Himalaya Fall 2019: Nims Eyes Manaslu Summit, More Climbers Leave Everest Base Camp

Things are starting to happen fast in the Himalaya this fall. Yesterday we noted that Nims Purja has claimed his 12th 8000-meter peak by summiting Cho Oyu and as a result he has already moved on to his next challenge. Meanwhile, more climbers have elected to leave Everest Base Camp as the danger of an overhanging serac becomes more evident.

We’ll start with the update on Nirmal Pruja’s progress as he draws ever closer to his goal of climbing all 14 8000-meter peaks in a seven month period, something I would have thought was impossible just six months ago. Fresh off his Cho Oyu summit yesterday, Nims has already returned to Manaslu Base Camp, where he is resting and preparing for his next summit push. With rope fixing efforts now complete on Manaslu, Purja says that he and his team will now attempt to reach the top on Friday, September 27.

If successful, it will mark his 13th 8000-meter peak, leaving just Shishapangma yet to be climbed. As we’ve noted on several occasions however, at the moment that mountain is closed to climbers and Chinese officials don’t seem too interested in granting any permits to climb it this fall. Nims and his crew are holding out hope however that they’ll receive special permission to make an attempt on the peak nonetheless. Reportedly there are efforts to lobby officials in order to obtain a permit, but for now there is no indication that those efforts have been fruitful.

It doesn’t appear that Nims and company will be alone in their summit push. The rope fixing team cleared the way earlier today, with Nima Dorchi Sherpa, Ngima Thinduk Sherpa, Tenjing Chhombi Sherpa, and Namgyal Bhote struggling to reach the top through incredibly deep snow. They were accompanied by Pakistani climber Ali Sadpara who assisted in those efforts. Now, the more than 500 commercial climber in BC are preparing to follow, with massive summit waves expected to begin over the next day or two. The crowds won’t be nearly as bad as on Everest, but it should be plenty busy nonetheless.

The other big story that we reported on yesterday is that some climbers on Everest have elected to go home due to the dangers of a precariously balanced serac hanging over the route up the mountain. Joe Vernachio, the president of Mountain Hardwear, along with sponsored athlete Tim Emmett, flew back to Kathmandu yesterday, calling off their expedition with Madison Mountaineering just days after arriving in Base Camp.  Now, Alan Arnette is reporting that the Polish team that was in EBC to climber Lhotse this fall has also elected to call it quits and head home. That leaves just a handful of people still on the mountain, including a couple of clients with Madison Mountaineering, big mountain skier Andrzej Bargiel and his team, plus Kilian Jornet. What they’ll decide to do is anyone’s guess at this point.

The weather is stabilizing across the Himalaya as the seasonal monsoon looks like it is retreating. That should be good news on there peaks in the region, with summit pushes likely to begin soon on Cho Oyu and Dhaulagiri as well. Good luck to everyone as they set out up their mountain of choice this autumn. Climb safely!

Kraig Becker