It continues to be a busy time in the Himalaya, where teams are now squarely focused on finishing up their acclimatization efforts and planning summit bids. While it will likely be another week or so before the push gets underway on Everest, elsewhere in Nepal the first 8000 meter summits of the year have been recorded, even as plans are in place to finish fixing ropes on the highest mountain on the planet.
Last Sunday, five climbers managed to top out on Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8167 meters (26,794 ft.). That team consisted of Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Nga Tashi Sherpa, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, Liu Yong Zhong and Dong Hong Juan, all of whom stood on top at 12:20 PM local time on April 30. The weather was reportedly good, and other teams on that mountain are now preparing to follow suit, including Spaniard Carlos Soria, who is looking to bag his 13th 8000-meter peak.
On Everest, the rope fixing team has headed back up the mountain and now plans to complete its work tomorrow, May 6. That means that the route will be complete all the way to the summit, allowing the commercial teams to finally launch their summit bids. Ultimately, it will be the weather that decides when that happens, with the earliest window looking like it could come sometime next week. Meanwhile, another rope fixing team is looking to complete its work on Lhotse on May 8 or 9 as well, clearing the way for teams heading up that mountain too. Once this job is done, we’ll definitely be in the calm before the storm, as once the weather clears for a long enough period, the rush to the top will truly be under way.
Finally, The Himalayan Times is reporting that Ueli Steck was laid to rest in the Khumbu Region of Nepal yesterday. The remains of the climber, who perished in a tragic accident earlier in the week, were taken to Tengboche monastery where they were cremated. At least nine Buddhist monks oversaw the proceedings, which included a sermon that lasted for three hours prior to completing the ceremony.
In addition to the monks, Ueli’s wife Nicole was present, as were his parents, and several close friends. Only those who were part of this close circle were allowed to participate and visit the scene where he was finally laid to rest. A second ceremony will be held in Switzerland for friends and family, as well as the general public, as well.
That’s all for today. Next week should be an interesting one for the teams. It looks like the summit season should be upon us at long last.