Nepal: Teams in Base Camp, Begin Rotations

Nepali women for Dhaulagiri: Malla Sherpa, Pasang Lamu, Purnima Shrestha.

Climbers reached their base camps during the last of Nepal’s monsoon rains. As soon as the sun came out, they started their first rotations on the 8,000’ers.

This autumn features crowds on Manaslu, familiar faces on Dhaulagiri, and a lonely expedition on Kangchenjunga. Finally, a mystery team is heading for Jannu, one of the most difficult 7,000’ers on Earth.

First days at Manaslu and Dhaulagiri

Increasingly, Manaslu has become a smaller-scale, autumn version of Everest: The big numbers, the posts on social media, featuring (sorry to be blunt) dull reports with overly enthusiastic news.

Once climbers near the summit, interest may increase, as leaders decide whether to attempt the final, sharp arete to the highest point. Here, crowds are not an option.

So far, many teams have been to Camp 1 — a pretty straightforward section on a glacier — and back. Anna Tybor of Poland skied it both ways.

Shehroze Kashif, left, will attempt Manaslu after a busy year of summiting Everest and K2. Right, Chhang Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks.

On Dhaulagiri, as expected, many of those who attempted the peak last spring have returned to Base Camp. These include a group of Nepali women (Maya Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum, Pasang Lamu, and Purnima Shrestha). They are aiming to be the first women from their country to summit the so-called “white mountain”.

The perennially hopeful Carlos Soria, 82, with 11 unsuccessful attempts on Dhaulagiri, reports that the first snowfall did indeed clothe even Base Camp in white after some rainy days.

After last spring, in which COVID rampaged through Base Camp, the Seven Summit Treks’ team will operate under the direction of one of the company’s owners, Tashi Lakpa Sherpa.

Szilard Suhajda and David Klein, with Dhaulagiri in the background. Photo: S. Suhajda

Independent climbers Szilard Suhajda and David Klein of Hungary are ready to start their rotations while setting their own camps. Americans Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo, who are going no-O2, are still on the approach trek. They intend to ski down the entire route.

Mysteries in the Kangchenjunga region

There is no easy section on Kangchenjunga. Photo of the route to Camp 1: Topo Mena

However, there are two questions currently bugging us members of the climbing media (yes, we talk to each other sometimes): One, the identity of the mysterious single client climbing with Alpenglow Expeditions and guided by Topo Mena and Carla Perez.

Unless some other team arrives unexpectedly later in the season, as Gelje Sherpa hinted in an interview with ExplorersWeb last week, the team will have the mountain to themselves.

Jannu

The second source of intrigue involves an unnamed five-man team that has applied for a permit to climb 7,710m Kumbhakarna, better known as Jannu, or the Sleeping Lion. Jannu is actually close to Kangchenjunga’s southern Base Camp. Its breathtaking north face may be its most distinctive feature, but the peak challenges seriously from all angles.

The endless north face of Jannu. Photo: Carsten Nebel/Wikipedia

So who are these Jannu climbers? The first candidates who come to mind are Sergey Nilov and Dimitry Golovchenko of Russia, who attempted an epic climb on the peak in 2019. They followed a new route up the SE Face that included 18 days on the wall and a nerve-wracking retreat from just 200m below the summit.

A few weeks ago Nilov and Golovchenko, together with regular climbing partner Dimitry Grigoriev, climbed a new route up the south face of Kyrgyzstan’s 6,873m Topographers Peak. The mountain is the third-highest in the Tien Shan and perfect prep for something like Jannu. More info on their Kyrgyzstan climb here.

List of permits by Nepal’s Department of Tourism, including a team to Jannu

Another possible Jannu candidate is American climber Sam Hennessey, who won a Cutting Edge Grant from the American Alpine Club for a project on Jannu East. However, Jannu East is considered a separate peak. Hennessey would have to cop a specific permit for Jannu itself. (Thanks to KrisAnnapurna for the clue!)

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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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Delwyne
Delwyne
1 month ago

Good stuff Angela. Love your bluntness!

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Apy
Apy
1 month ago

Hello Angela, great post as usual. As to the identity of the Alpenglow client there are a few clues (which you probably know, but by posting them, maybe a reader can help): a) he’s a male (his picture appears on Alpenglow/Topo/Clara social media) b) he’s a rock star, according to Adrian c) his IG address is #blackjanwerner but his profile is… empty !!!

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Victor
Victor
1 month ago

There is a photographer named Jan Werner who has travelled _with_ rock stars and shoots in black and white (hence #blackjanwerner?): https://www.yellowkorner.com/nl/w/jan-werner/

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Last edited 1 month ago by Victor
Claire
Claire
1 month ago
Reply to  Apy

Could it be Jared Leto? He does a lot of climbing…

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Apy
Apy
1 month ago
Reply to  Claire

Maybe….

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Apy
Apy
1 month ago
Reply to  Apy

There are photographs of the whole Alpenglow team on the latest Carla IG. Recognize anybody ????

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Apy
Apy
1 month ago
Reply to  Apy

My money is on Paul Holda. He is one of the 4 (!) followers of the #blackjanwerner IG account. Also he follows on his own IG account numerous mountaineering-related accounts and hashtags including the whole Alpenglow crowd… 😀😁😃

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Apy
Apy
1 month ago

Angela, ICYMI, Montagnes Mag reports tht Frenchmen Symon Welfringer (just back from Greenland), Aurélien Vaissière and Damien Tomasi will tackle alpine-style Chamlang North Face (7.321m)

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