Dhaulagiri Update #2: COVID Sweeps BC, Awaiting News from Topo and Carla

8000ers Dhaulagiri
Climbers at a higher camp (possibly Camp 1) on Dhaulagiri. Photo: Purnima Shrestha

As COVID numbers in Dhaulagiri Base Camp rise sharply, climbers view the outbreak differently. Purnima Shrestha, currently in Camp 2, considers the situation down in Base Camp “nothing serious”.

“We all had RDT tests and are feeling good so far,” she wrote.

Antonios Sykaris, also in C2, speaks of many evacuations from COVID. Others, he said, “became frustrated or feared to get sick as well and gave it up.” He estimates that 25 climbers, including Sherpas and foreigners, have joined the summit push.

Meanwhile, 82-year-old Carlos Soria has set aside climbing for the time being to focus on helping with the emergency. “The situation in Base Camp is crazy!” Soria told ExplorersWeb by phone today. “Right now, we have 19 new sick people.”

Today, 90 more testing kits arrived at Base Camp. They have already used 30 and found 12 new positives.

The helicopters that brought the kits have evacuated five sick climbers, likely including Sophie Lavaud, Ang Kami and Dawa Sangay.

Carlos Soria at Dhaulagiri Base Camp today. Photo: Luis M. López

No word yet from Mena and Pérez

Soria also shared some concern for Topo Mena and Carla Pérez. The Ecuadorians reached Camp 3 yesterday, climbing alpine style, with no ropes and in one go from Base Camp. They have not checked in with Base Camp since yesterday. According to their plan, they should have reached the summit or turned around today. “Tommy Joyce stopped in Camp 2, and I guess he is still there,” Soria said.

If the pair are descending, they will eventually meet a large number of climbers (mainly from Seven Summit Treks and Pioneer Expeditions) along the normal route. These groups have reached Camp 2. Tomorrow they will spend a second night there, while Sherpas open the route to Camp 3. They will try to reach the summit on May 11.

In addition to Shrestha and Sykaris, others in Camp 2 include Moeses Fiamoncinni, Stefi Troguet, Dominic Trastoy, Waldemar Kowalewski, Vibeke Andrea Sefland, and Viridiana Alvarez. Jonatan García, originally teaming up with Troguet, is in Base Camp.

News is also expected soon from the Slovak-Romanian team on the NW Ridge. Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane left yesterday for Camp 1 and hoped to move up to Camps 2 and 3. They will then check the exposed sections on the summit ridge. If the route is possible, they will go for the summit.

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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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Stephan Miller
Stephan Miller
4 months ago

This is a terrible situation for the climbers. So much cost, effort and preparation kaibashed by an invisible foe. The high altitude environment weakens the system already making the spread so much easier. Then, worst than that, they have to deal with locked down country and chaotic situation in KTM. To top is off, their ambitions to reach the summit will be viewed as selfish and inconsiderate given the situation, so they will not be able to share their joy with anyone back home in the same way as they would have had normally. Frustrating, stressful and very unenjoyable. A… Read more »

Vlad
Vlad
4 months ago

Horia has just checked in, they are at 6800m and expect to reach the ridge tomorrow .

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barbara
barbara
4 months ago

30% positive rate by one testing … very bad and disturbing news.

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Ronald
Ronald
4 months ago

More and more i get the feeling climbing dhaulagiri is just not meant to be for Carlos. On his 12th attempt now a base camp fillled with covid. Really sorry for him but really decent to help around and not be thinking of climbing the mountain. Good luck to all

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