First Ascent Teams — and One Skier — Arrive in Nepal

Some of the season’s most interesting expeditions have begun to arrive in Kathmandu.

Adam Bielecki and Mariusz Hatala of Poland and Felix Berg of Germany are again targeting a new route on Annapurna’s Northwest Face. Berg and Bielecki attempted Langtang Lirung together in 2019. The two Poles are now in Nepal after altitude training in South America. Berg, meanwhile, is guiding a team on Manaslu for his company, SummitClimb.

Hatala (left) and Bielecki (right) with Seven Summit Treks’ owner Chhang Dawa Sherpa. Photo:Polski Himalaizm Sportowy


Annapurna Northwest Face is considered one of the last challenges in modern Himalayan climbing. Nearly 3,000m high, the mixed terrain face has only had one previous climb, by the legendary pair Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander in 1985.

Czech climbers Josef Nezerka and Jindra Martis also succeeded in 1988, but their line followed a ridge on the right side, rather than on the face, Polski Himalaizm Sportowy (the Polish National Himalayan program) reported.

The three climbers will launch an alpine-style attempt. Berg and Bielecki attempted the face before, but it is not clear whether they will follow the same line this time or try a new one.

Skier faces technical descent

Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Rodrigo Pereira have also just reached Kathmandu.  Ziemski will ski down Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, while Pereira will film him. From Nepal, they shared some details with ExplorersWeb.

The pair have been in training over the last few months. Ziemski lives in Chamonix so he has climbed and skied almost daily. Pereira, who lives in flattish Warsaw, has focused on hypoxic training.

They will head directly for Annapurna on Thursday and do classical rotations up the mountain. Oswald will go on foot, while Bartek plans to use skis for part of the ascent and all of the descent.

The main question is how he will manage to pass among the seracs and crevasses between Camp 3 and Camp 2 on Annapurna, and the long traverse under the summit of Dhaulagiri.

The climbers in the Airport lounge, Oswald with a bulky packpack on his shoulders.

Ziemski (left) and Pereira. They expect to reach Annapurna Base Camp on Thursday. Photo: Courtesy of Oswald Rodrigo Pereira


“We are aware that these mountains are more technical or represent different difficulties than Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II,” Pereira said. “But we have time to decide on the best route once we set foot on the mountains.”

The climbers pose in front to Bhouddanath Stupa, with white scarves around their necks.

The Japanese team is already in Kathmandu, preparing for the first ascent of Jarkya. Photo: Facebook


At least one other Polish climber is in the Himalaya this spring. Dorota Rasinska is heading for Dhaulagiri, the next peak in her attempt to summit all 14×8,000’ers as fast as possible. She started with Everest in 2021 and has now done nine peaks. After Dhaulagiri, she will head to the Gasherbrums in the summer.

Close shot of Dorota, with glasses, a black cap and white scarf around her neck, in Kathmandu.

Dorota Rasinska in Kathmandu yesterday. Photo: Facebook


Valeri Babanov back to the Himalaya

Two-time Piolet d’Or winner Valeri Babanov of Russia is on his way back to the Himalaya. He is part of a remarkably strong team outfitted by Seven Summits Club and heading for Makalu.

Close shot of Babanov.

Valery Babanov. Photo:


The team’s assistant leader is Israfil Ashurli of Azerbaijan. Ashurly — a Snow Leopard with five 8,000m peaks on his resumé — told ExplorersWeb that everyone will climb the normal route. They will provide more details from Kathmandu.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She 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 local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.