Dhaulagiri Trio Start for Summit

Amid news of COVID-19 in Dhaulagiri’s Base Camp, Esteban “Topo” Mena and Carla Pérez have reached Camp 1 on their summit push.

“The best snow conditions so far coming up here today,” Mena reported. “That means only one thing: gotta keep going up.”

Photographer Tommy Joyce has decided to join them. The three will move up to Camp 2 tomorrow, Camp 3 on Friday, and aim to summit on Saturday. “The window is narrow, but it’s open,” said Joyce.

The partly cloudy summit of Dhaulagiri

The summit of Dhaulagiri from Camp 1. Photo: Esteban Mena


Waldemar Kowalewski of Poland also intends to start for the summit tomorrow. There is no word of other climbers joining them. Stefi Troguet’s home team told ExplorersWeb that she will wait for a longer weather window, but her partner Jonatan García may still be pondering his options.

Troguet and García have climbed with Pérez and Mena on previous rotations to Camp 1 and C2. The four of them use no Sherpas and no supplementary oxygen.

We don’t know the current state of fixed ropes on the route, but no one has reached past Camp 2 yet. Earlier today, news from Dhaulagiri focused instead on the outbreak of COVID-19. About 10 sick climbers flew out yesterday. After a bad-weather day when the helicopters couldn’t fly, more are scheduled to leave tomorrow.

Mena, Perez, and Joyce have had the advantage of a safe Base Camp further down the glacier, near access to the NW spur, which was their original goal. Only one other expedition shares that quiet camp. Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane are currently trying to complete the first ascent of the NW Ridge. Both teams have some Base Camp crew, but all climb without Sherpa help.

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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Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
1 year ago

Are they using sherpa-fixed ropes?

1 year ago
Reply to  Lenore Jones

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim
1 year ago

Great update! Can’t wait to hear how the elite crew on the NW ridge make out as they go higher. I think this is the coolest objective and best style of the year so far! Small crew, difficult route, little sherpa support… Awesome! Definitely Piolet d’or consideration. Best of Luck!