First summit on Makalu

Posted: Apr 25, 2013 11:15 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) According to I.R. Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation, Iranian high altitude mountaineer, Azim Ghychisaz (32), summited Makalu on April 24. This is his 11th 8000-meter peak. According to the Federation, with him on the mountain are climbers from Serbia, America, Switzerland, China (2), and Australia [Gavin Vickers], plus sherpas and camp staff. On April 11 when Azim started to move above BC, the Federation says, they were the only people on the mountain. Not much information is available about these climbers.

Altitude Pakistan gives a debrief of Azim's climb.

According to Azim's Facebook he has successfully climbed:
Marble Wall Peak(2002)
Diran peak, Spantik(2004)
Dhaulagiri (Apri 26th,l 2010)
Nanga Parbat (10th of July ,2010)
Kanchenjunga (20th of May, 2011)
Gasherbrum II (22th of July, 2011)
Gasherbrum I (4th of August, 2011)
Annapurna I (6th of May 2012)
K2 (31st of July 2012)
Manaslu (29th of September 2012)

Currently Azim studies Physical Education in Tabriz University.

Gavin Vickers

The Australian, who is one of early climbers on the mountain, hasn't tweeted since April 20 when he reported to be back at BC with a bad cough, after 5 days on the mountain.
April 7: at Advanced BC, 5700m.
April 11: great puja.
April 14: "Just got back from camp 1 at 6600m for a rest then back up to 7500m"

Polish team

Kinga Baranowska and Rafal Fronia had Puja today and thereafter they made a deposit below the first wall, fellow countryman, Jan Komorowsk shot over to ExplorersWeb. "Tomorrow they should establish C1."

Asian Trekking (Astrek)

Team members are the leader Gia Tortiadze, 53, from Georgia,

Arjun Vajpai, 19, from India, Tonya Rae Clement, 50, from the USA, Dominique Dejose, 53, from Belgium, Will Cross, 46, from the US, Fernando Polansco, 45, from Colombia, and Krushna Patil, 24, from India.

The team said they looked forward toward the puja ceremony as they "definitely need loads of blessing from the mountain Goddess."

Priya Vajpai described the ceremony, "The puja is a must and all climbers take blessings from the mountain Goddess. We keep our equipments in front of a stupa which is created and we together with sherpas perform the puja, chanting prayers. Than some rice is distributed and we sprinkle these rice grians all arround. The mood is very somber @this time, wonder what goes on in everyone's mind!!!!.... but when the puja ends we celebrate with Nepali songs and dance around the stupa. It's great fun trying to match our footsteps with the sherpas:)))) After the puja it snowed quite heavily the whole afternoon. So we had to stay most of the time indoors."

The team started walking above 5700m today up to the Chago Glacier that gives them access to Camp 1. They got to "crampon point" where they left there mountaineering boots and climbing equipment, which are essential for travel to Camp 1 and above. Their Sherpas will be carring some loads to Camp 1 "as they are well acclimatized." The team returned from Crampon point.

Don Bowie

He climbs solo. On April 18 a helicopter dropped Don Bowie at BC at 4800 meter. On the 24th he reported to be at Advanced Base Camp (18,721 feet (5706 meters). "Gorgeous place, if not a little desolate," he wrote on Facebook.

Swiss Makalu team

Stephan Siegrist reported on Facebook that they arrived at Hillary BC on April 18th and it started snowing for three days. "With much persuasion, Sirdar Karma, our head porter convinced the other porter’s to continue further despite the bad weather. The path was tedious and took us over a rock glacier. The new snow slowed us down and impeded our every step, until finally a 140 meters below our planned base camp the porters threw in the towel!"

"It snowed again and we were left with no other choice but to carry the material we could up ourselves. Once we’d finally reached our base camp, tired and exhausted we cooked a simple dinner and disappeared into our sleeping bags. We’ve built our base camp on a moraine, a dream!"

As the Swiss are climbing the West Pillar Stephan reported they had BC for themselves, "the climbers for the normal route have their base camp a good 300 meters higher than we are." The day after thay had established their BC they "transported the last of the material the porters deposited before turning around. Five porters will meet us later with the remaining gear still left to be brought up from the Hillary-Camp," reported Stephan.

They plan to go alpine style, with no porters and no O2.

Samuli Mansikka

From above BC (4870m) Sam from Finland will climb independently and with no O2. He reports on Twitter.
April 23: "Arrived in Makalu BC at 4850m! Weather sucks. Found night-old snowleopard tracks close to Yanglekharka and second set here near BC! OMG!!"

April 24: "Yeah! I've reached Makalu Advanced BC (5700m), which will serve as my center of operations and home for as long as it takes!"

April 25: "The laziest day at Makalu ABC (5700m)! Done nothing but laid on my back and read a little. Planning to establish Camp 1 on 27th."


Asian Trekking has attached a link to the video below of Mt. Makalu filmed in 2010 to give an idea to what the climb is like.

Expedition links

Kinga Baranowska's website

Kinga Baranowska on Facebook

Rafal Fronia on Facebook

Azim Gheychisaz on Facebook

Azim Gheychisaz's website

Krushna Patil on Twitter

Krushna Patil's blog

Don Bowie on Facebook

Stephan Siegrist on Facebook

Gavin Vickers on Twitter

Samuli Mansikka on Facebook

Samuli Mansikka on Twitter

ExplorersWeb list of Expeditions and websites


Heads-up: Polish for Makalu and another Daula climb

Indian young gun Arjun Vajpai on Makalu

Puja with the Icefall Doctors


The Swiss-experience on Makalu. They do the West Pillar route.
Image by Daniel Bartsch courtesy Daniel Bartsch, SOURCE
Azim Ghychisaz, Iranian high altitude mountaineer.
courtesy Azim Ghychisaz, SOURCE
Kinga Baranowska and Rafal Fronia when they left home.
courtesy Kinga Baranowska, SOURCE