Kangchenjunga Summit Push is On

Summit action is not yet unfolding on Everest or Lhotse. After the recent successes on Annapurna, the next 8000’er on the list is another “difficult” mountain: Kangchenjunga. A total of 34 climbers (according to Carlos Garranzo), left Base Camp today, despite less-than-ideal conditions, with the jet-stream still low enough to rip the peak with strong gusts.

“The day has come, and there is only one thing I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings,” said Juan Pablo Sarjanovich from Argentina, marking his departure with a quote from Dostoyevsky. He plans to gain one higher camp a day and attempt the summit from Camp 4 this coming Tuesday, “the mountain willing.”

Juan pablo Sarjanovich in Kangchenjunga Base Camp

Argentinean climber Juan Pablo Sarjanovich in Kangchenjunga Base Camp. Photo: Juan Pablo Sarjanovich via Facebook

After testing himself at altitude with partial climbs and playing the patience game during the recent bad weather, he feels ready for a no-O2 summit bid on the third highest mountain in the world. He credits his good morale to their well-aquainted, harmonic team — apparently not the case with other climbing groups.

Sarjanovich is with Seven Summit Treks, whose CEO and 14×8000’er summiter Dawa Sherpa — fresh from Annapurna — reinforced the team at the beginning of the week. Originally, Dawa had planned to come to Kangchen with Wui Kin Chin, but as we reported earlier, the Malaysian died in hospital after being stranded at altitude for almost two days on Annapurna.

Sarjanovich also mentioned that he is among the few climbers who know how to use an ice ax. Most other clients rely entirely on their jumars, well-clipped to the fixed ropes. This lack of basic knowledge is a growing trend on all 8000’ers.

Fellow Latin Americans Hernan Lean of Chile and Viridiana Alvarez of Mexico join the Argentinean. They plan to keep their options open. “We need a good weather window between May 14 and May 16,” said Leal. “If conditions are too rough, we will just return to Base Camp and take the outing as a yet another acclimatization trip.”

Related stories:

Did Red Tape Fatally Delay the Rescue on Annapurna?

Rescued Malaysian Climber Dies