Progress on Annapurna, First Arrivals at Kangchenjunga

Progress is swift on Annapurna, where some of the earlier birds of the season are already on their last rotation before the summit push. For example, Adrianna Brownlee of the UK, who expects to climb four 8,000m peaks this spring, was already in Camp 1. She was to head to Camp 3 yesterday.

Adrianna Brownlee at Annapurna Base Camp. Photo: Adrianna Brownlee


Although the number of climbing permits are beginning to add up, figures are still much lower than in previous years. As of yesterday, the Department of Tourism had issued 252 permits, including 85 for Everest. An Everest permit in Nepal costs $11,000.

Marco Confortola has just landed in Kathmandu, bound for Kangchenjunga. He will then use his acquired acclimatization for an early go at Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. The Italian mountain guide is pursuing the 14×8,000’ers without supplementary O2.

Marco Confortola on top of the Grand Zebru in the Italian Alps some days ago. Photo: Marco Confortola

Kangchenjunga’s first arrivals

Pakistani Sirbaz Khan and his friend and Base Camp manager Saad Munawar reached Kangchenjunga Base Camp at 5,500m today. Like seemingly everyone these days, Khan is aiming to climb all 14×8,000’ers. Unlike most, he usually shares the rope-fixing duties. This time, he will help set up the route with Seven Summit Treks. He has also climbed all nine of his 8,000’ers without supplemental oxygen. Khan intends to do the same on 8,586m Kangchenjunga.

Sirbaz Khan (left) and BC manager Saad Munawar earlier today in Kangchenjunga Base Camp. Photo: Sirbaz Khan


The pair had foggy conditions on their approach trek. They will rest for a day or two and hope for better weather to begin their partial rotations up the mountain.

News is expected soon from Hong Sun-Taek, about to start his seventh attempt on the South Face of Lhotse. He confirmed to ExWeb’s @KrisAnnapurna that he will again team up with Spain’s Jorge Egocheaga.

Goodbye to Little Karim

Meanwhile, the climbing community mourns the passing of Abdul Karim, known as Little Karim, of Pakistan’s Hushe Valley. If we were to judge him only to his summit score — Gasherbrum II — there would be not much to say. But generations of climbers interacted with him and he starred in several documentaries.

Karim was very short and endured several rejections when he started asking for a job as a porter in 1976. But a Swiss team short of porters for Broad Peak finally gave him a chance. He quickly proved his amazing strength, reliability, and humanity. Soon, Karim was a regular on many of the expeditions that made climbing history in the 1980s.

Abbas Ali recalls how, on that first expedition, Karim carried a 25kg pack to Camp 4 on Broad Peak when no one else could. Karim never used supplementary O2 in his life. For starters, he never learned how to use it.

Abdul “Little” Karim. Photo: The Karakoram Club


Spanish expedition leader Sebastian Alvaro, who counted on Karim during all his Karakoram expeditions over many years, wrote a book about him. He considered Karim the best climber in Pakistan. After retiring, Karim raised funds for charity projects in Pakistan’s mountain areas.