Dhaulagiri: Climbers Near Camp 2, Lavaud Tests Positive for COVID

Early today, a small group of climbers set off from Camp 1 on Dhaulagiri. Waldemar Kowalewski’s home team reports that conditions are tough because deep snow has buried the trail and the fixed ropes.  We expect further news soon, although the team’s trackers (such as Viridiana Alvarez’s below) locate them near Camp 2, at roughly 6,300m. Stefi Troguet’s tracker last connected yesterday, when she checked in from Camp 1.

Viridiana Alvarez’s tracker on Dhaulagiri at 1pm Nepal time.


Sophie Lavaud, who is leading an all-women’s expedition, is not among those heading up. Lavaud and her two Sherpas have contracted COVID. “The team from Annapurna spent six days in Pokhara and none of them was tested before getting into the helicopters that brought them here,” she said. “What a lethal mistake.”

Woman climber and Sherpa holding sponsors' sign.

Sophie Lavaud, left.


On their second rotation earlier this week, Lavaud noticed that Ang Kami and Dawa Sangay, with whom she shared a tent, had this “funny cough”. Upon returning to Base Camp, they were told of the outbreak and took a quick test from an expedition doctor. All three tested positive.

Lavaud said that the the illness has thwarted her entire Women Who Dare project, so more unannounced team members are likely ill. Sick climbers had hoped to be evacuated to Kathmandu yesterday, but bad weather engulfed Base Camp and delayed their flight.

News of Carla Perez and Topo Mena is also expected soon. Perez and Mena were climbing ahead of the pack on the normal route. The Slovak-Romanian team of Peter Hamor, Horia Colibasanu, and Marius Gane expected to reach Camp 2 on the unclimbed Northwest Ridge today.