Himalaya Spring 2019: Peruvian Climber Perishes on Makalu, Solo Summit on Ama Dablam

With high winds still buffeting the Himalaya I fully expected today to be a day where there wouldn’t be much news to report. Sadly, that isn’t the case and while there is some good information to share, there is also more tragic news to report as well.

Yesterday, Peru’s most prolific and famous climber Richard Hidalgo was found dead in his tent in Camp 2 at 6600 meters (21,635 ft) on Makalu. The climber had been helping the rope fixing teams on Tuesday and appeared to be in good health and spirits. In fact, he was getting ready to make a summit push on the mountain over the next few days without the use of supplemental oxygen. Hidalgo was discovered by Sherpas working with Seven Summit Treks as they were preparing to head higher. He was 52 years old.

Hidalgo’s goal was to climb all of the 8000-meter peaks without the use of bottled Os. He had already knocked off Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna, Shishapangma, Gasherbrum II, and Broad Peak. He had also attempted Everest on five separate occasions, but hadn’t quite added that to his list yet. His ambitious plans included getting the other eight mountains before 2021 when Peru celebrates the 200th anniversary of its independence.

As is always the case with these kinds of stories, our thoughts are with his friends and family in these trying times.

Fortunately, there is some good news to celebrate as well. Explorers Web is reporting that Polish climber Olga Dobranowski completed a solo summit of Ama Dablam, a 6812-meter (22,349 ft) peak in the Khumbu Valley. She topped out completely alone back on May 4, just ahead of Cyclone Fani making landfall. Fortunately, she was able to get up and down safely before the strong winds arrived and was even back in Namche Bazaar two days later. Anyone who has trekked in the Khumbu instantly recognizes Ama Dablam. It is one of the most strikingly beautiful mountains in the entire region and is prominently displayed on The Adventure Blog’s banner.

On Everest and the other major peaks across the Himalaya the teams are on the move but are keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. The high winds are expected to continue for the next few days, which is allowing climbers to acclimate at Camp 2 and even Camp 3, but not much higher. Rope fixing efforts on the Big Hill have stalled out for now, so everyone is doing what they can to prepare while they wait for conditions to improve. Once the lines are in place and the weather window opens, watch for the floodgates to open as well.

Next week should be an interesting one if things go according to plan.

2 thoughts on “Himalaya Spring 2019: Peruvian Climber Perishes on Makalu, Solo Summit on Ama Dablam”

    • Thanks for the clarification Alan. I saw later that she didn’t make a “solo” summit, but hadn’t had the chance to track down the details and correct. Much appreciated as always.

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