Are Some Kangchenjunga Climbers Starting From Camp 2?

Update: Mingma G has managed to clarify this situation for ExplorersWeb. The only confirmed helicopter flight that took place was a rescue during the first summit push. See Mingma G’s report here.


The main goal of Asma Al Thani is Everest, but in the last few days, the Qatari princess has flown back and forth between mountains twice to climb Kangchenjunga as well. After a failed first attempt, she summited Kangchenjunga two days ago with Nirmal Purja, Lakpa Dendi, Tenji Sherpa, and Mingma Tenzi Sherpa.

In a brief report, Al Thani recalled a long summit night from Camp 4, followed by a full day, then another night before it ended. The whole climb, she remarked, took only two days. She wrote that the team started their push “from Camp 2”. That detail is odd.

On the first summit push last week, led by Mingma G, sources in Kangchenjunga BC reported that after the failed attempt, the Elite Exped team flew by helicopter straight from C2 back to Everest.

It was unclear if they had also been airlifted to Camp 2, as Al Thani’s post implies, and if so, whether they followed the same strategy this time. This is a detail that needs to be cleared up, since an ascent of an 8,000’er must start from Base Camp or Advanced Base Camp, if that is where the teams mostly stay.

Aerial shortcuts to and from the summit have become a source of controversy on Everest in recent years. Some teams have been suspected of catching a ride to the top of the Khumbu Icefall. Helicopter flights are only allowed for rescues, or recently, to carry gear for the rope-fixing teams.

Now rumors point to a similar shortcut occurring on Kangchenjunga, not because of any emergency but to save time for clients attempting multiple peaks.

Update: In a later report posted several hours after Al Thani’s, Nirmal Purja claims they started from BC. Explorersweb is asking several sources at Kangchenjunga BC and elsewhere in Nepal for clarification.

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.