Cho Oyu Avalanche Delays Rope Fixing

Two Sherpa teams are working hard on Cho Oyu’s South Face, fixing ropes and setting camps. This strategy, typical of big commercial expeditions, is a little different this time. The groups are working on two different routes that neither of them has climbed before.

Avalanche sweeps Pioneer’s route

Pioneer Adventure’s rope fixers were progressing quickly until an avalanche swept away their fixed ropes between Camp 1 and Camp 2 yesterday. No one was hurt in the event, which took place overnight. But it forced the rope-fixing team, led by Lakpa G, to retreat and repair the section. Before the avalanche, they had hoped to reach Camp 4 today and the summit on Saturday.

Two sherpa climbers dressed in down suits take a rest, heavy backpacks full of ropes on the snow at their feet.

Pioneer rope fixers at work. Photo: Pioneer Adventure


Their international clients are already on their first rotation. Yesterday, climbers spent the night in Camp 1. Today, they were to return to Base Camp.

One more client is expected to join them: Grace Tseng of Taiwan. She should already be acclimatized after her time on Manaslu.

Stranded for several days in Samagaon because of rain and fog, Tseng intends to go straight to Cho Oyu, without any downtime in Kathmandu. Tseng will climb as part of Pioneer Adventure’s team. Her regular guide, Nima Gyalzen, will also accompany her.

Tseng and Gyalzen’s main problem now is how to get their equipment from Manaslu Base Camp, where it lies buried somewhere under a metre of snow.

The Pioneer group also includes Piyali Basak and Ishani Singh Jamwal of India, Csaba Varga of Hungary, Qaisra Yasmin Saeed-Kadtare of the U.S., and Hu Tao of China. Khai Van Nguyen (U.S.) and Pankaj Kumar (India) are also on the expedition permit but not yet confirmed, Pioneer Adventure’s staff told ExplorersWeb.

Rain keeps falling in the Khumbu Valley

Meanwhile, Gelje Sherpa, Adriana Brownlee, Kristin Harila, and photographer Sandro Gromen-Hayes are still watching the rain drip down the windows of their lodge in Lukla. They need good weather to fly to Cho Oyu Base Camp.

Their joint expedition outfitter, Seven Summit Treks/14 Peaks Expedition, has a strong team led by K2 winter summiter Sona Sherpa. It also includes Gelje Sherpa, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, Tenjen Sherpa, Mingtemba Sherpa, Lakpa Temba Sherpa, Mingma Tenje Sherpa, Pasang Dukpa Sherpa, and Mingma Dorchhi Sherpa.

Not a great day for flying: Lukla Tenzing Hillary Airport today. Photo: Himalaya Lodge Webcam

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.