Two Surprises: A Kangchenjunga Summit, and an Attempt on Cho Oyu

As we mentioned yesterday, commercial teams returned to Base Camp on Kangchenjunga after a failed summit push. But there was still a chance for a skilled team willing to climb from Camp 4 without previously fixed ropes. Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Pereira of Poland seized the occasion and reached the top this morning.

“Polish summited: no fixing needed and no sherpas, just themselves,” Uta Ibrahimi texted via InReach from Base Camp today. “It’s something to congratulate them, and also to reflect.”

Ibrahimi has climbed with commercial groups but also attempted the South Face of Lhotse in a big international team led by Hong Sung-taek of South Korea. Her reflections probably have to do with the fact that not long ago, climbers didn’t expect the entire route on an 8,000’er nicely fixed for them ahead of time.

The Polish summiters should post details of their climb when they return to Base Camp and find a Wifi connection. Then we will learn whether Ziemski successfully skied down, as he planned.

Another summit coming?

The commercial climbers on the mountain remain unsure what will happen next. Ibrahimi wrote that there is a lot of planning going on in Base Camp. In addition to the clients, 18-year-old Nima Rinji Sherpa has arrived in the next step of his quest to become the youngest 14×8,000m summiter. He is also the son of Seven Summit Treks’ owner Tashi Lakpa Sherpa.

Naoko Watanabe of Japan posted news of Nima’s presence. “Makpa (Passan Nurbu Sherpa), who is with Nima, also said the other day he was going to go alpine style,” wrote Watanabe on X. “But he is still in Base Camp, either because his father stopped him or because he thought it was too dangerous.”

Cho Oyu from Nepal

The Japanese climber has also revealed that a commercial team hopes to summit the south side of Cho Oyu via the difficult South Face. They will likely attempt the SSW Ridge, which has never been completely climbed.

“A message from Camp 2 on the Nepal side from a sherpa reads: ‘We plan to summit the day after tomorrow, May 30,’ ” Watanabe wrote.

Naoko Watanabe is pursuing her 14×8,000m list and has only Shisha Pangma to go. She was one of the Seven Summit Treks group hoping to do the Tibetan peak this spring, but China decided to keep the peak closed. Watanabe recently climbed Lobuche East and is currently in Kathmandu.

Watanabe with cap and sunglasses, Pumoti in background

Naoko Watanabe at Everest Base Camp some days ago. Photo: Naoko Watanabe/Instagram

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.