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.