Dhaulagiri: Summit Push on NW Ridge

Isolated at the base of Dhaulagiri’s Northwest Ridge, Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane have kept safe from the COVID-19 outbreak currently sweeping Base Camp. Tomorrow, they leave for the summit.

On a previous round, they set up Camp 3. Since then, they have rested in BC for a few days and waited out bad weather. The forecast has now improved, and the three have a real chance to make a first ascent of the Northwest Ridge. But what will the conditions be on the ridge after several days of snow?

The normal route: even more uncertain

The situation is even uncertain for those on the normal route. We have heard reports of many evacuations, but also of climbers joining the current summit push, two days after Topo Mena and Carla Pérez started breaking trail.

Among the late joiners is U.S.-Nepali Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, the only woman who summited Annapurna without O2 last month. Dawa Yangzum is among the few female climbers in Nepal credited as IFMGA guide.

Portrait of a female Sherpa and mountain guide

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, ready to add another no-O2 8,000’er to her resumé. Photo: Dawa Yangzum Sherpa


Meanwhile, members of the Seven Summit Treks team have been in Base Camp for nearly a week, “saving strength for the summit push, since we are already acclimatized from Annapurna,” Viridiana Alvarez wrote this week. As on Annapurna, most SST climbers will use supplementary oxygen.

As for the COVID situation, the climbers are not denying that some 20 people, both local and foreign, have been evacuated. Eleven more left by helicopter today, as the weather improved.

Nepali Times confirmed that many climbers and staff at Dhaulagiri’s Base Camp have had access to antigen testing. In addition to those kits brought by climbers — such as Carlos Soria’s team — a Nepali Army patrol gave access to theirs. The patrol came to Base Camp as part of a national cleanup of mountain base camps. Three soldiers were also evacuated with symptoms compatible with COVID.