Himalaya Fall 2017: Duble Amputee Summits Mera Peak, Messner in Base Camp

Hari Budha Magar double above knee amputee

It has been another active few days in the Himalaya, where we are closing in on the halfway point of the fall climbing season. The teams are in the midst of their acclimatization rotations in anticipation of summit bids to come, but are keeping a close eye on weather forecasts to determine their next move. But, as usual, there is a lot happening, and not all if it is centered around the big 8000 meter peaks.

We’ll start with an update on Hari Budha Magar, the double-amputee who set his sights on Mera Peak this fall. The former British Gurkha soldier has reached the summit on that mountain, becoming the first person to do so following the loss of his legs above the knee. He, and four other members of the team, topped out on the 6476-meter (21,246 ft) mountain at 9:02 AM local time on Tuesday.

Magar, who lost his legs while fighting in Afghanistan, used this expedition as training for an upcoming attempt on Everest. He now plans to attempt to summit the world’s highest mountain in the spring of 2018. He has now descended off of Mera Peak and is resting before proceeding for home.

Meanwhile, mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner was back in the Himalaya this week, although the 73-year old isn’t attempting any more major expeditions. Instead, he was there to visit his son in Base Camp on a 7069 meter (23,192 ft) mountain called Tare Khang. Simon Geaser Messner and his friend Philipp Pruenster are attempting to climb that mountain this fall and are the only team in BC. As you can imagine, the two men reportedly received advice on the route from the elder Messner, who later returned to Kathmandu via helicopter.

Carlos Soria and his team continue to rest and recuperate in Base Camp on Dhaulagiri. The squad descended from higher on the mountain earlier in the week after a failed summit attempt. Apparently, they got lost on the way to the top, picked the wrong line, and couldn’t reach the summit after poor weather set in. They are standing by to try again, although they are also watching the forecasts very closely as they wait for a good weather window.

Speaking of weather, heavy rains have returned to Manaslu, forcing all of the teams there to retreat to BC as well. The storms are expected to last for at least two days, but could linger a bit longer. After that, the Seven Summits Trek team will likely be looking to make their first summit bid, while others will resume acclimatization rotations.

That’s all for today. More news to come soon I’m sure.

Kraig Becker