Himalaya: Nepal Opens, Chinese Target Cho Oyu

After a six-month lockdown, Nepal has decided to resume international flights and issue climbing permits to foreign groups, starting September 17. The opening also applies to restaurants, hotels and intercity buses. While this is great news, it may be too late for expeditions aiming for 8,000m peaks, except for one well-connected team — the Royal Bahraini expedition to Manaslu — that gained access in advance and thus won valuable preparation time. On the Tibet side, a Chinese team has also been allowed to climb Cho Oyu.

The Bahrainis flew to Kathmandu by charter earlier today. They have to remain in isolation for a week before moving on. Meanwhile, a large Chinese contingent set off for Cho Oyu BC on Monday.

The Chinese team currently on its way to Cho Oyu. Photo: Mingma G

While no further expeditions to an 8,000’er seem in the offing, outfitters have jumped to offer trekking tours and climbs to lesser peaks, which require less time for acclimatization and rope-fixing. These include the so-called trekking peaks between 6,000m and 7,000m, including Island Peak, Mera, Cholatse and even Baruntse (7,129m) and Ama Dablam (6,812)m, which is particularly popular in autumn.
The Bahraini team will acclimatize on Lobuche in the Khumbu Valley before moving to Manaslu. Meanwhile, a local team is already at the foot of Baruntse.