Another Team Bound for Dhaulagiri’s Unclimbed NW Ridge

The 4,500m base-to-summit ascent is one of the biggest in the Himalaya

Some months ago, Cori Richards from the U.S. and Esteban “Topo” Mena from Ecuador announced plans to launch their second attempt on a new route up Everest’s NE face, after their first try in 2019. However, China will definitely not open the mountain’s  Tibetan side to foreign expeditions, scrapping that idea for this season.

Cory Richards and Esteban Mena on their attempt to open a new route on the North Side of Everest. Photo from Cory Richards


What would they do instead? Mena posted some enigmatic messages on social media, revealing he’s leaving for Nepal in a week but didn’t specify where.

In the end, Carla Perez broke the news, perhaps inadvertently. Perez, who summited K2 without O2 with Mena in 2019, admitted that she and Tommy Joyce will be joining Richards and Mena. “It’s a dream of many years, which intimidates me,” she said enigmatically. “It will be nothing easy.”

Although Perez didn’t state in her post where the foursome was going, she responded more candidly to that question from a reader. “Dhaulagiri NW Ridge,” she answered.

Carla Perez reveals her team’s plans on IG. Post found by @KrissAnnapurna


They won’t be alone. As we’ve previously reported, Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane are also attempting a first ascent of the NW Ridge of Dhaulagiri (8,167m). The three are currently acclimatizing in Nepal and should reach Base Camp in a couple of weeks. They tried that ridge once before, in 2019, and topped the wall leading to the ridge itself before strong winds beat them back. In 2020, they went again but this time they didn’t even manage to reach Base Camp before COVID shut down Nepal.

The rarely attempted Northwest Ridge is the only one still unclimbed on Dhaulagiri. Valery Babanov and Nikolay Totmyanin tried in 2008, also without success. The seven-kilometre ridge involves a vertical ascent of nearly 4,500m from base to the summit, one of the biggest in the Himalaya.