Bad Weather Ends Lhotse South Face Climb and Delays Harila’s Flight to Makalu

Hong Sun-Taek’s expedition to the South Face of Lhotse has ended unsuccessfully, member Vadim Druelle confirms. The team suffered a blow when one of its rope fixers, Khudam Bir Tamang, died in an avalanche. Eventually, the rest of the team decided to resume the climb, but then the weather prevented all significant progress.

“We had only one morning of good weather in 10 days,” Druelle said. “Otherwise, nonstop snow.”

During their last visit to Camp 1, the snow kept burying their tents, and avalanches roared past them. “The next day, we climbed toward Camp 2, but the risks were far too high to continue,” Druelle said. “The same evening, a huge avalanche descended to Base Camp. That’s when we said, STOP.”

Vadim Druelle at a snowy Camp 1 on Lhotse’s South Face. Photo: Vadim Druelle

Multi-headers

The weather has apparently turned poor in the entire upper Khumbu Valley, preventing Norway’s Kristin Harila from flying to Makalu today. She is currently in Dingboche, hoping for an improvement on Tuesday. If she can reach Makalu’s Base Camp tomorrow, she will try to summit on May 27, 8K Expeditions’ Lakpa Sherpa told ExplorersWeb.

Besides Harila and Adriana Brownlee of the UK, another woman is pursuing multiple Himalaya peaks this spring. The Himalayan Times reports that Baljeet Kaur of India, climbing with Peak Promotion, has bagged four peaks so far this season. After earlier successes on Annapurna and Kangchenjunga, she summited Everest on Saturday and Lhotse on Sunday.

Everest

The last teams on Everest remain hopeful for a last-minute summit chance before the Khumbu Icefall closes on May 29. 8K Expeditions has a team at the South Col, ready to set off tonight. In addition, some climbers currently in Camp 2 will head up tomorrow, Lakpa Sherpa said. One of them is Elite Expeds’ second group. According to the company’s Instagram post, they aim to summit on May 27.

Sito Carcavilla on top of Everest last Friday. Frame of a video shot by Mikel Sherpa

 

Summits have been accruing throughout the weekend as well, from later teams such as Madison Mountaineering and climbers who have hurried to Everest from other peaks. This includes Spain’s Sito Carcavilla, who was Carlos Soria’s partner on Dhaulagiri.

While Soria returned home, Carcavilla took the chance and the acclimatization he acquired to launch a quick push on Everest. He summited it successfully (on O2) with Mikel Sherpa on May 20.

“From an alpinist’s point of view, it’s not that a huge challenge, but Everest is Everest: Who wouldn’t want to climb it?” he admitted on social media.

Makalu

Despite the current bad weather, new summits on Makalu are still possible before the end of the season. In the meantime, we can enjoy photographer Jackson Groves’ drone footage of himself on the summit on May 20:

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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RIP
RIP
1 month ago

RIP Khudam Bir Tamang.