Himalaya Spring 2017: First Summits of Lhotse, South African Climber Detained

1280px Lhotse fromChukhungRi

We’ll start the day with yet another update on the current climbing scene in the Himalaya, where things are now quickly coming to a head. On Everest, the teams are now eyeing a weekend summit push, but elsewhere there is plenty to report as well.

We’ll start on Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on the planet and the closest neighbor to Everest. Yesterday, a team of Sherpa’s completed fixing ropes to the summit of the mountain, becoming the first people to stand on top of that peak in three years. According to The Himalayan Times, that group consisted of Tshering Pemba Sherpa, Temba Bhote, Phurba Wangdi Sherpa, and Jangbu Sherpa, along with a few others, were amongst those who installed the lines and made the push to the top. They’ve now cleared the way for others to follow, with about 100 climbers expected to make the attempt in the days ahead.

As with Everest, it didn’t take long for another climber to summit Lhotse once the lines were in place. Also reaching the top of the mountain were Indian climber Debasish Biswas, John Snorri Sigursson of Iceland and Cian O Brolchain from Ireland, as well as Tsering Pemba Sherpa and Ang Chhiring Sherpa all summited. An unnamed female climber from New Zealand was also part of the summit push.

Meanwhile, The Times is also reporting that back in Kathmandu, officials have arrested Ryan Sean Davy, the South African mountaineer who attempted to climb Everest without a permit. Davy has admitted to climbing as high as 7315 meters (24,000 ft) on the South Side of the mountain before he was discovered. At that time, he was escorted off the mountain and his passport was confiscated by Nepal’s Department of Tourism. He was told to report to the DoT to retrieve said passport, and when he did so yesterday evening he was arrested. The cost of a permit to climb Everest is $11,000. No word on how long Davy will be held or what fines he’ll need to pay.

Speaking of Everest, it seems that the teams there are now readying for a weekend summit push as expected. The Mountain Professionals have officially announced their plans to depart Base Camp for Camp 2 tomorrow, which would put them on the summit on Sunday, provided everything goes as planned.

The weather report indicates that conditions continue to be in flux, and the weather window could be a tenuous one. Still, some teams are willing to jump at the opportunity to get out in front of the crowds, and the conditions are expected to be good on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the forecast will hold long enough for the climbers to get up and down safely.

With Mountain Professionals showing their hand, others are likely to follow. It usually only takes one team to get things started, and the others will launch their bids as well. That means we can expect a busy weekend on the tallest mountain on the planet, and if the weather holds, we will likely see a string of summits heading into next week.

Good luck to everyone preparing to head out. Get up and down safely.

Kraig Becker