Himalaya Fall 2016: More Summits on Cho Oyu and Manaslu, a Double Summit, and Death on Shisha

Mt Cho Oyu base camp

As expected, there was a lot of news out of the Himalaya this past weekend, where good weather allowed a number of teams to summit their respective mountains. It now appears as if most of the commercial teams are winding down their activities, and it has been a very successful couple of days.

We’ll start on Manaslu, where The Himalayan Times now reports that 150 climbers summited over a two day period. 100 of those topped out last Friday, while another 50 completed their climbs on Saturday. Amongst them were the Seven Summit Treks team, which has the largest squad on the mountain this autumn. No small feat considered there were 17 total teams there this year. By all accounts, it was a well scheduled and orderly ascent and descent, with most of the teams now back in Base Camp and preparing to head back to Kathmandu.

Over on Cho Oyu we already knew that the Adventure Consultants had topped out at the end of last week, and the IMG team wasn’t far behind. They summited yesterday, putting another 19 climbers on top, and bringing the total close to 40 on the Tibetan side of the mountain. The Adventure Consultants are packed and heading out for KTM today, but the IMG squad will likely rest a bit in BC and begin heading for home later this week.

Speaking of Cho Oyu, one climber performed an impressive feat on that mountain this weekend. Australian Rolfe Oostra managed to summit last Friday, then return to the top again the following day, pulling off a rare double-summit of the 6th highest peak on the planet. An experienced mountain guide, Oostra first went up the peak with two of his staff members, then guided two clients up the following day. That is quite a display of strength and fortitude to say the least.

The news wasn’t quite so good on Dhaulagiri. After a few days of radio silence, the Altitude Junkies checked in over the weekend to report that they had aborted their summit bid. The plan was to top out on October 1, but once they reached Camp 1 they discovered very deep snow along the route. In fact, it was roughly a meter (3 ft) deep in parts, making it very tough going. The team has now returned to BC and is discussing what to do next. With more snow in the forecast, the expedition could be over without an opportunity to summit. We’ll learn more soon.

Finally, some sad news from Shishapangma, where the Times is reporting that a Sherpa named Pemba who was climbing with the RMI team was struck and killed by an avalanche. The accident took place just below Camp 3 on the mountain as the Sherpa team was moving up with gear and supplies. No one else was injured, and all are safely back in BC at the moment. Our condolences to Pemba’s friends and family.

That’s all for today. More news as it warranted.

Kraig Becker