Spring Successes: The 2018 Himalaya Season So Far

Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse as seen from Pumori. Photo: Everest Expedition

The jet stream has finally moved on from the Himalaya, resulting in a flurry of summits. Fixed ropes have been completed on both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides of Everest, and the weather on both Kanchenjunga and Shishapangma is clearing.

Thanks to these improved conditions, a number of commercial expeditions have reached the summits of Lhotse and Everest over the last few days, with more to come. Kanchenjunga and Dhaulagiri bids are also underway, but changeable weather could slow their progress. Let’s recap the major summits so far:

First 8,000m peak of the Season

Mingma G Sherpa and the Lhotse summit team. Photo: Mingma G Sherpa

A team from Imagine Treks and Expeditions, led by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, had the honour of bagging the first 8,000m peak of the season. Four Sherpas and two clients made it to Lhotse’s 8,516m summit on April 29.

Ropes Fixed on Everest

Sherpa climbing between Camps 1 and 2 on Everest. Photo: Matador Network

The first summits on both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides of Everest were completed by teams of Sherpa working to prepare the fixed ropes. A team of eight climbing Sherpas topped out from the Nepal side on May 13, while a second team arrived via Tibet on May 14.

Steve Plain: 7 Summits in Record Time

Steve Plain completed his 7 summits challenge in just 117 days. Photo: Steve Plain

In the early morning of May 14, Australian Steve Plain arrived at the summit of Everest along with Jon Gupta and Pemba Sherpa. For Plain, Everest marked the last of his Seven Summits quest. He completed all seven in just 117 days, easily breaking the previous record of 126 days set by Polish climber Janusz Kochanski.

Double Amputee Xia Boyu Summits Everest

Xia Boyu has reached the summit of Everest on his sixth attempt. Photo: Everest Today

Xia Boyu returned to Everest for his sixth crack at the summit, 43 years after his first had led to the amputation of both feet. The 70-year-old double amputee was nearly unable to climb due to controversial new Nepalese regulations introduced last fall prohibiting double amputees, solo climbers and the blind from climbing Everest. The regulations were eventually revoked and Xia Boyu reached the summit on March 14 with a team from Imagine Treks and Expeditions.

Oldest Climber Scales Lhotse

Matsumoto Tatsuo. Photo: Rishi Bhandari

On May 15, Japanese climber Matsumoto Tatsuo became the oldest person to scale Lhotse. The 79-year-old reached the summit as part of a 14-member expedition run by Satori Adventures and led by Canadian climber Jette Caroline.


About the Author

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a freelance writer and wildlife photographer based in Da Lat, Vietnam.

A history graduate from the University of Nottingham, Martin's career arc is something of a smörgåsbord. A largely unsuccessful basketball coach in Zimbabwe and the Indian Himalaya, a reluctant business lobbyist in London, and an interior design project manager in Saigon.

He has been fortunate enough to see some of the world. Highlights include tracking tigers on foot in Nepal, white-water rafting the Nile, bumbling his way from London to Istanbul on a bicycle, feeding wild hyenas with his face in Ethiopia, and accidentally interviewing Hezbollah in Lebanon.

His areas of expertise include adventure travel, hiking, wildlife, and half-forgotten early 2000s indie-rock bands.

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