Himalaya Spring 2009 Update: More Summits and the Mountains Claim A Life


Lots more action today away from Everest once again with news on more summits, and the sad tale of another death in the Himalaya.

Lets start with the bad news first. Hungarian climber Levente Szabo lost his life on Manaslu after falling to his death on that mountain. Levente reached as high as 7800m before turning back for Camp 4, but along the way he slipped and fell. His body was found at 6800m where he was buried. My condolences to his friends, family, and climbing team. Two of his Hungarian countrymen did summit Manaslu however, with Zsolt Eross and Daniel Barna reaching the top of the 8156m peak. For Eross, this is his 8th 8000m peak.

On Everest’s neighbor Lhotse, there are more summits to report today, with the news that a slew of climbers have gone up the past few days, including Xavi Arias, Domhnall Dochartaigh, Roger Danks and Josette Valloton. Xavi reports that it was extremely cold at the summit, which took it’s toll on the climbers.

The Polish Team on Nanda Devi are reporting in today that that two of the climbers, Jarek Woćko and Daniel Cieszyński, have set off for the summit, following a short rest in BC. If the weather holds, it looks like they could top out in the next few days. Meanwhile, their teammates are all over the mountain fixing lines and making sure the camps are ready for their arrival. Great teamwork guys, and good luck on the summit push!

Over on Kangchenjunga, ExWeb is reporting that Edurne Pasaban and Alex Chicon have been successfully evacuated from base camp, and are now back in Kathmandu. They’ll return to Spain tomorrow, where they’ll be treated for severe frostbite in the Zaragoza hospital, which specializes in mountain medicine. After a similar experience on K2 a few years back, Edurne spent some time in the same hospital, recovering. Get well soon you two!

Finally, yesterday I reported that the Ski The Himalayas Team was packing up and heading home after an aborted summit attempt in the past few days. Two of the team members became ill, and conditions conspired against them to prevent the boys from reaching the summit of the 23,390 foot Baruntse. Ben Clark checks in with CNN to report on the lessons learned from this expedition and you can listen and watch on the video below. I love listening to Ben, both in these dispatches, and on The Rest of Everest, as he is so candid, straight forward, and always positive about his climbs, even when he doesn’t achieve the summits. Keep in mind, he, and his companions, Josh Butson and Jon Miller, did complete the first ski descent of the mountain, so they have a lot to be happy about. Nice work guys, and great job knowing when it was time to go back down and head home.

Embedded video from CNN Video