Skiing Makalu, Paragliding Everest: Glimpses of the Season Ahead

The climbing is primed to begin, especially on central Nepal’s 8,000’ers, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Some are planning to bag these slightly lower peaks in preparation for the higher ones: Kangchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu.

Skiing down Makalu

Makalu, the so-called “Big Black”, is one of the main attractions this season. Confirmed no-O2 attempts include Carla Perez, Nicolas Miranda, and Adrian Ballinger.

Ballinger, founder and head guide at Alpenglow Expeditions, will also try to ski down from the summit. The video below documents his previous attempt in 2015.

Dhaulagiri and Annapurna

The rope fixing is progressing quickly on Dhaulagiri, led by Mingma G’s Imagine Nepal team. Yesterday, the Sherpa fixers spent the night in a fully established Camp 2, which they set lower than usual. Today, the plan was to deposit loads at the future site of Camp 3, then hurry back to Base Camp.

If the weather cooperates, the Sherpa forerunners might even summit on their next rotation. According to Mingma G, the peak is a bit windy but in otherwise perfect condition.

Climbers, meanwhile, are expected to arrive at Dhaulagiri Base Camp over the next few days. Among them is never-say-die veteran Carlos Soria. The 83-year-old is making his 12th(?) attempt on a mountain that has eluded him lo these many years.

On Annapurna, climbers are settling down in Base Camp. Lakpa Sherpa of 8K Expeditions expects a summit push by the third week of April. His crew of nine, with six clients, is helping fix the ropes.

Base Camp on Annapurna’s north side. Photo: Dolma Outdoor


Grace Tseng is also at Annapurna Base Camp. She is again the only client on the Dolma Outdoor Expedition team. This time, the Taiwanese climber says that she will not use supplemental O2. She reportedly didn’t use it on winter K2, when she spent four days stuck in Camp 3. At just 8,091m, Annapurna I is traditionally climbed without oxygen, but its use is more common in recent years.

Also on her way to Annapurna is Adrianna Brownlee, the 21-year-old Brit who aims to climb four peaks above 8,000m this season. Check a previous story for more on those aiming to do multiple peaks this season.

Paragliding Everest

Everest Base Camp is still fairly quiet since most expeditions will first acclimatize by trekking in Nepal or by climbing lesser peaks. Quiet doesn’t mean empty, though. Workers are busy toting in supplies, and the Icefall Doctors have finished their main task: the route to Camp 2 is open. They will remain throughout the season to repair the Icefall route as necessary. But from Camp 2, Seven Summit Treks Sherpas will take the lead, fixing toward the summit.

Icefall Doctors fix the route between Everest Base Camp and Camp 2. Photo: SPCC


All teams traversing the Icefall — in other words, everyone bound for Everest and Lhotse’s shared Camp 2, as well as Nuptse — must pay a fee established by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee.

After/if he summits Everest, Ken Hutt of Australia will attempt to paraglide down from 8,850m. He will not be the first, but at 62, Hutt figures that he will be the oldest.

We haven’t heard whether any climbers intend to attempt Everest without oxygen, but Szilard Suhajda of Hungary says that he will tackle Lhotse sans O2, Laszlo Pinter reports.

Demands for ban on Russian climbers

The Ukrainian embassy in Delhi has sent an official request to the Nepali embassy, asking Nepal to issue no climbing permits to Russian teams as long as the invasion continues, the BBC reported. Nepal has not responded, and permits are being issued to the Russians intending to climb this spring. “We believe our mountains are global assets and any country’s citizens willing to visit them…should be allowed to do so,” a spokesperson for Nepal’s Department of Tourism said.

So far, one Russian is climbing Annapurna I (8,091m) while eight others have permits for peaks below 6,500m. In addition, Alex Abramov’s 7 Summit Club has a trekking group in the Annapurna region and a team for Everest and Lhotse.