Ripple Effects of Ukraine: An Uncertain Himalayan Spring, No More Elbrus

Horia Colibasanu, Peter Hamor, and Marius Gane don’t worry much about the unexpected. For the last two years, they traveled to Nepal when COVID was at its peak. Both times, lockdowns trapped them in Kathmandu before they could return home. But for this trio, that’s low-key adventure travel, considering their attempt on Dhaulagiri’s NW Ridge, where they narrowly escaped an avalanche last year.

This year, the three were planning an easier challenge: the normal route up the normal route on Kangchenjunga, without supplemental O2 or personal Sherpa support. The mountain will be particularly busy this year, but that’s not what is giving Romanians Colibasanu and Gane second thoughts.

Romania faces Ukraine to the east, and thousands of refugees are arriving at their border every day. Both worry about how this will play out. And as we stated, they’re not a pair that worries needlessly.

Colibasanu says that he will only commit to Kangchenjunga when he actually steps on the plane on April 5. He hasn’t even bought his ticket yet.

Left to right, Marius Gane, Horia Colibasanu, and Peter Hamor last year in a Kathmandu shop. Photo: Horia Colibasanu

 

Peter Hamor is from Slovakia and hasn’t mentioned any potential change of plans.

As to whether they’ll return to Dhaulagiri NW Ridge again, “it depends if we find a way not to die while climbing it,” Colibasanu remarked.

Horia Colibasanu with Poc, the mascot at Bucharest’s biggest mountain sports store.

Everest expeditions going ahead

Meanwhile, Marc Batard of France is going ahead with his plan to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen during his 70th birthday year. He will still try to follow the new route to Camp 2 that he scouted last fall. Batard also plans to leave for Nepal on April 5.

The team will consist of two father-and-son pairs: Marc Batard and his son Eric, 42, and Pasang Nuru Sherpa and his 26-year-old son.

Pasang Nuru Sherpa and Marc Batard in Everest Base Camp. Photo: Natalie Lamoreux

 

Commercial outfitters are all forging ahead with their Everest plans. Asian Trekking of Nepal, Madison Mountaineering of the U.S., and Furtenbach Adventures of Austria have reported no cancellations, although none of them had clients from Ukraine or Russia.

“I see the spring season happening, with lower numbers,” Lukas Furtenbach told ExplorersWeb.

Elbrus access an issue for Seven Summit climbers

While Garrett Madison has had no dropouts, he notes that his company won’t lead any further trips to Mt. Elbrus.

Elbrus’ twin summits from the high huts, September 2021. Photo: Madison Mountaineering

 

The so-called roof of Europe at 5,642m, located in southern Russia, Elbrus will likely be off Seven Summits destinations list for a while. Adrian Ballinger of Alpenglow expeditions has also confirmed he will not set foot on Elbrus after “Russia‚Äôs leader has chosen a brutal path and war against a sovereign country,” he posted today on social media.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments