FKT Runners to Attempt Lhotse This Weekend

Ultra-runners Tyler Andrews and Chris Fisher came to the Himalaya to break two or three speed records. Their initial goal was Pumori, but they have had to adapt to conditions. Now, they will first attempt an FKT on Lhotse this weekend, taking advantage of the open route and the predicted good weather. Then they’ll head to Makalu.

Andrews and Fisher recently spent a few days in Kathmandu. Now they are back in Everest Base Camp and will do a final acclimatization on Lhotse.

“We’ll rotate up to 8,000m, or maybe to the base of the Lhotse Couloir at 8,200m,” Andrews told ExplorersWeb. “Then we’ll launch the FKT probably on May 18-19, when the weather is expected to be very good.”

So far, the pair has done one rotation on Lhotse, to the bergschrund at the beginning of the Lhotse Face, slightly above Camp 2.

The climbers smile, shoulder to shoulder, with high mountains behind them.

Chris Fisher, left, and Tyler Andrews on top of Chukkung Ri. Photo: Andrews/Fisher


“I would love to get Pumori too, but our priority after Lhotse is Makalu, and the timing is going to be tight, as the monsoon is coming,” Andrews said.

They’ve put Pumori on hold because its avalanche-prone slopes repeatedly foiled the sherpa rope fixers. Meanwhile, the route on Lhotse opened last week.

“You can make some plans in the mountains, but the mountains might have other plans for you, so we’re being patient and flexible,” Andrews said.

Added challenges

Andrews and Fisher may have a well-trodden trail and ropes on Lhotse, but it won’t be easy. Besides the extreme altitude, they’ll have to share the route with many other slower people until the Geneva Spur at 7,600m. There, the Lhotse and Everest routes finally diverge and the crowds lessen.

Today, high winds on Everest prompted some climbers to delay their plans. If good weather returns on the weekend, there may be crowds.

On Makalu, the problem will not be crowding but the relentless wind and conditions. After two summit pushes (and two casualties), the mountain is now nearly empty, but the route is not maintained. Stefi Troguet of Andorra attempted Makalu unsuccessfully last weekend and noted that several sections lacked fixed ropes.

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.