First Dhaulagiri Summits; More on Manaslu

The rope-fixing team on Dhaulagiri has finally reported summit news. The plan was to summit yesterday, but excess snow turned the march from Camp 3 into a major struggle. The seven-person Sherpa team fought for every step in deep snow.

Earlier today, sherpas found deep snow from Camp 3 to Dhaulagiri’s summit. Photo: Lakpa Dendi


The rope fixers comprised five Sherpas from Seven Summit Treks, including Sirbaz Khan of Pakistan, one from Pioneer Adventure, and one from 8K Expeditions. All seemingly summited today. Many of the clients who had reached Camp 3 yesterday followed them.

Including Sherpas and clients, Seven Summit Treks reports a total of 20 summits from their team. 8K Expedition put two people on top, and Pioneer Adventure had seven.

More women than men

For the first time among clients, women might outnumber men. Among the summiters are Purnima Shrestha and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita. They are the first Nepali women to climb Dhaulagiri. The pair were among the nearly 70 people who summited Annapurna in the record-breaking spring summit push.

Viridiana Alvarez of México, Sophie Lavaud of Switzerland, Naoko Watanabe of Japan, and Flower Wayta of Peru also topped out. Another summiter, Ms. Baljeet, is reported to be the first Indian woman on Dhaulagiri. Her climbing partner, Ms. Piyali, has apparently summited without O2.

Sanu Sherpa headed the rope fixers. Sanu Sherpa is attempting to finish a “double” 14×8,000’er quest, climbing each 8,000m peak twice. Dhaulagiri marked the eleventh peak of his second go-round.

Worth noting: Hungarian Csaba Varga summited with no Sherpa support and no supplementary O2.

But the deep snow proved too much for 82-year-old Carlos Soria and his prosthetic knee. “It is difficult for me to move up in such conditions, and the upper part of the mountain is overloaded with fresh snow,” he said. “I have decided to return to Base Camp and to abandon my attempt to climb Dhaulagiri this season,” Soria explained in a video (Spanish only).

Carlos Soria and a Sherpa retreat from Dhaulagiri. Photo: Luis M. Lopez


No news yet from Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo, who planned to ski from the summit. They wanted to focus on the climb and have not updated their social media since mid-September.

Considering the debate about Manaslu’s true summit, we should point out that Dhaulagiri’s summit is equally tricky. It requires a long walk up the summit ridge to the highest point, as Ralf Dujmovits explained in our Dhaulagiri Climber’s Guide.

Dhaulagiri summit ridge. Photo: Boyan Petrov

More true summits on Manaslu

On Manaslu, more summits have been reported. These include two teams from Furtenbach Adventure. One summited yesterday, while their “flash” team summited today. Both Furtenbach teams continued to the actual summit and were able to enjoy perfect weather on top. Remarkably, they are the only ones that followed in Mingma G’s footsteps past the fixed ropes and the foresummit.

Polish climber Anna Tybor finally returned to Base Camp after her no-O2 climb and ski descent. However, the descent was not complete, since they stopped for a night at Camp 4. Tybor reportedly suffered stomach problems on her way up, and the weather was poor. This resulted in a late summit on Wednesday afternoon. They strapped on their skis but were only able to reach Camp 4 by nightfall. At dawn, they continued the rest of the way down.

Finally, while the traverse to the real summit of Manaslu, pioneered by Mingma G, was steep, the slight tilt in the drone’s position made it look even steeper. The slope seems to have been no more than about 55˚, below.

Photos: Jackson Groves