Cho Oyu Success, Pakistan Peaks and an Expedition to Winter K2!

The Chinese expedition on Cho Oyu summited earlier today. Details are sketchy, but according to Stefan Nestler, 12 clients and 11 guides reached the top. This is the year’s second 8,000m summit from the Tibetan side, after a Chinese team climbed Everest North Side last spring. As the only team allowed in the Himalaya during the COVID-19 peak, the Everest group had the whole mountain to themselves, with time both to climb and to re-measure the mountain using new technology. Their results are expected soon.

Meanwhile in Nepal, the Bahrainis progress on Lobuche, their training peak before Manaslu. Some of the staff of Seven Summit Treks, including 24-time Everest summiter Kami Rita Sherpa, has flown to Samagaon to set up Base Camp for them and to start fixing the route up Manaslu.

SST manager Tashi Lakpa and the Bahrainis acclimatize above Dingboche yesterday. Photo: Seven Summit Treks


Soon, the SST team might bag Nepal’s first 8,000m peakof the season — perhaps even the only one. Although the country has opened to foreign tourists, harsh restrictions including a negative COVID test taken less than 72 hours before entering Nepal, and a minimum seven-day quarantine followed by a second test. Understandable though these measures are, they will likely discourage travelers considering an autumn jaunt to Nepal.

Because of this, operators are focusing on Pakistan, since requirements are simpler there. Seven Summit Treks is even planning a shot later this year at the ultimate prize in high-altitude mountaineering: Winter K2! Ali Saltoro of Alpine Adventure Guides reports that Dawa Sherpa will lead the expedition and John Snorri — who attempted the peak last year with Mingma G — will return as one of the members. Snorri is trying to get local star (and Nanga Parbat’s first winter summiter) Muhammad Ali Sadpara as his climbing partner.

Adventure-starved climbers are currently pouring into Pakistan, aiming for new routes and unclimbed peaks. France’s Symon Welfringer and Pierrick Fine are currently on 6,951m Sani Pakush, in the northwest Karakorum region of Gilgit-Baltistan, and a Kuwaiti team is heading for 6,326m Toshe Ri, on the Rupal Glacier side of Nanga Parbat.

Sawtooth peaks around the Batura Glacier, where a French team is currently climbing Sani Pakush. Photo: Alpine Adventure Guides


On K6, Colin Haley’s team set up Camp 2 at 6,300m, then returned to Base Camp to wait out a storm.

Some days ago, Jordi Tosas and Phillipp Brugger launched a bold attempt on 7,452m Muchu Chhish, but failed to summit. Then Tosas tried a second time on his own, reaching 7,000m before skiing down.

As dawn breaks, Phillipp Brugger battles fresh snow on Muchu Chhish. Photo: Jordi Tosas