Harila Notches Number 11 on Gasherbrum I; Just Three More to Go

But to beat Nirmal Purja’s speed record up all the 8,000’ers, the 36-year-old Norwegian now has to reach the true summit of Manaslu, which Nims originally did not. She will also need special permission from China to enter the country and climb Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, which have been closed to foreigners since COVID.

 

Once again, Pasdawa Sherpa, Dawa Ongchu, and Kristin Harila have led the way to a major summit. They reached the top of Gasherbrum I shortly after 7 am. Bad weather made it a tough slog. Harila and her team have now climbed 11 of the 8,000m peaks in 106 days — about three-and-a-half months. Nims took 176 days to climb all 14.

Nima Gyalzen, Ningma Tamang, and Grace Tseng followed them to the summit at around 9 am. Outfitter Summit Karakoram announced that Tamang climbed on O2, but Gyalzen and Tseng went without supplementary oxygen. Gyalzen, the CEO of Dolma Outdoor, has now summited all 14 8,000’ers.

More summits to come?

More summit news is expected. Pioneer Adventure’s Sanu Sherpa, guiding Naoko Watanabe of Japan, and a separate team of six Pakistani climbers, all reached Camp 3 yesterday.

The Pakistani team of Sirbaz Khan, Sajid Sadpara, Shehroze Kashif, Sohail Sakhi, Imtiaz Sadpara, and Naila Kayani made the 7,100m camp in tough conditions. Kayani told her home team that the “crazy strong” wind was making the climb harder than K2, which she recently summited.

Grace Tseng of Taiwan wrapped in high altitude clothing and tape on her face, and one of her Sherpa guides on O2.

Grace Tseng of Taiwan and one of her Sherpa guides on a previous climb this summer. Photo: Grace Tseng

 

Currently, all climbers are still on the mountain. Harila’s tracker put her at 6,700m at 1 pm Pakistan time.

Pakistan’s 8,000’ers complete

Harila is determined to prove that a woman can summit the 14 8,000’ers in record time. With the right logistics and strong guides, she has achieved a 100% success rate so far. Together with Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongchu, Harila has now bagged all of Pakistan’s 8,000m peaks. The team has summited 11 peaks in 106 days.

Kristin Harila smiles despite frozen hair on a cloudy day, with Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongchu in the background.

Pasdawa Sherpa, Kristin Harila, and Dawa Ongchu on Broad Peak’s summit. Photo: Kristin Harila

 

Next, they will enter the final and most interesting phase of their challenge. On Manaslu, they need to ensure they reach the actual highest point. Thanks to recent drone footage, the mountain’s summit is now clear, and no lower point on the summit ridge is acceptable. If she makes it, she could surpass current record holder Nirmal Purja, who didn’t reach the true summit of Manaslu during his initial Project Possible ascent.

After Manaslu, the main obstacle will be political rather than technical. Harila and her team need to obtain a special permit from the Chinese government to climb Shishapangma and Cho Oyu.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer 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.