Summits on Dhaulagiri and Cho Oyu, Alpine Style on Makalu

Nepal’s mountains are experiencing the longest spell of good weather that anyone can remember, and commercial teams are taking full advantage. Today, the rope fixers and a large number of clients and guides summited Dhaulagiri.

In Tibet, international expeditions have likewise summited Cho Oyu. Meanwhile, a Russian team is about to attempt the difficult south side.

On Makalu, four young climbers from Australia and New Zealand must feel like they’ve traveled back in time. They have the 8,481m Great Black all to themselves — no ropes, no oxygen, no company.


Members of this quiet Makalu team are Matthew Scholes and Matthew Clark from Australia, and Alastair McDowell and Hamish Fleming of New Zealand.

the team pose in front of Nepal's DoT with a banner featuring the expedition.

The Australia-New Zealand team before leaving for Makalu. Photo: Makalu Adventure


Scholes showed his ability last year as part of a team that did the first repetition of the amazing Tasker-Boardman route on Changabang. ExplorersWeb considered their climb one of the best expeditions of 2022.

McDowell and Fleming climb mainly at home in New Zealand. The pair also starred in the film Enchainment, where they climbed all their country’s 3,000m peaks in one push, traveling self-propelled between them. (The film is online here).

On Makalu, they are climbing the normal route, but self-sufficiently: no sherpas, no ropes (unless they decide to use some old ones), no trail, and no bottled oxygen. According to team outfitter Makalu Adventure, they have reached Camp 2.


Dhaulagiri’s summits have come right after most clients — many already acclimatized from Manaslu or other peaks — flew into Base Camp. The rope-fixing team reached the summit today, with all the expeditions on the mountain close behind. Seven Summit Treks, 8K Expedition, and EliteExped all reportedly summited. Nirmal Purja and Moeses Fiamoncini reportedly summited no-O2.

Dhaulagiri covered in snow, on a sunny day.

Dhaulagiri. Photo: Seven Summit Treks


The Russian expedition led by Roman Abildaev trekked rather than flew to Base Camp. They did a first acclimatization trip to 6,050m today and will spend the night there. They will climb the normal route but without high-altitude sherpas or O2.

The Russians reported cloudy weather. Western Nepal, including Dhaulagiri, is more affected by the retreating monsoon than elsewhere in the country.

Tracker showing the climber's location on a map of Dhulagii area.

The tracker shows the location of Roman Abildaev and the Russians on Dhaulagiri today. Shared by RussianClimb


Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu has two faces, and not only in a geographical sense. While information from Tibet is scarce, Climbalaya Expedition has reported the first summits today on the normal route. Today’s pictures show that the weather on the north side of Cho Oyu is as good as on Nepal’s peaks.

Yellow tents on rocky ground and Cho Oyu in background behind.

Cho Oyu Base Camp, Tibet. Photo: Climbalaya


“Today at 12:25 pm, Kiran Baniya and Kami Rita Sherpa from Climbalaya and three guides from Tibet Himalaya Expeditions stood on the summit to make way for the rest of the climbers to follow,” the company wrote on social media. [Note: The Kami Rita who summited Cho Oyu is not the same record-breaking Kami Rita who summited Manaslu, his 42nd 8,000m peak, two days ago.]

A second Russian team, led by Andrei Vasiliev, aims for the extremely difficult SSW Ridge on the southern, Nepalese side of the mountain. They have just reached Gokyo after trekking from Lukla, the Russian Alpine Federation announced.


So far, we have seen no posts from climbers in Tibet, where internet connections are extremely expensive. Yet Italian Mario Vielmo keeps in touch with his home team over InReach. He told his family that he is in Advanced Base Camp, with only four other clients and five sherpas on the mountain.

the climbers pose in front of a big building marking the border.

Sebastiano Valentini and Mario Vielmo on the Tibetan side of the border last week. Photo: S. Valentini/Instagram


They will have more company after the climbers planning to do both Tibetan peaks finish with Cho Oyu.


On Manaslu, camps are being dismantled. Only Asian Trekking has a last-minute group attempting to summit tonight, but they will be done by the end of the weekend.

“We are the very last team,” expedition leader Dawa Steven Sherpa told ExplorersWeb.

Although he grew up in the Khumbu and has led dozens of expeditions, Dawa Steven had never seen a season with weather as good as this for so long. “Neither I nor anyone else has seen something like this.”

a big full moon lightens up the sky, as a few tents shine on the ground in darkness.

Manaslu today under the full moon, with only a few tents still occupied. Photo: Dawa Steven Sherpa/Asian Trekking


The long spell of summer weather is about to end, according to forecasts. Conditions are expected to worsen by October 1.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She 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 local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.