Dhaulagiri: NW Ridge Resumes, 82-Year-Old Tries Again

8000ers Dhaulagiri
Camp 1 (note tiny yellow tent) atop the NW spur of Dhaulagiri. Photo: Tommy Joyce

“It’s been snowing non-stop for three days, with a very strong wind,” Carlos Soria told ExplorersWeb from Dhaulagiri Base Camp. “Today was finally sunny, but the mountain is now very dangerous, so we will have to wait for a couple of days before heading up.”

Trekking through fresh snow near Dhaulagiri Base Camp.

He added, “Our Sherpas had fixed the route until a little above Camp 2, but now the ropes are buried in one metre of snow. The storm stranded a Japanese lady and her Sherpa in Camp 2, and they had to be rescued earlier today.”

The 82-year-old Soria aims to be the oldest person to complete the 14 8,000’ers. This is his 11th attempt at Dhaulagiri.

Now that the weather has improved, many of the climbers who summited Annapurna last week will fly to Base Camp from Pohkara tomorrow.

A small avalanche on Dhaulagiri two days ago. Photo: Luis M. López

To Camp 2 on the Northwest Ridge

Meanwhile, on the “wild side” of the mountain, Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane are ready to head back up the Northwest Ridge.

“Tomorrow we continue to prepare the route to Camp 2,” Horia wrote. “We are all well, which is important since we’ve heard that there are several COVID cases in Everest Base Camp.”

In previous updates, Colibasanu and Hamor explained that their progress up the 600m spur which leads to the Northwest Ridge was extremely slow. The route was hard and conditions on the mountain had changed from their previous attempt in 2019.

Photographer Tommy Joyce’s gasp-inducing drone photo of their Camp 1 (lead picture) atop the spur shows that they aren’t exaggerating. It also shows that high-level alpinism remains alive in the Himalaya: No one has climbed their route before.

Next week, the Ecuadorians will try to summit

Tommy Joyce is actually with Ecuadorians Topo Mena and Carla Pérez. They originally planned to try that same Northwest Ridge but switched to the normal route after teammate Cory Richards suddenly quit the expedition, leaving them short-staffed.

Joyce, Perez, and Mena have, however, kept their Base Camp at the foot of the NW spur, to enjoy the solitude and to watch the progress of the Slovak-Romanian team from close quarters.

The Ecuadorian couple won’t wait for the crowds to form on Dhaulagiri’s summit push. Previously acclimatized, and with a previous trip to set Camp 2 with the route still unfixed, they are ready to push for the summit as early as next week, according to Mena.

Carla Pérez at Camp 1 on Dhaulagiri some days ago. Next stop, the summit. Photo: Topo Mena

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Kelly
Kelly
3 months ago

Is he trying to be the oldest to complete the seven summits or the 14 8000ers? Dhaulagiri is a strange choice if he is going for the 7 summits? 😉

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Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Kelly

Of course, you’re right. Corrected.

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