Himalaya Fall 2018: Another Climber Perishes on Ama Dablam

Mt Ama Dablam Base Camp

It has been a difficult and challenging end to the 2018 autumn climbing season in Nepal, where another climber has perished on Ama Dablam. A few weeks back we shared the news of the passing of Australian mountaineer Michael Geoffrey Davis who was killed when a falling rock stuck the rope he was descending on, and now comes word that 47-year old American Steven Biem succumbed to altitude sickness on November 28.

According to reports, Biem was descending the mountain the day after he and his teammates reached the summit of the 6812-meter (22,349-foot) mountain. The group reached Camp 2 and spent the night there, but in the morning the American was found dead. It is believed that he was suffering from high-altitude pulmonary edema, which led to his death.

Shortly after discovering Biem’s body an operation was conducted to retrieve it from the mountain. He was flown back to Kathmandu and presumably has now been transported home for burial. Our condolences go out to friends and family in this time of sadness.

This is a tragic note to end the fall climbing season on. Now that December is here, pretty much all of the climbing expeditions to the Himalaya are wrapped up until next spring. It has been a long and busy season in Nepal, with autumn mountaineering expeditions stretching out over the past three months. As usual, the winter looks like it will be a quiet time in the Himalaya, but come spring things should get very busy once again. At the moment, there are no winter attempts on 8000-meter peaks in Nepal, with most of the attention going to K2 once again.

We’ll be ramping up our coverage of the winter K2 expeditions in late-December or early-January as the teams begin arriving in Pakistan. It should be another fascinating season to watch unfold.

Kraig Becker