Himalaya Spring 2015: Early Season Summits on Annapurna

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With spring just a few days old, and most climbers still preparing to set out for the Himalaya, one team has already completes the first expedition of the season on one of the most difficult mountains in the entire world. According to Explorers Web, the Dreamers Destination team has reached the summit on Annapurna, and in the process introduced a new strategy for success on that mountain.

As I wrote yesterday, the team first arrived on Annapurna in early March and have spent the past few weeks acclimatizing to the altitude while fixing ropes and establishing their camps. That early season work paid off as the entire squad reached Camp 4 yesterday, putting them in position to continue to the summit today.

Earlier, the Dreamers Destination website was updated with the following post announcing the success of the team:

“Congratulations to the team of Dreamers Destination Annapurna Expedition team 2015 for conquering Mt. Annapurna which is most difficult mountain of all. Seven Clients and 6 Sherpa have made to summit recently.”

Knowing that, we can assume that amongst the summiteers were Sherpa leaders Mingma G. Sherpa, Anggeli Sherpa, and four other members of the Sherpa team. Additionally, the seven clients include Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka, Iranian Reza Shahlaee, Turkish-American Muharrek Aydin Imrak and Macedonian Zdravko Dejanovic. The other three members of the squad are from China.

ExWeb alos quotes a dispatch from Mingma G. Sherpa in which he says: “All members and Sherpa are on top of Annapurna,” which serves to reinforce the announcement from the Dreamers Destination website.

The team used a bit of a unique strategy to summit Annapurna as early as possible in the spring. They arrived in winter, quickly acclimatized, and made their final push to the top well before the heavy snows of spring arrive. Those weather conditions often result in very difficult conditions high on the mountain during the traditional spring climbing season. Annapurna, which is widely considered the deadliest mountain in the world, is well known for having avalanches and unstable terrain as the season develops. The plan for this team was to get there early, summit prior to the arrival of the snow, and get off the mountain quickly.

The Dreamers Destination squad isn’t alone in this idea. Other mountaineers have arrived on Annapurna early this year as well, including Spaniard Carlos Soria and Aussie Chris Jensen Burke. Both have already been as high as Camp 2, and are proceeding with their acclimatization efforts too. They are still a couple of weeks off from making summit bids of their own, but they do hope to reach the top of Annapurna early this spring as well.

Meanwhile, most Himalayan climbers are still preparing to depart for Kathmandu. Many will arrive there next week, and begin the journey to their various mountains – chief amongst them being Everest. Typically there is a short break between the winter and spring climbing seasons, but this year there really hasn’t been much of a slow down as the seasons are now beginning to overlap to a degree.

This is just the start of what promises to be a busy and interesting spring in the Himalaya. Stay turned for much more to come in the days ahead.

Kraig Becker