Himalaya Fall 2018: Missing Climber on Manaslu, More Summits and a Marriage Proposal on Cho Oyu

We’ve noted on several occasions that the autumn climbing season in the Himalaya is already starting to wind down, and with summits this week on Manaslu, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma, that looks like an accurate assessment. But, things aren’t completely over yet and there is still news to share, particularly from those 8000 meter peaks, which remain a hive of activity.

We’ll start on Manaslu once again, where the summit waves continue. At this point, more than 120 foreign climbers have summited the mountain, along with an additional 100 Sherpa guides. Still, the season may not be over just yet as nearly 200 permits were issued to visiting alpinists in Nepal, so roughly another 60-70 could still summit. Obviously some don’t make it to the top or didn’t even make it to the mountain to begin with, but I would expect another large group to top out sometime this week before the mountain goes silent once again.

Sadly, there is bad news to report from Manaslu as one climbers appears to have gone missing following a successful summit. The Himalayan Times says that Czech climber Roman Hlávko summited with three teammates this past Sunday but got separated from the group on the descent and has not been seen since. His climbing partners didn’t notice that he was missing until they returned to Camp 3, but due to deteriorating weather conditions a search and rescue operation has been hampered so far. A rescue team was in C2 yesterday, but it is unclear whether or not they’ll be able to proceed up the mountain to search for Hlávko.

Yesterday we reported that the summit push was well underway on Cho Oyu, where a steady stream of climbers had made their way to the top. While not nearly as busy as Manaslu, the peak is a popular one for climbers prepping for Everest or other major ascents. Teams from 7 Summit Club, Climbing the Seven Summits, Kobler, and Active Mountain have now completed their expeditions, successfully putting a large number of clients on top.

But that isn’t the most exciting news from the mountain this season as professional skier and climber Caroline Gleich proposed to her boyfriend on the summit of the mountain over the weekend. After getting down on one knee on the summit, she reports that “He said yes at 26,906 ft./ 8201m on the summit of Cho Oyu.” Congrats to the happy couple. The engagement photos include Everest and Lhotse making a cameo in the background as they celebrate the occasion.

Over on Shishapangma, things re starting to wind down quickly. That peak isn’t particularly busy in the fall either and several small teams summited this past weekend. Most are now heading home although a few remain with the hopes of still reaching the top.

Finally, an update from Dhaulagiri brings conflicting reports on the status of 79-year old Spaniard Carlos Soria. Alan Arnette is reporting that some teams have left the mountain because of the unusually heavy snowfall there this autumn. Carlos says that he is staying, but that he has never seen so much snow on the mountain. However, the weather forecasts indicate that the jet stream is shifting over the mountain and will close off access to the top until spring. It seems likely that the season is at an end there and that there will be no summits this fall.

That’s all for now. We’ll share more news as warranted.

Kraig Becker