No Go on Everest, and a Last Gasp on Dhaulagiri

Csaba Varga aborted his summit bid on Dhaulagiri on Friday. “Snow kept falling, and it was so deep that I could only manage to advance 30 metres in one hour,” he said from back in Base Camp. However, Varga hasn’t given up all hope: A new, last-chance summit push has just begun, and he may have recovered enough over the weekend to join it.

Csaba Varga on a snow-loaded Dhaulagiri. Photo: Kalifa Alpine


Carlos Soria confirmed that he is heading to Camp 1 tomorrow, aiming to summit on October 11.

Dhaulagiri is the last of Nepal’s 8,000’ers still hosting some climbing. On Everest, the serac poised over the Khumbu Icefall remains in place, and Garrett Madison has run out of time. “Even if the serac came down…and we had perfect weather and route conditions, it would take us over two weeks beyond our original end date to climb the mountain,” he said, before closing down the expedition.

Kilian Jornet is also signing off from Everest after reaching a respectable 8,300m on a bold solo attempt on a new route — a variant of a 1980s Polish line — before turning back because of avalanche danger.

“The weather has been very challenging, with lots of snow,” Jornet said. “I had some climbing projects in mind, but in the end, none of them was possible. But even without a summit, the experience of a very light expedition, being alone in the mountain and able to check some cool possibilities has been a very interesting and powerful experience.”

Kilian Jornet’s crampons point at Lhotse from high on Everest. Photo: Kilian Jornet


The Russian team on Manaslu did not fare any better. After reaching Camp 3, Valery Myasoedov and his group went down to the village of Samagaon for some rest and recovery. When they returned to Base Camp, they saw several local people coming from the mountain loaded with ropes, tents and gear. Later, while trying to reach Camp 1, Myasoedov discovered that all fixed ropes had been cut and a ladder that previously bridged a huge crevasse was missing. With no equipment to re-fix the route and no other teams around, they had to call the expedition off.

Shishapangma, the only 8,000’er located entirely in Tibet, remains a focus of attention. Will Nirmal Purja obtain the special climbing permit that China seems to have promised him? The biggest news of the Himalayan season may well be the last. Stay tuned.

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Close Call on Dhaulagiri