Himalaya wrap-up: Fatal incident on Dhaulagiri, icefall accident on Everest, Koreans summit Kangchenjunga, alpine style pushes on Makalu West Pillar

Himalaya wrap-up: Fatal incident on Dhaulagiri, icefall accident on Everest, Koreans summit Kangchenjunga, alpine style pushes on Makalu West Pillar

Posted: May 07, 2009 02:07 pm EDT

(MountEverest.net) Alex Gavan recently aborted his Everest climb because he didn't like the condition of the ice fall, and constant avalanches from the West shoulder may have claimed a life today. While details are still expected, reports of a major slide last night and a Sherpa missing have been posted.

There is news of another climber lost on Dhaulagiri: Iranian Mehdi Etemadfar reportedly fell to his death while pushing for the summit on May 1st.

On Kangchenjunga, yesterday Korean Oh Eun-sun bagged the first summit of this season and may be descending in rough conditions, according to Edurne Pasaban. Meanwhile, there are summit pushes on Makalu West Pillar (Iñurrategis group) and Cho Oyus SE face (Denis Urubkos).

Everest South side: Avalanche in the icefall

The West shoulder that has been calving on the icefall consistently this spring, released another big one this morning, Nepal time, Peak Freaks Tim Rippel reported earlier today from BC. Except this time it took out two climbers who were on the route. One member was sent into a crevasse and one member survived.

I used to wait to report things like this till names are released, but I have learned that it is very painful for family and friends who here the news that trickles in and fear sets in, Rippel stated. There are so many avenues of news sources that word starts getting out almost instantaneously, so to help alleviate anxiety I want to confirm that no Peak Freak members were involved. All our members were either down the valley or at base camp.

Also IMG posted a report on their expedition website, stating that climbers rescued one victim from a crevasse while a Sherpa is missing.

Mexicans on Everest summit push today others to follow

In 12 hours we will set off from BC towards the summit, Yuri Contreras reported yesterday. We have kept our plans 'hidden', in order to avoid too many teams joining us, he added. Forecasts show the wind should drop on May 9-10th. Well be in touch through the radio for any change, and will turn back in case the winds remain above 30 knots.

Yuri, Laura and three Sherpas planned to leave BC today at 4.00am, local time, towards C2. They expected to sleep in C3 tomorrow, in C4 on Saturday and, hopefully, reach the summit on Sunday. On the summit day, Laura will climb with Padawa Sherpa and Yuri will be accompanied by Lakpa Sherpa, while the third Sherpa in the team, Dorjee, remains as a support in C4.

SummitClimbs Everest group will start their summit push on May 8th. The members will first climb to camp 2, where they will have a rest day before climbing up to camp 3, Leader Sam Mansikka reported. From camp 3 they will climb to the South Col on the 11th. That makes May 12th the summit day for our Everest group. The Lhotse team will set off on May 9th.

It looks like we might have a decent window about the 11/12th, so tomorrow (today) we are going to launch our first summit team, IMG revealed. The second team will be a day or two later, depending on how the forecast looks.

Some other team leaders are not so positive about the weather though. HiMex team members were reportedly waiting for fresh forecasts before deciding.

Gavin Bate checked in from C3 yesterday: It is a bit windy, but otherwise conditions are good he said. Alpine Ascents team member were also scattered between C3 and C2.

Dhaulagiri: Mehdi Etemadfar lost in a fall

Iranian climber Mehdi Etemadfar disappeared during a summit push on Dhaulagiri, Friday May 1st. Medhi was last seen pushing for the top at around 8100m.

Mehdi seemed exhausted, but still heading up, Turkish Tuck Findic told IMZ News once back in BC from the summit. Czech David Fojtik and I were climbing up ahead of him towards the top, in almost whiteout conditions."

"Skiing down from the summit, David saw Mehdi for the last time like a ghost in the fog. According to him, Mehdi was stepping back and forth in a bad mood then suddenly fell on an icy slope at 8100m and disappeared," Tunc added.

David Fojtik, who skied down most part of the route, was later on airlifted to Kathmandu with frostbitten fingers. Mehdi summited G1 + BP in 2007. He was on his second attempt on Dhaulagiri.

Kangchenjunga: Korean Eun-sun summits in high winds

Edurne's team reached C3 in high winds yesterday. Wed like to spend two nights here, but will run back down if the wind doesn´t drop, Pasaban told her home team. The Basque girl also reported summit news: Korean Oh Eun Sun just reached the top in spite of the wind," she said. Oh was climbing on O2 and heavily supported by a huge team. However, we are slightly concerned about her: I wouldn´t like to be in her shoes, descending in these conditions. The Spanish team planned to be on alert all night, in case they were needed to help the Korean down.

Editors note: Korean contributors told ExWeb that the Korean female climber reportedly summiting Makalu on May 1st last week was Mi-Sun Go; she planned to join Ohs team on Kangchenjunga immediately after.

Cho Oyu: SE face summit push!

Denis Urubko and Boris are ready to leave Cho Oyu ABC in a single summit push up a new route on Cho Oyus SE face. We have food and gas for a week, Denis reported. wish us luck! Two days ago, Denis reckoned the planned route looked extremely serious but said, decided to fight till the end and Boris agrees with me.

The climbers are not bringing their sat-phone, so there will be no news from them until they return.

Ed. Note: Denis is climbing a new route on Cho Oyus SE face. Other routes are already opened on that face but, should Denis succeed, his would be the first in alpine style.

Makalu: 6,500m on the West Pillar Seigneur Wall awaiting

Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza pitched a tent at 6,500m after climbing for 8 hours and gaining 1,200 vertical meters on their first day up Makalus West Pillar. The Basque team planned to continue up to 7,300m today, overcoming some difficult sections on mixed terrain and the routes crux: the Seigneur Wall, a 15 meters smooth, vertical wall with virtually no holds (A2 degree).

Links to 2009 Himalaya expeditions:

Lhotse-Everest traverse
Mountain.kz - expedition's official website

Everest South side:
Everest traverse - Bill Burke's blog
Alex Gavan
Richard Hidalgo's blog
Singapore's women on Everest updates
Airborne Ranger Club of Finland
Croatian female Everest expedition
Scott Woolums' Adventures International
Altitude Junkies
Lance Fox's dispatches
Gavin Bate's Adventure Alternatives
Dutch Everest team- Bernice Notenboom's blog
Jason Maehl
Peak Freaks - Everest updates
RMI Guides/First Ascent - Everest dispatches
Johnny & Brian Strange's dispatches
Asian Trekking - news
Yuri and Laura
Nic Cunningham's updates
John Golden's dispatches
Billi Bierling - Everest diary
David Tait's dispatches
Adrian Ballinger
Alec Turner's dispatches
Megan Delanty's blog
Chris Dovell's blog
Norwegians Hjertnes, Jacobsen and Rambøl
Robert kojetin
German Thomas "Tomsky"
SummitClimb - News
Laserer Alpin
Iberic Everest expedition
Nancy Norris
Abramov's 7Summits-club
Adventure Consultants
Alpine Ascents
Mountain Madness
Kenton Cool's dream Guides
Kari Kobler
Atunas Taiwanese 7summits & Everest Expedition

Everest North side:
Czech Hornbein Couloir expedition - Libor Uher's website
Jarle Traa
Kanagawa University Alpine Club
Lee Farmer
Serbian Everest expedition
Manuel Pizarro - news
Gabriel Filippi's posts

Edurne Pasaban
Jon Gangdal
Kinga Baranowska
Nives Meroi & Romano Benet

Zangrilli's blog
Zangrilli's guiding blog
Roland Hunter's expedition blog
News on Vallejo, Iñurrategi, Zabalza - EiTB blogs

Martin Minarik
Elisabeth Revol's blog
Valeri Babanov

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner - news
Ralf's Amical Alpin
Hirotaka Takeuchi's blog
David Göttler's website
Xavi Arias' blog
News on Mondinelli on Montagna.org

Joao Garcia's expedition blog
Windhorse Trekking - News on KOrean Dynamic Busan
Andalusian female team - news
Lina Quesada
Carlos Pauner
Nick Rice's dispatches
Mario Merelli
Radek Jaros

Piotr Morawski - news
Peter Hamor
Polish Tatra Rescuers team
News on Mehdi Etemadfar -MountainZone.ir
Luis Stitzinger - news
Nobukazu Kuriki - English blog

Cho Oyu
Al Filo Spanish team's website
Belgian expedition's website

Lesser Himalayan peaks:

Polish Nanda Devi East expedition
Moran's British Nanda Devi East expedition
Puryear and Gottlieb on Lunag Ri
Ben Clark - Baruntse updates
News on Russian Pumori and E-Gongga teams on RussianClimb


Live image over Contact 4.0 of the Khumbu icefall and the serac (circled in red) at the West shoulder, which has been causing several avalanches affecting the climbing route, courtesy of Laserer Alpin's expedition website (click to enlarge).
Live image over Contact 4.0 of Mexican Yuri Contreras (left) and his climbing sherpa Lakpa, courtesy of Yuri and Laura's website (click to enlarge).
"The biggest avalanche I have ever seen rushed down the mountain headed for the climbing route ," Johnny Strange posted Thursday. Live image over Contact 4.0 of the avalanche courtesy of Stranges on Everest expedition's website (click to enlarge).
Iranian climber Mehdi Etemadfar disappeared during a summit push on Dhaulagiri, Friday May 1st. Image of Medhi courtesy of IMZ News (click to enlarge).
Image of Makalu's West Pillar with the section of the route climbed yesterday by Iñurrategi's team, courtesy of eITB blogs (click to enlarge).