Himalaya Fall 2018: Avalanche on Dhaulagiri Leaves Sherpa Missing

Dhaulagiri base camp

I’ve been off the grid in Colorado over the past few days, so I haven’t had a chance to post many updates. We’ll start to get back on schedule today however, with an update from the Himalaya. Unfortunately, the first story is a sad one.

The Himalayan Times is reporting that an avalanche hit Dhaulagiri earlier today just as a team of Sherpas was installing ropes above Camp 2. The avalanche swept down the slope, injuring several members of the team while sweeping away Dawa Geljen Sherpa, who remains missing at this time.

Search and rescue operations are underway, including a long-line helicopter which is helping to evacuate climbers. The helicopters that have been on the scene are also combing the mountain looking for the missing Sherpa. So far, there efforts have come up empty.

There are two teams climbing on Dhaulagiri this fall, including one squad that includes 79-year old Carlos Soria. None of the foreign climbers were involved in the avalanche apparently, and all are safe back in Base Camp at the moment.

Meanwhile, over on Manaslu –– the busiest 8000-er this fall –– things seem to be going according to plan. There have been few updates from the mountain, but we do know that ropes have been installed up to Camp 4 and that the climbers are in the midst of their acclimatization rotations. No word on if the food/supplies shortage had ended, but presumably the commercial teams have found ways to shuttle gear up to BC.

Cho Oyu is also seeing its fair share of climbers this season too. The teams that are there, including the Adventure Consultants, have started that acclimatization rotations as well. Most are now in Camp 1 or Camp 2, allowing their bodies to become accustomed to the thinner air ahead of their summit bids, which are still a few weeks off.

So far, the autumn season is proceeding about as well as can be expected. There are some major, non-commercial expeditions, that are just starting to ramp up that will be worth following soon. But for now, we have business as usual in the Himalaya.

Kraig Becker