Good Weather Returns to Nepal, Summits Pending on Pumori, Makalu

Sunshine has finally come to the Himalaya, and summit pushes are in the offing on several peaks. Before the recent snows, Everest teams were able to acclimatize up to Camp 2 (and day climbs to Camp 3). This was impossible on other peaks such as Dhaulagiri, because of the avalanche risk.

Everest's West Shoulder and Nuptse in a perfect, cloudless day, with BC tents spread on the rocky glacier below

Everest Base Camp today: clear and calm. Photo: Furtenbach Adventures


Many oxygen-assisted Everest climbers have already begun heading up to higher camps. Several others, still in Base Camp, are also acclimatized and ready to go. Long-range forecasts show a short weather window between May 13 and 15. This prospect is stirring activity throughout the huge Base Camp.

However, the fixed ropes are not yet in place. Several times, bad weather on the upper part of Everest has delayed Imagine Nepal’s fixing team. The route needs fixing from Camp 4 to the summit. It is likely that when the fixing team gets going, several climbers will be right behind them.

However, this first summit window comes too early for the no-O2 climbers. They need at least another acclimatization round before their final push.

Stefi with a woolen camp , pink lips and colorful clothes inside a yellow tent.

Stefi Troguet in her tent. Photo: Instagram


Good omens

On the other side of the Khumbu Glacier, summit news may come even earlier. Asian Trekking’s Pumori team is aiming for the summit on Sunday. Naga Dorjee Sherpa (Khumjung), Mingma Tenzing Sherpa (Khumjung), and Nima Tenzing Sherpa (Thame) of Asian Trekking, together with Phurba Namgya Sherpa (Khumjung) and Rita Dorjee Sherpa of Mountain Experience have already fixed to the col (Camp 2). Chang Dorjee (Sankhuwasabha) of Pioneer Adventure supported them.

Adrian Hayes of the UK and Aliki Anastapolou of Greece are also in Pumori’s high camp. Asian Trekking leader Dawa Steven Sherpa will leave Everest Base Camp tomorrow and catch up with the rest of the team on Pumori.

Pumori under a deep blue night sky and the full moon. Some prayer flags hang below.

Pumori from Everest Base Camp, as night falls and a full moon rises.


“It’s a full moon tonight and it’s also Buddha Jayanti [Buddha’s birthday],” Dawa Steven told ExplorersWeb. “Pumori is the only mountain that’s lit up right now because the moon is shining like a spotlight between the west shoulder and Nuptse. It’s a good omen.”

The climbers can well use some positive vibes because the way to the summit will not be easy. The photo below, taken by helicopter pilot Claudio Mittner for Dawa Steven, shows the many crevasses that climbers will need to thread their way around.

Pumori's summit "meringe", completely covered in ice and snow and featuring seracs and crevasses .

The upper part of Pumori features huge crevasses. Photo: Claudio Mittner


Eyes on Makalu

Makalu climbers are also ready to launch a summit push in the next few days. The rope fixers will try to get to the top this weekend. However, the good weather is taking longer to reach this peak. The 7 Summits Club team says that wind and snow have delayed for at least 24 hours the acclimatization round that their climbers had hoped to start today.

Mist hangs above the BC tents, covering the mountain's flank behind them.

Clouds continue to hang around Makalu’s Base Camp. Photo: 7 Summits Club


Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism has issued permits for seven teams on Makalu, totaling 58 foreign climbers. The biggest, outfitted by Seven Summit Treks, includes recent Annapurna summiter Sajid Sadpara of Pakistan. There was also a powerful team from the Russian 7 Summits Club. It included Israfil Ashurli of Azerbaijan and Piolet d’Or recipient Valeri Babanov of Russia.

Kristin Harila

After Shishapangma and Cho Oyu, Kristin Harila of Norway is back in Nepal, planning her next summit. Likely, it will be one she can summit quickly since she intends to re-climb all the 14 8,000’ers in six months.

Meanwhile, climbing partner Viridiana Alvarez of Mexico remains on Cho Oyu, hoping to summit despite a twisted ankle. On her latest InReach text earlier today, she wrote that she and her Sherpa team were waiting for the wind would drop in order to move up to Camp 2.

On Dhaulagiri, climbers are seeing the sun for the first time in many days. So far, only a small group comprising Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Pereira of Poland, Uta Ibrahini from Kosovo, and three unidentified Sherpas reached Camp 2 last week. But with the better weather, they expect to resume their upward progress soon.

a tent semi-buried in fresh snow, under a deep blue sky.

Camp 2 on Dhaulagiri. Photo: Uta Ibrahini


Tough going for trekkers

The season has been difficult for trekkers in Nepal. In addition to the confusing regulations banning independent trekkers, they have had to deal with bad weather.

“The weather has been dreadful so far this spring, with unstable weather since April 20,” Roland Hunter told ExplorersWeb. “There is too much snow to cross most remote passes. My roommate, ultrarunner Lizzy Hawker, messaged to say that she cannot cross passes into Dolpo because the snow gets down to 3,500m. That has never happened before. Usually, passes under 5,000m are free of snow in May.”

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.