Dhaulagiri Climbers Also Summit-Bound

8000ers Dhaulagiri
Climber traversing a steep snowy ridge
Horia Colibasanu traverses an exposed section on the way to Camp 1, on Dhaulagiri's NW Ridge. Photo: Marius Gane

Good weather and a stable long-range forecast have sent most climbers in Dhaulagiri’s Base Camp up toward the summit, except who have been laid low by the COVID outbreak.

Luis Carcavilla, Carlos Soria’s partner, reports in a Spanish video dispatch that 25 climbers have been already evacuated with COVID symptoms of varying degrees. He insists that his team took all precautions, including wearing masks around camp and bringing plenty of testing kits.

“Unfortunately, the local staff and climbers had no previous tests, and the foreigners who joined us in Base Camp had taken their last PCR a month ago,” Carcavilla said.

“Right now, we are going to forget about the mountain and focus on taking care of our team: the three of us from Spain, the six Sherpa climbers with us, and the five BC staff members.”

A snowy Camp 1 at a huge flat saddle on Dhaulagiri

A snowy Camp 1 at a huge saddle on Dhaulagiri’s normal route. Photo: Luis M. Lopez

Pokhara celebrations to blame?

Members of Seven Summit Treks and Pioneer Adventure wore no masks at Annapurna. Nor did many in Pokhara during their several days of rest and celebration after summiting. It is not unlikely that some caught the disease during that hiatus.

On the other hand, the Annapurna climb acclimatized them, so they can head for the summit without needing partial trips up the mountain.

Among those on the move: Moeses Fiamoncini, who has teamed up with Andorra’s Stefi Troguet (follow her track here). Also, Dominic Trastoy, Waldemar Kowalewski, Dawa Yangzum, and Vidiriana Alvarez. Alvarez wrote that she intends to reach Camp 2 tomorrow and spend a second night there, “in case of any change of weather”.

The ropes may not yet be in place above Camp 2. In a previous post, Klara Kolouchova, climbing with Sophie Lavaud, said that there are many crevasses above Camp 2. It is unknown whether Lavaud and the other women in the team have joined the summit push as well.

Far in front of everyone else on the normal route are Carla Perez, Topo Mena, and Tommy Joyce. We won’t know whether they’ll fix any rope along the way. They may summit soon, and ExWeb will report on this and other news through the weekend.

A precarious tentsite on a sharp ridge

No place to sleepwalk. Camp 1 on Dhaulagiri’s Northwest Ridge. Photo: Peter Hamor

Meanwhile, isolated from COVID in their little bubble, Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane climbed back to Camp 1 today. They too are summit-bound, but they are tackling a previously unclimbed route. Previously, they reached Camp 3. Beyond that lies unknown terrain for them. But they expect that some of the hardest climbing may lie ahead, in the exposed sections they glimpsed from below.

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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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