As mentioned last week, the fall climbing season in Nepal is starting to ramp up, with teams heading to Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, and other big peaks in the Himalaya. Climbers have been arriving in Kathmandu for the past week or so, with most already en route to their respective Base Camps. Now, we can add one more team to the list we’ll be following this season, as a group of climbers have targeted Lhotse for a fall summit.
The Himalayan Times is reporting that Korean alpinist Sung Taek Hong and Spanish climber Jorge Egocheaga Rodriguez arrived in Nepal today and will spend the next few days preparing their gear and getting ready to begin the expedition. The duo intend to climb Lhotse’s South Face, which has only been accomplished once before. For Hong, this is his fifth attempt on the mountain, while Egocheaga brings a wealth of experience on all 14 8000-meter peaks to the expedition.
According to Nepali officials, this will be the only expedition to Lhotse this fall, and at the moment there are no teams scheduled to climb Everest this season either. Hong and Egocheaga are currently planning on flying out to Lukla on September 9, where they will begin the trek to Everest Base Camp. That hike will help with the early stages of acclimation, and it seems likely they may warm-up on one of the other peaks in the Khumbu Valley before leaving for Lhotse.
Meanwhile, over on Dhaulagiri, Carlos Soria has begun his first acclimatization rotation. The mountain has been getting doused by the last rains of the summer monsoon, but the storms have finally abated long enough to begin climbing. Soria and his team will now head up to Camp 1 and Camp 2 over the next few days as they prepare their bodies for the challenges ahead. Dhaulagiri is one of just two 8000-meter mountains still on the list for the 77-year old Spanish climber, who continues to grind it out in the Himalaya.
With Tibet closed to climbers this fall, Nepal will be the center of attention in the weeks ahead. It seems likely that we’ll see some more interesting expeditions added to the list as the season begins to unfold. For now, it is mostly large commercial teams, but the smaller, more independent squads will most likely arrive soon too.
More to come.
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