Kangchenjunga: A Bitter Ending With No Summit

It’s been a long wait with no reward for climbers on Kangchenjunga. After spending longer than any other team in Nepal’s mountains this year, they have finally aborted after two days in Camp 4.

The ropes were never fixed on the final section of the mountain, and the explanation of why not varies, depending on who reports.

Uta Ibrahimi of Albania-Kosovo is just back in Base Camp and far from happy.

“Again, no summit,” she wrote over InReach. “Two days seeing so many sherpas in Camp 4, just hanging [around] and none of them willing to fix or push for the summit in such beautiful conditions and weather is sad.”

Frustrating weeks

Ibrahimi has spent 30 days on the mountain. After rotations and a failed summit push on May 11, the climbers launched a final summit attempt last Thursday. Ibrahimi reached Camp 4 on Saturday without supplementary oxygen. There, she waited for the sherpa team to go and fix the last section of the mountain. But they didn’t get very far.

“Five rope-fixing team members went up again, and down again,” she reported yesterday. “No fixing. No summit push. Beautiful weather and conditions, lots of sherpa, zero motivation.”

Until now, Ibrahimi has only been able to share short messages via Inreach. But she says she is preparing a longer blog entry to post as soon as possible.

Catherine Vulliez of France has been on Kangchenjunga since April 20. She was also in Camp 4 and wrote she had hopes that the sherpa team could finally fix the ropes yesterday, but all was in vain. Today, she returned to Base Camp feeling “very disappointed.”

The climbers shoulder to shoulder in some indoor place in kathmandu.

Catherine Vuillez and Uta Ibrahimi before the Kangchenjunga expedition. Photo: Uta Ibrahimi/Facebook


The few climbers on the mountain this season were outfitted by Seven Summit Treks and 8K Expeditions. According to Vuillez, the sherpas in charge of fixing the ropes belonged to these two companies. Sajid Sadpara of Pakistan was collaborating with Seven Summit Treks.

“Kanchenjunga not possible this year, tried two times but conditions didn’t allow,” he wrote to his home team.

News is still expected from Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Pereira of Poland. After climbing Makalu — where Ziemski also skied down — they had left for Kangchenjunga Base Camp on May 19.

Allie Pepper of Australia had also planned for Kangchenjunga after Annapurna and Makalu. But she has had to halt her no-O2 14×8000’er project for at least some weeks. She has come down with high-altitude retinopathy (HAR).

No ropes or no-go

While no one has said that Kangchenjunga has officially ended, another summit push on fixed ropes before the arrival of the monsoon is unlikely. If climbers were skilled enough, they could try climbing without ropes or fixing their own ropes where needed from Camp 4 to the summit. Read Kangchenjunga’s Climbers Guide by Nives Meroy and Romano Benet.

If no one tries in the next few days, Kangchenjunga will end the 2024 spring season with no summits, just like Dhaulagiri.

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.