Himalaya Spring 2017: More Summits on Everest, Dhualagiri, and Makalu

Mt Everest climbers

With mid-May finally here, the pace of climbing has definitely started to pick up in the Himalaya. The season will start to grow short soon, and in just a few weeks it will close down altogether. With that in mind, teams are on the move all over the region, with more than a few now finding success on their respective mountains.

Yesterday we reported that the route to the top of Mt. Everest from the South Side had opened after the rope fixing team took advantage of a small weather window to finish installing the lines to the summit. We also knew that a few foreign climbers followed closely behind but just how many remained a bit of a mystery. Today, The Himalayan Times reports that at least 35 other climbers summited Everest in the wake of the rope fixing team, with some of the most prepared and eager mountaineers also taking advantage of the weather window. The group of summiteers was a mix of both foreign climbers and Sherpa guides. With the weather window now closing, they are all descending back to Base Camp today.

Most of the teams are now in Base Camp and eyeing the forecast, which calls for higher winds over the next few days. But, as we inch closer to the weekend, conditions are expected to improve and another weather window is expected to open. Look for a major push on both sides of Everest to begin on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, with climbers looking to top out over the weekend. We’re in the final stages of the season now, but there is a lot of work to be done before we’re through.

On the North Side of Everest, Romanian climber Horia Colibasanu has also successfully summited without the use of bottled oxygen or Sherpa support. For Colibasanu this is his eighth 8000-meter peak and he has now become the first Romanian climber to summit Everest without the use of supplemental O’s. He is reportedly in good condition and feeling healthy as he makes his way back to BC.

Similarly, Peter Hámor has summited Dhaulagiri in without oxygen and in alpine style. For the Slovak, it was his 14th 8000-meter peak, all without using O’s. That makes him the 17th person overall to complete that feat, and he also holds the distinction of being the only man to climb Annapurna twice. Once is usually enough for most climbers. Hámor is also reportedly safely down from the mountain and savoring his accomplishment.

Last week we reported that a summit push on Makalu failed when a group of climbers neared the summit, only to discover they didn’t have enough rope to finish the ascent. The following day however, three more climbers went up the mountain and according to ExWeb were able to reach the summit. Those climbers included Mingma Gylje Sherpa, Tashi Sherpa, and a Chinese climber named Jingxue. Apparently, this expedition nearly had to turn back as well, as they were informed that rope fixing had been complete. But, thankfully, they decided to bring extra rope along and were able to complete that task when they learned that the lines were in fact not in place.

That’s all for now. More to come soon as things really get moving over the next few days.

Finally, ExWeb is also reporting that a summit push is now underway on Kangchenjunga, where a team of a dozen climbers have now launched their bid to reach the top. Among them is Australian climber Chris Jensen Burke who continues to whittle away at the 8000-meter peaks as well. The Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition of Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are not part of the group however as they wait for better weather to come.

Kraig Becker