A Close Call on Dhaulagiri, Everest Wait Continues

Closed for the season?  The best may be yet to come in the Himalaya, before winter sets in. Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and — yes! — even Everest still thrum with climbers waiting for a late summit chance.

The first wave of Dhaulagiri summiters should reach Base Camp soon; Ali Sadpara is already there. However, Csaba Varga of Hungary set off today from Camp 3 in the opposite direction, on a solitary push after Sean James of UK turned back. Eighty-year-old Carlos Soria continues to wait patiently in Base Camp for improved conditions that may finally allow him to summit his 10-time nemesis.

Csaba Varga on Dhaulagiri. Photo: Kalifa


As for Sergi Mingote, he too is now in BC and celebrating his seventh 8,000’er in 444 days. But the story could have had a grimmer ending. “While descending, alone and at sunset, I made a wrong move and had a serious scare — one of those that really teach you a lesson,” he said enigmatically, with no details. Mingote also endured a freezing night in his tiny tent at Camp 3.

Mingote is elated to have summited Dhaulagiri in difficult conditions, after several seasons without post-monsoon success. “Only Juan Pablo Mohr and myself managed to reach the top without supplementary O2,” he said. “Unfortunately, Moeses [Fiamoncini] had to turn around just short of the summit, because of frostbitten hands.”

He added that Juan Pablo Mohr reached Camp 3 during the night after getting lost for a while on the way down. Seven Summit Treks initially listed Fiamoncini as a summiter, along with Josette Valloton from Switzerland and Chhangba Sherpa. Clarification should come once everyone returns to Base Camp.

Meanwhile, Everest is silent but not abandoned. In Base Camp, Garrett Madison intently watches the menacing serac overhanging the Khumbu Icefall.  “If it were to come down, it would likely obliterate a wide area in the Icefall, including much of the climbing route,” Madison told ExplorersWeb. “We don’t feel it’s safe to send climbers or Sherpas through until the serac comes down.”

And if it falls, what then? After Mountain Hardware aborted their attempt, Madison stayed in Base Camp with two other clients. As of yesterday, one of them had returned home and the other was trekking and climbing in the Khumbu area. “If [the serac] fell and we still had time, I would call back my clients and we would go for it,” Madison said.

Plan B is to ignore the serac and hurry through as fast as possible. This seems to be what Kilian Jornet has done, since Madison reported that he was at Camp 1 on the Western Cwm earlier this week. Details will have to wait until Jornet returns. This time, the Spaniard has a cameraman on his team, who might document the climb, or part of it.

Garrett Madison (left) at Gorap Shep last week, posing with the group accompanying Kilian Jornet (fifth from the left), which includes at least one cameraman (far right).


At Manaslu, a Russian team is in Samagaon, the last village before Base Camp. They have acclimatized and are willing to climb after everyone else has gone, RussianClimb reports.

While it seems that China will give Nirmal Purja a permit for Shishapangma, there’s been no official confirmation, either from Chinese authorities or from Purja himself. Today, he simply posted a photo from this past summer and a laconic note about “working and climbing under pressure — and loving it.”

Related story:

Dhaulagiri: Mingote Back in Camp 3