First Dhaulagiri Summits; More on Manaslu

8000ers Dhaulagiri
Sherpas found deep snow earlier today from Camp 3 to the summit of Dhaulagiri. Photo: Lakpa Dendi

The rope-fixing team on Dhaulagiri has finally reported summit news. The plan was to summit yesterday, but excess snow turned the march from Camp 3 into a major struggle. The seven-person Sherpa team fought for every step in deep snow.

Earlier today, sherpas found deep snow from Camp 3 to Dhaulagiri’s summit. Photo: Lakpa Dendi

The rope fixers comprised five Sherpas from Seven Summit Treks, including Sirbaz Khan of Pakistan, one from Pioneer Adventure, and one from 8K Expeditions. All seemingly summited today. Many of the clients who had reached Camp 3 yesterday followed them.

Including Sherpas and clients, Seven Summit Treks reports a total of 20 summits from their team. 8K Expedition put two people on top, and Pioneer Adventure had seven.

More women than men

For the first time among clients, women might outnumber men. Among the summiters are Purnima Shrestha and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita. They are the first Nepali women to climb Dhaulagiri. The pair were among the nearly 70 people who summited Annapurna in the record-breaking spring summit push.

Viridiana Alvarez of México, Sophie Lavaud of Switzerland, Naoko Watanabe of Japan, and Flower Wayta of Peru also topped out. Another summiter, Ms. Baljeet, is reported to be the first Indian woman on Dhaulagiri. Her climbing partner, Ms. Piyali, has apparently summited without O2.

Sanu Sherpa headed the rope fixers. Sanu Sherpa is attempting to finish a “double” 14×8,000’er quest, climbing each 8,000m peak twice. Dhaulagiri marked the eleventh peak of his second go-round.

Worth noting: Hungarian Csaba Varga summited with no Sherpa support and no supplementary O2.

But the deep snow proved too much for 82-year-old Carlos Soria and his prosthetic knee. “It is difficult for me to move up in such conditions, and the upper part of the mountain is overloaded with fresh snow,” he said. “I have decided to return to Base Camp and to abandon my attempt to climb Dhaulagiri this season,” Soria explained in a video (Spanish only).

Carlos Soria and a Sherpa retreat from Dhaulagiri. Photo: Luis M. Lopez

No news yet from Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo, who planned to ski from the summit. They wanted to focus on the climb and have not updated their social media since mid-September.

Considering the debate about Manaslu’s true summit, we should point out that Dhaulagiri’s summit is equally tricky. It requires a long walk up the summit ridge to the highest point, as Ralf Dujmovits explained in our Dhaulagiri Climber’s Guide.

Dhaulagiri summit ridge. Photo: Boyan Petrov

More true summits on Manaslu

On Manaslu, more summits have been reported. These include two teams from Furtenbach Adventure. One summited yesterday, while their “flash” team summited today. Both Furtenbach teams continued to the actual summit and were able to enjoy perfect weather on top. Remarkably, they are the only ones that followed in Mingma G’s footsteps past the fixed ropes and the foresummit.

Polish climber Anna Tybor finally returned to Base Camp after her no-O2 climb and ski descent. However, the descent was not complete, since they stopped for a night at Camp 4. Tybor reportedly suffered stomach problems on her way up, and the weather was poor. This resulted in a late summit on Wednesday afternoon. They strapped on their skis but were only able to reach Camp 4 by nightfall. At dawn, they continued the rest of the way down.

Finally, while the traverse to the real summit of Manaslu, pioneered by Mingma G, was steep, the slight tilt in the drone’s position made it look even steeper. The slope seems to have been no more than about 55˚, below.

Photos: Jackson Groves

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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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OldHikerDude
OldHikerDude
23 days ago

I feel so bad for Carlos Soria. The poor guy just can’t get a break on Dhaula. He’s so humble about it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a smile. He’s already announced that he will return in the Spring for another attempt. He will be 83. You just have to admire this man. Good luck, and safe return to all of the summiters!

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Daniel
Daniel
23 days ago

Is Carlos Soria a sponsored climber?

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WyoEd
23 days ago

I was really hoping Carlos Soria would make it. He is such an inspiration. Maybe next year, Carlos.

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FRANCIS
FRANCIS
22 days ago

si hay que recurrir a la lastima para justificar algo mal asunto. esto por Carlos Soria

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Last edited 22 days ago by FRANCIS
reader
reader
20 days ago

Angela, a huge fan of your reporting, especially the recent ones surrounding the recent Manaslu summit bids were exhaustive. With that said, I’m surprised by your notes on the Indian women climbers in this article. You did not report their full names. It is Baljeet Kaur and Piyali Basak (it took me, a novice, a 2 minute Google search). Second, you report that Piyali “apparently summited without O2”. You were pretty sure about the women from Switzerland, Japan, Peru topping out and yet use the word “apparently” vis-a-vis the Indian climber. I can’t help but think this smacks of bias… Read more »

reader
reader
18 days ago

Angela – thanks for your detailed note. My sincere apologies for offending your sensibilities. I do understand your argument about wanting to “break the news” about a reasonably rare achievement even if all the facts were not confirmed. I understand that is part of the journalistic code and I trust that you were likely following up on these facts even after publishing the article. If I may, just to clarify a bit further, Piyali and Baljeet are first names, not surnames. With that said, let’s lay this to rest, much thanks for your continued reporting for armchair mountaineers like me.… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by reader
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