Annapurna: More Summits, Two Women Without O2

A small number of climbers summited Annapurna yesterday, including two women without supplementary oxygen — Allie Pepper of Australia and Flor Cuenca of Peru.

Mikel (Mingtemba) Sherpa and Ngima Wangdak Sherpa assisted Pepper, while Cuenca summited her 10th 8,000’er on her own.

Pepper’s descent raised concerns when after the 16-hour climb from Camp 4 at 7,000m to the summit, her group stopped at Camp 4 for the night on the way down. This was a long time at high altitude for someone without bottled oxygen. It also meant a late descent through the avalanche-prone area from Camp 3 to Camp 2.

Yet Pepper’s tracker showed her going down throughout the day. She reached Base Camp at around 6 pm Nepal time today.

Flor’s 10th no-O2

Flor Cuenca, flying under the radar as she often does, summited yesterday too, according to outfitter Seven Summit Treks. When ExplorersWeb spoke to her before the climbing season, she was still looking for funds to afford a return to Nepal.

She has not yet shared details about this latest climb, but on her previous nine 8,000m peaks, she followed the same spartan style: no oxygen or sherpa support, and she carries her tent and supplies up and down the mountain. She uses the outfitters’ logistics only until Base Camp.

Climbers in a rush

Domi Trastoy of Andorra also summited with supplementary oxygen from 7,400m. Back in Base Camp, he wrote that Annapurna was the toughest mountain he had ever climbed and Everest was “a walk in the park” by comparison.

David Nosas of Spain turned around at 7,500m. Nelly Attar, climbing with Madison Mountaineering, also turned around without reaching the summit. They are all back in Base Camp.

Trastoy and Nosas mentioned they had launched a summit push knowing their acclimatization was insufficient (they had been on the mountain for nine days) but had no choice other than to try or go home.

As the Alpymon blog noted: “In these hurried times, climbers must go for the summit at the first opportunity because [the outfitters] quickly dismantle the camps to go to another mountain.”

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.