Purja Summits Cho Oyu

A slight improvement in weather was all Nirmal Purja needed to rush up Cho Oyu and notch his twelfth 8000’er. Number 13 might follow later this week, since Purja is now heading for Manaslu.

As usual, there’s been no warning and virtually no details, but Seven Summit Treks briefly reported that Nirmal Purja summited Cho Oyu at 11:30am local time today. Also successful were Gesman Tamang, Palden Sherpa, Nima Tenzing Sherpa, Pasang Sherpa, Chewang Sherpa, Esteban Mena and Lakpa Ongcchu Sherpa. Mena was guiding for a team outfitted by Alpenglow Expeditions. Pictures and details to follow.

Esteban Mena (left) and Nirmal Purja earlier at Cho Oyu Base Camp. Photo: Nirmal Purja


As for Nirmal Purja, there will be no time for Base Camp celebrations: His plans were to (literally?) run down the mountain, drive back to the Nepal border and reach Manaslu Base Camp tomorrow. Purja will then hurry to catch up with those currently on a full-throttle summit bid. One of these groups, Furtenbach Adventures, checked in from Camp 2 today.

Climbers on Manaslu. Photo: Furtenbach Expeditions.


Failure on Everest

Meanwhile, on Everest, the Mountain Hardwear team found no safe pass across the Khumbu icefall and has abandoned its attempt.

“Sherpas finally made it to Camp 1, but on their return they showed images of a very large (200-300ft), detached serac looming about 3,000ft above our route,” Tim Emmett explained.

Emmett noted that a much smaller piece of ice killed 16 Sherpas five years ago. “I’ve lost too many friends to turn a blind eye,” he said. After some discussion with Joe Vernachio and Garrett Madison, they called off the expedition.

“We estimate that block (top circle with arrow) is at least 200 feet tall. The serac looms directly over the Icefall and our path through it. There are climbers in the bottom circle. It is impossible to know when it will fall off, but when it does it will destroy everything in its path,” Tim Emmett explained. Photo: Bartek Bargiel


The Polish Lhotse expedition has also called off its climb because of the dangerous conditions. Only Andrzej Bargiel’s team remains on the mountain for now. It is unknown whether they try to find a safer passage through the Icefall or take the risk. Meanwhile, they have posted an amazing (and scary!) video of their progress through the Icefall: