Himalaya Fall 2018: More Summits and the “Dream Line” Skied on Lhotse

Lhotse fromChukhungRi

To say that it has been a busy couple of days in the Himalaya would be an understatement. This past weekend saw a significant number of summits on several mountains, along with a few historic achievements in the big mountains. And while the commercial climbing season is starting to wind down, there is still a number of big expeditions that are still ongoing.

We’ll start this update on Lhotse, where Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison made history over the weekend. The duo became the first to ski what is often referred to as “the Dream Line” from the summit of the fourth highest peak in the world. This route is more than 7000 feet (2133 meters) in length, starting at the 8516-meter (27,939 ft) summit and dropping down to Camp 2. This massive descent has been partially skied in the past, but this was the first time anyone has done its entire length.

According to The Himalayan Times, Nelson and Morrison reached the summit of Lhotse at 1:27 PM yesterday afternoon local time. They were accompanied by Dutch Michael and Nicholas Kalis along with Ila Nuru Sherpa and Fu Tashi Sherpa. The evening before, Urken Lendu Sherpa and Palden Namge Sherpa installed the fixed ropes to the top, with Urken become the first to reach the summit. This paved the way for the historic ski decent the following day.

The entire team is reportedly back down the mountain safely and in Camp 2. They’ll descend further today and most likely start the process of heading home.

Meanwhile, over on Manaslu, the commercial teams have begun winding down their operations. Throughout last week we had reports of successful summits on that mountain, but even more came over the weekend. Seven Summit Treks continued taking clients to the top, along with several other teams. As a result, more than 120 foreign climbers, along with 100 climbing Sherpas, have now summited the mountain this autumn season.

Nepal’s Department of Tourism reports that 192 foreign climbers, on 18 different teams, obtained permits this fall. That means that there are still potentially a large number of summits to come, and with good weather reported throughout the region, we could continue to see a few more squads top out over the next few days. But with early October now upon us, it looks like things should start to wrap up on Manaslu this week.

The summit success continued on Cho Oyu as well, where the Climbing the Seven Summits team, Kobler and Partners, and Alpenglow have all topped out. No word yet from the IMG squad however, so there appears to be a few teams that are still waiting to make their summit bids.

Over on Shishapangma teams have found success as well. Russian operator 7 Summits Club completed its push to the top on that 8027-meter (26,335 ft) mountain, as did Seven Summit Treks. Amongst the climbers with that group was Chinese alpinist Luo Jing, who came the latest member of the 14 8000-meter peaks club. She managed to nab all of those mountains in just seven years, which is an impressive feat to say the least. She also became the fifth woman to ink her name on that prestigious list as well.

Finally, on Dhaulagiri the weather hasn’t been quite as good as it is elsewhere, slowing progress on that mountain. Most of the teams have completed one or two acclimatization rotations, but right now it is unclear as to when a summit push might begin. Conditions are a bit unstable higher on the peak and the weather has not been quite so cooperative. Patience should win out eventually, but for now they sit and wait.

That’s all for today. More updates soon.

Kraig Becker