Himalaya 2013: Trouble On Kangchenjunga

As the final days unfold on Everest as similar drama is playing out on other mountains across the region. The summit push is on for many climbers who are now also racing the clock to beat what appears to be an impending shift in the weather. If that shift comes, it could mean that the entire Himalayan season will be over. The Monsoon is now just days away.

We’ll start on Kangchenjunga today, where ExWeb is reporting that there is a difficult story still unfolding. Hungarian climbers Zsolt Eross and Peter Kiss topped out on the 8586 meter (28,169 ft) peak – the third tallest in the world – on Monday. This a mountain with a fearsome reputation however, which they discovered on their descent.

Exhausted from their climb, the two men were moving incredibly slowly and were forced to spend a night at 8300 meters (27,230 ft), most likely without a tent or shelter of any kind. Yesterday morning they told their home team that they were back on the move and feeling a bit better, but were still struggling to make progress.

What has become of them since then is unknown, although it is believed that they may have been able to descend to Camp 4. Keep your fingers crossed. This is an evolving story at the moment and getting down from C4 will be no easy task.

And if things couldn’t get any worse, there also appears to have been an avalanche on the mountain as well, which may have claimed the lives of Korean climber Park Nam SU and his Sherpa guide Phurba. That story is still coming out as well, but the news is that they are lost too.

Carlos Soria and Oscar Cadiach have abandoned their attempt on Kangchenjunga, coming up just short of the summit a few days back. Both men have returned to BC where they are resting before going home. High winds and some logistical issues kept them from reaching the summit, but they feel confident that they gave it their best shot and made the right decision in turning back.

Update: It seems Oscar did indeed summit Kangchenjunga on Monday and successfully returned to BC today. Oscar’s partner Lluis Rafols turned back below the summit however. There are few details at this time, but congratulations to Oscar on completing this tough climb!

The Italian team that includes Annalisa Fioretti did manage to find some success, putting Mario Vielmo on the summit. It is unclear if anyone else on the team was with him at the time, but the entire group is back in BC and preparing to go home too. Update: Annalisa dropped me a note to let me know that while she did not summit, she did reach 8370 meters (27,460 ft) which is a new record for an Italian woman on Kangchenjunga.

Jumping over to Makalu, Kinga Baranowska and Rafal Fronia spent an extra day in Camp 2 yesterday in an attempt to let winds die down near the summit. They hope to move up to C3 today, which would put them in a position to summit tomorrow if all goes well. There is still now word from Don Bowie however. He is also on Makalu and presumably part of any current summit pushes.

Finally, Polish climber Pawel Michalski was unable to go for the summit of Dhaulagiri yesterday due to hurricane force winds. He was hoping to give it a shot today, although there has been no word yet on whether or not that was possible. In his most recent dispatch, Pawel says that this is the final chance. Hopefully he is on his summit push now and all is proceeding according to plan.

More updates soon.

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9 thoughts on “Himalaya 2013: Trouble On Kangchenjunga”

  1. Oscar Cadiach summited Kangchenjunga yesterday on May 20, 2013. His partner Lluis Rafols decided once exceeded the field IV (7200m) turn around . Lluís waited camp IV to fellow Oscar.
    On May 22, 2013, they both arrived Base Camp (5 hours ago).

  2. Hi Kraig,

    Sad to say but it looks like the 2 Hungarian summiters will not come back home… They did not make it back to camp IV, and there is no radio contact with them for more than a day now. Since it was a summit attempt, they did not have any camp gear nor a stove, so there is not much hope of finding them alive.

  3. Thanks for the update PrariePanther. Sad news indeed, but I guess not unexpected considering how long it has been since we heard from them. Such an awful outcome. 🙁

  4. It is really sad. The elder of the two climbers, Zsolt Eross, was the most successful Hungarian climber, with 9 8000-metre peaks already (8 of them without supplemental O2, some of them solo). He lost his right foot from below the knee after an accident 3 years ago, but kept on climbing and succeeded on Lhotse. The younger guy was 26, Peter Kiss, one of the biggest climbing talents in Hungary. He climbed all peaks of the European Alps rising above 400 metres (all 82 of them). He was a Himalaya novice, but a darn good climber. This is a huge loss for the small Hungarian climbing community.

  5. Sorry, I wanted to write all peaks of the European Alps above 4,000 (four thousand) metres.

  6. No trace of the two Hungarian climbers. They spent two nights at around 8100 meters without any water, oxigen and a tent when they contacted BC the last time Eross reported that Kiss had fallen.

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