotse South Face team has been about a week ago, when they were at BC after establishing C2 (6800m). Despite bad weather and frequent avalanches, the team has been advancing bit by bit. C2 was only reached after 12 hard days of setting up C1. However, as monsoon is over, the climbers expect an improvement in meteorological conditions.


Currently, it appears that the team has gone up the mountain again. They are hoping to establish C3 by the end of September and C4 in early days of October. The expedition is led by veteran explorer Sung Taek Hong, whereas the team consists of young and ambitious climbers.



Slovakians Face Difficulties on Dhaulagiri


The Slovak Dhaulagiri expedition has been facing difficult condition on the mountain. “Progression to Camp-1 is annoying, due to cracks. We have fixed 1200 m stretches. Tomorrow (on Sept 29th) we should finally begin to build the camp. The weather is pretty decent during the day, only to retract in the evening, and sometimes it rains,” wrote the team on 28th.



Makalu: Smooth Progress


British Tri-services team is making good progress on Makalu SE Ridge. The Sherpa have fixed the route till C2, whereas the members have returned to Base Camp after tagging C1. The weather has been favorable since Saturday; a sign of monsoon’s recede.


The second Makalu team, Madison Mountaineering Expedition, have also reached the BC. As per expedition leader Garrett Madison, they will spend a few days acclimatizing near BC before going up the route.


Garrett Madison also mentions that there is a small team of Slovenian climbers camped next to British team.



Cho Oyu Summits


Danish climber Bo Belvedere Christensen was first to reach Cho Oyu summit, this season. He launched the summit bid from C2 on 26th, and reached the top at around 4PM next day. Bo is now travelling to Shishapanmga for his attempt on second eight-thousander.


Another climber from Denmark, Ivan Braun, will also be heading to Shishapangma, soon.  Ivan summited Cho Oyu, yesterday (on 29th).


Several more summits have been reported from Cho Oyu, during past few days.


Three Italians Alice Cavallera, Alberto Pacellini and Nicola Bonaiti were successful on 28th. From Second Italian expedition, Luca Montanari and Bogdan Velev topped on 29th, whereas Luciano Dal Toè and Samuele Santagiuliana were expected to reach the summit today.


Polish climber Olek Ostrowski stood atop at 12 PM (Chinese time) on Sept 29th.


From larger commercial expeditions, Summit Climb team summited on 28th. The IMG Team’s summit equation says “2 IMG guides, 7 climbers, 6 sherpas = 15 summits”. Alpine Ascents exclaimed, “we all summited at 7am Nepal time the 29th of September!” Adventure Consultants were up there, today, “that's eight Sherpa, two AC guides and six team members.” Also Six members of Kobler Parter team reached the top on 29th.


Basque team (Oier Plazaola,  Xabier Urrate and Pedro García) was also on summit push, but further updates are awaited.


However, some teams - including Russian 7 Summit Club and Chris Burke’s team - being the “late comers” are still busy in acclimatization.



Death on Manaslu


As per reports from BC, Japanese climber Yoshimasa Sasaki (59) passed away on Manaslu near 7300m after suffering a fatal fall. He slid around 25-30m and died immediately. It appears that an operation is being launched to retrieve his body.



Manaslu Summit Bids 2


Altitude Junkies, HimEx and Arnold Coster Expeditions summited during first wave of summit-bids on Manaslu, whereas other teams - Amical Alpin, a Spanish team of seven climbers, Mountain Professionals led by explorer Ryan Waters, two members of Italian Expedition and four French climbers - are currently heading towards summit.


Also, American Alex Barber’s couldn’t succeed in his first summit attempt. However, he is back on the mountain, “On the 27th I dropped back down to Base camp and took a single day’s rest. Today, the 29th, I went from base camp to Camp 3 in a single 8 hour push.” Alex hopes to reach the summit on Oct 1st.



Worse Conditions on Shishapangma


Considering the persistent bad snow conditions and after the deadly avalanche last week, some climbers are returning home. Billi Bierling is on the way back to Kathmandu. Kobler Partner guides are retrieving material from C1 and C2, “they will not climb to summit, this fall. By heavy snow, the avalanche situation is too dangerous.”


Spaniard Carlos Soria, however, hasn’t given up, yet. He has completed the acclimatization to C2. Carlos intends to climb Iñaki variant instead of normal route.



Based in Lahore, Pakistan, telecom engineer and mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is a reporter for Explorersweb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates on Twitter and runs his own blog at Altitude Pakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram.



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Fall 2014: Lhotse South Face, Makalu SE Ridge, Shishapangma Attempts and the Busy Mountains



Despite bad weather and frequent avalanches, the Korean Lhotse team has been advancing bit by bit. C2 was only reached after 12 hard days of setting up C1. Image shows climbers working on route to C2.
courtesy Korean Lhotse South Face Expedition 2014, SOURCE
Sherpa (appearing in middle of photo) heading to C1 on Makalu SE Ridge.
courtesy Tim Taylor, SOURCE