Annapurna Roundup: 30 Summits, Two Frostbitten Climbers, Three Rescues

Thanks to a successful helicopter longline rescue this morning, Tim Bogdanov and Giampaolo Corona are safe and under medical care in a hospital in Kathmandu.

A helicopter longlines a stricken climber this morning on Annapurna. Photo: Kailash Helicopter Services

 

Bogdanov and Corona summited Annapurna without supplemental oxygen and without Sherpa support. According to The Himalayan Times, Corona lost contact with Base Camp for a second time yesterday, after a rescue helicopter spotted him earlier on Friday morning. Reportedly, Corona was going down by a “new” route, which probably means that he had just lost his way during the descent.

The helicopter spots one of the climbers in trouble. Still from a video shot by Chhang Dawa Sherpa

 

A few hours later, Chhang Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks posted on social media that a helicopter extracted both climbers by longline, Bogdanov first, then Corona.

Kailash Helicopter Services added today that the rescue took place at Camp IV, at 6,800m. Earlier reports stated that the two climbers were picked up considerably higher, at 7,400m-7,500m. Confusion has characterized the last two days.

 

Frostbitten but alive

The helicopter flew Bogdanov and Corona to the hospital in Kathmandu. They are frostbitten but stable. As we can see from the photos below, Corona frostbit his hands and his nose, while Bogdanov frostbit both hands.

Left, Captain Alastair Hopper of Kailash Helicopter Services. Right, Giampaolo Corona with frostbitten hands and nose. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa

 

From the hospital, a grateful Bogdanov thanked his outfitter and his rescuers.  “Because of you all, Annapurna has fewer casualties these years,” he wrote.

Tim Bogdanov with frostbitten hands, but safe. Photo: Tim Bogdanov

 

Approximately 30 people summited Annapurna, including four without O2. Besides Corona and Bogdanov, Hans Wenzl of Austria also used neither supplemental oxygen nor Sherpa support. We have no information about his condition yet, only that he summited. Grace Tseng of Taiwan also claims a no-O2 ascent.

According to Juan Pablo Sarjanovich of Argentina, who had left the mountain earlier after deciding not to try for the summit, all the climbers have now returned to Base Camp. That’s it for Annapurna for this season: The Sherpas will pack up Base Camp shortly.

Says Sarjanovich: “It is necessary to choose which battle you want to fight…Without Sherpa assistance and without O2, I am still not at the level of Annapurna.”

A whiteout on Annapurna. “One of the most terrible and scariest moments of my life,” recalled Allie Pepper. Photo: Allie Pepper

 

There are no details about the unnamed Indian climber who was rescued yesterday from Camp 3. The last information we have stated that he is in the hospital in Kathmandu, suffering from AMS and in critical condition when he arrived.

A total of three climbers needed rescue.

The hard upper section of Annapurna. Photo: Adriana Brownlee

Photos and details emerge of the summit push

Norwegian Kristin Harila, who is trying to climb all 14 8,000’ers in six months, thanked the three Sherpas who accompanied her to the summit, Dawa Sherpa, Lakpa T. Sherpa, and Lakpa Norbu.

Kristin Harila and Sherpas on the summit. Photo: Kristin Harila

 

Australian Allie Pepper said this afternoon on Instagram that she believes that she is the third Australian to summit Annapurna.  The summit push was hard and very long, she admits. It started at 6,800m.

Allie Pepper shows her position on the summit of Annapurna. Photo: Allie Pepper

 

Pepper did not use oxygen until 7,800m. At that point, she realized that she was going too slowly to summit, and the weather was worsening. She had either to turn back or use the emergency oxygen that Dawa Sherpa was carrying for her. She chose the oxygen.

“What would have taken me five hours [without oxygen] took two hours [with it]. It was like a superpower! I was suddenly warm, could climb without stopping, and could talk,” she recalls.

Allie Pepper used emergency oxygen after 7,800m. Photo: Allie Pepper

 

At 7,900m Pepper and her companions were caught in a snowstorm, with lightning and a whiteout. Pepper says that they sat for two hours, getting blasted by snow, and could not see a metre away. Pepper and her Sherpas eventually topped out on April 28, at 3:50 pm.

Somehow, Dawa Sherpa managed to find the way back to the fixed rope in the dark, through deep snow. They met a group that had gotten lost and showed them the way. Two in that group, Bogdanov and Corona, later became lost again. After the 22-hour-long summit day, she says that she now understands why Annapurna is such a dangerous mountain.

Allie Pepper tops out on Annapurna. Photo: Allie Pepper

 

A second whiteout

One member of 8K Expeditions recalls that they had summited at 4:31 pm. Then, during the descent, a squall hit, creating another whiteout. They could not find the way for six or seven long hours. Finally, they picked up the route.

Baibanou Bouchra of Morocco on the summit of Annapurna. Photo: Baibanou Bouchra

 

Some climbers decided to retreat just 150-200m below the summit. One of them, Arjun Vajpai of India, turned around with 150m to go because of frostbite on both feet.

Gelje Sherpa and Adriana Brownlee celebrate on the summit on Annapurna. Photo: Adriana Brownlee

@KrisAnnapurna reports about outdoor activities, current expeditions, and stories related to the history of mountaineering in the Karakoram, Himalaya, Tien Shan, and other ranges.


Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kamal Osman
Kamal Osman
24 days ago

Weldone to all summiteers and Sherpas …

Anna
Anna
24 days ago

Does anyone know if Adriana Brownlee use o2? She is always without mask on pictures.

Steve
Steve
23 days ago
Reply to  Anna

She uses o2. No mention of not using it on her IG posts. It is also common for climbers to remove their oxygen masks completely for summit celebration photos.

Last edited 23 days ago by Steve
Bukreev
Bukreev
23 days ago
Reply to  Anna

She is not a true mountaineer, Can’t summit without O2, fixed ropes and sherpas.

Alexander Pancoe
Alexander Pancoe
23 days ago
Reply to  Bukreev

Hmmm…you know respectfully, it definitely turns me off when people are critical of others but hide behind an anonymous name. If you want to criticize Adriana on a personal level, I think it’s only fair to not hide in anonymity. Regarding Adriana and her accomplishments. Disclaimer – we have had a few conversations online but haven’t met in person so I’m not someone who has a personal attachment to this. I will say what she is doing is incredibly tough mentally, physically, and most people her age are accomplished at Keg stands, not climbing 8000M peaks. Even with oxygen, individuals… Read more »

Maysnow
Maysnow
22 days ago

Es gibt auch Leute, also No-Name- die klettern was anderes als 8000er obwohl sie es könnten von dem Körper her und mit einem entsprechendem Sponsor… aber sie haben sich ganz bewusst nicht für die 8000 er entschieden und verfolgen genau deswegen die Veranstaltung, weil sie an bestimmten Werten des Bergsteigens interessiert sind.

RickB
RickB
22 days ago
Reply to  Bukreev

Don’t hide behind the name of one of the greatest mountaineers ever and criticize. You’ve never been on a mountain over 3000m. Right? On a chair lift…LOL. She has my respect.

Debabrata Mukherjee
22 days ago

What’s about Skaljang of India? It is claimed that he summittes without Oxygen. Is it true?

Jack
Jack
20 days ago

Yeah! Skalzang Rigzin from Ladakh, India summited Annapurna, and descended safely with no O2.