Makalu: One Group Summits, More On the Way

Climbers on Makalu have reached Camp 3 while battling bitter cold, high winds, and hard ice. Those on oxygen will continue toward the top tonight. Meanwhile, a first group reportedly summited today: young Nima Rinji and his sherpa guides.

As usual in this era of mountaineering, almost everyone is moving at the same pace and following a similar strategy. As soon as the winds receded slightly, the teams left Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 5,700m for Camp 2 yesterday and Camp 3 today. Currently, helicopters still service ABC, as seen in this video.

Makalu is a famously windy mountain, and as we noted in yesterday’s Everest update, the dry winter has created hard climbing conditions on the area’s 8,000m peaks. On Makalu, Polish skier Bartek Ziemski reported last week that the route is mainly rock and very hard ice.

Many others preparing for their summit push have confirmed this assessment. Naila Kiani of Pakistan, who has decided to return to her 14×8,000m quest, told her home team that progressing over hard ice and rock was extremely tough.

“Winds were crazy from 7,000m upward,” she wrote over InReach from Camp 3 at 7,400m.

She said the midday winds were 45kph but are expected to lower to 25kph by tonight. The wind had damaged or wrecked some tents, she added.

If the calmer forecast is correct, climbers on O2 and their personal sherpas will leave for the summit tonight.

Nima Rinji: 12 at 18

Nima Rinji Sherpa and his group reportedly summited at 7:20 am today. There are no details about his companions, although his regular guide, Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, likely accompanied him.

Just 18, Nima Rinji has already summited 12 8,000’ers in his quest to become “the first teenager” to do so. His main contender is Scottish-French Alasdair Mckenzie, who is about to try Cho Oyu from its difficult south side. Mckenzie and Nima Rinji hoped to climb Shisha Pangma this spring, but China didn’t open the mountain to foreigners.

No-O2 climbers

It is not clear if any of the \climbers going without supplementary O2 are ready for the summit yet. Stefi Troguet of Andorra confirmed she needs one more rotation before going for the top with her Elite Exped group. She will try to get above Camp 3, then retreat to Base Camp. Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Rodrigo Pereira of Poland were at Camp 3 last week. Allie Pepper of Australia may already be acclimatized after summiting Annapurna.

Finally, news is also expected from Dhaulagiri, where climbers are also on their way up. However, the ropes on that mountain were only fixed until Camp 3. On Makalu, sherpas fixed ropes to the top weeks ago.

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.