Update on the Everest-Lhotse Teams

Mountain
Sherpa Tenji playing on some steep ice on the Khumbu Glacier. Photo: Jon Griffith.

This season, two teams on Everest are aiming to complete the much-coveted traverse of Everest and Lhotse. Horia Colibasanu and Peter Hamor are going via the West Ridge, while Jon Griffith and Sherpa Tenji have chosen the South Col route.

Both teams have been on the mountain almost a month. Here is the latest news on their progress:

Colibasanu and Hamor

ExWeb last brought word from the Romanian and Slovakian pair on April 28. At this time, they were on the move to Camp 2 at 6,400 metres. The duo did reach the camp, although soft snow and heavy packs, filled with multiple ropes and ice screws for the summit push, made the ascent hard going.

After a rest day at Camp 2, Colibasanu and Hamor pushed upwards through a couloir toward the West Ridge. They found dangerous wind slab conditions and exposed ice up to a high point of 6,850 metres above a rock promontory. They decided to descend but identified an alternative couloir for their next line of attack. Descending the original couloir carried some risk for Colibasanu:

On ascent, with my Jumar on the fixed rope, I perspire with effort, while on “free” descent I perspire with dread, the slab humming underneath me and my crampons barely clinging to the ice in the steps I carefully carved while going up. The descent takes as much time as the ascent, but in this time Peter is progressing efficiently and feels his way through the crevasses to the entrance of the new route.

Despite a further rest day at Camp 2, the pair felt so tired that they decided to descend to Base Camp to recover their strength. Colibasanu commented on social media:

I wonder whether we can work one more day at high altitude without exhausting ourselves. We quickly give up hope. Peter returns “very tired” from the toilet 20 m away, while I … consider borrowing oxygen from the next Sherpa I see. I need a break between putting on the first shoe and the next. Thank goodness we’re not quadrupeds, or else I would have given up by now. We agree that after coffee we’ll descend to get some rest.

Horia Colibasanu at Camp 2. Photo: Colibasanu/Hamor

Griffith and Tenji

On April 30, we reported that Griffith and Tenji had spent four days at their own Camp 2, in the Western Cwm, and that the pair were acclimatizing well. Tenji was completing laps of the Lhotse face.

Since then, they have descended to Base Camp due to high winds on the upper mountain, and have been testing filming equipment and keeping active in the icefall.

Full moon rises over Everest Base Camp and the Khumbu Glacier. Photo: Jon Griffith.

Speaking to ExWeb this afternoon, Griffith stated that they are waiting for good weather to allow a night on the South Col before the summit attempt:

We had a freak electrical storm last night that wrecked a lot of Camp 2, with very strong winds. Looks like we’ll try and head up to the South Col around [May] 14.

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About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer with a PhD in Exercise Science. He lives in the UK and has also written for Rock and Ice, Outside, UK Climbing etc. He recently led a 634km foot crossing of a frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. See more at www.ashrouten.com.

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