Dhaulagiri Climbers Also Summit-Bound

Good weather and a stable long-range forecast have sent most climbers in Dhaulagiri’s Base Camp up toward the summit, except who have been laid low by the COVID outbreak.

Luis Carcavilla, Carlos Soria’s partner, reports in a Spanish video dispatch that 25 climbers have been already evacuated with COVID symptoms of varying degrees. He insists that his team took all precautions, including wearing masks around camp and bringing plenty of testing kits.

“Unfortunately, the local staff and climbers had no previous tests, and the foreigners who joined us in Base Camp had taken their last PCR a month ago,” Carcavilla said.

“Right now, we are going to forget about the mountain and focus on taking care of our team: the three of us from Spain, the six Sherpa climbers with us, and the five BC staff members.”

A snowy Camp 1 at a huge flat saddle on Dhaulagiri

A snowy Camp 1 at a huge saddle on Dhaulagiri’s normal route. Photo: Luis M. Lopez

 

Pokhara celebrations to blame?

Members of Seven Summit Treks and Pioneer Adventure wore no masks at Annapurna. Nor did many in Pokhara during their several days of rest and celebration after summiting. It is not unlikely that some caught the disease during that hiatus.

On the other hand, the Annapurna climb acclimatized them, so they can head for the summit without needing partial trips up the mountain.

Among those on the move: Moeses Fiamoncini, who has teamed up with Andorra’s Stefi Troguet (follow her track here). Also, Dominic Trastoy, Waldemar Kowalewski, Dawa Yangzum, and Vidiriana Alvarez. Alvarez wrote that she intends to reach Camp 2 tomorrow and spend a second night there, “in case of any change of weather”.

The ropes may not yet be in place above Camp 2. In a previous post, Klara Kolouchova, climbing with Sophie Lavaud, said that there are many crevasses above Camp 2. It is unknown whether Lavaud and the other women in the team have joined the summit push as well.

Far in front of everyone else on the normal route are Carla Perez, Topo Mena, and Tommy Joyce. We won’t know whether they’ll fix any rope along the way. They may summit soon, and ExWeb will report on this and other news through the weekend.

A precarious tentsite on a sharp ridge

No place to sleepwalk. Camp 1 on Dhaulagiri’s Northwest Ridge. Photo: Peter Hamor

 

Meanwhile, isolated from COVID in their little bubble, Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane climbed back to Camp 1 today. They too are summit-bound, but they are tackling a previously unclimbed route. Previously, they reached Camp 3. Beyond that lies unknown terrain for them. But they expect that some of the hardest climbing may lie ahead, in the exposed sections they glimpsed from below.

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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