Himalaya Spring 2019: Sherpa Climber Perishes on Cho Oyu, Summits on Pumori

While most of the teams are now resting in Base Camp on Everest, a few are still heading up to Camp 2 to acclimatize or shuttle gear up the hill. The second round of rotations is set to begin soon while the climbers wait for the ropes to be installed to the summit. But there is news from elsewhere across the Himalaya today as we receive word of summits on Pumori and a tragic death on Cho Oyu.

The Himalayan TimesΒ is reporting that Phujung Bhote Sherpa was working on Cho Oyu on Monday when he slipped and fell into a crevasse. He was reportedly part of the team that was fixing ropes between Camp 1 and 2 on that mountain in support of a commercial expedition in BC. Efforts are currently underway to retrieve the body and transport it home to his family in the Makalu Sankhuwasabha region of Nepal. As usual, our condolences go out to that family and the friends of the fallen climber.

THT has better news to share from Pumori, where four Sherpas have reached the summit on that 7161-meter (23,494 ft.) peak. The mountain is often used as a safe place to acclimatize and warm up for Everest with teams summiting there before heading over to EBC. The four climbers, who consisted of Dawa Steven Sherpa, Phurba Namgyal Sherpa, Nima Tenjing Sherpa and Naga Dorjee Sherpa, installed the lines to the summit today with a commercial team expected to follow them to the top tomorrow. The commercial squad is led by Himalayan Experience, with most members attempting Everest in the days ahead.

Currently there isn’ t much else to report across the region. Most of the teams are just going about their work and focusing on preparing their bodies for the eventual summit push. Traditionally we would expect that to come starting next week, although things seem to be running ever so slightly behind schedule this season, so we may still be as much as two weeks away from the start of summit season. To make matters worse, a cyclone is developing in the Bay of Bengal which could impact the weather. Right now, that storm isn’t expected to make landfall in a meaningful way, but it could send high winds and rain or snow to the Himalaya, which could disrupt the schedule a bit as well. You can rest assured the team leaders are all keeping an eye on these variables however and will have their teams ready to go when the window opens. Until then, it is just business as usual for everyone involved.

More updates soon.

Kraig Becker