ExWeb has a great article today that talks about alternative climbs now that China has put such heavy restrictions on entering Tibet, thus making it hard on climbers to go to Cho Oyu or Shisha Pangma.
One of the mountains to pick up the extra traffic has been Pumori, a 7161m (23,494 foot) peak located a short distance to the west of Everest along the Nepal-Tibet border. ExWeb notes that it is a dangerous climb, having racked up just 472 summits since it was first climbed back in 1962, with 42 deaths on the mountain. Percentage wise, that’s a higher toll than on Everest or Ama Dablam, both of which have much higher summit counts.
Their assertion is that the Chinese are forcing teams that would normally have gone to Cho Oyu or Shisha Pangma to go to mountains like Pumori, which may be too dangerous for inexperienced climbers. They note that while the mountain is not a big technical challenge, it’s exposed slopes make it dangerous for avalanches and steep falls.
This fall season has Peak Freaks climbing Pumori since their permits to Tibet have been so difficult to come by. The team intends to climb in October and sees the mountain as a suitable substitute for one of the 8000m peaks.
I suppose this is another side effect of the Chinese making it difficult to climb in Tibet right now. The guide services need to stay in business and offer their clients other climbs, so they are looking elsewhere. Sometimes to lesser traveled and less explored mountains may become the new challenges for climbers who don’t have the experience. Then again, Pumori, as noted, is not a challenging climb in the general sense, although conditions there can make it unsafe. Hopefully the guide servies know and understand this when taking their teams there or to similar mountains.
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