Spring 2017: Annapurna, Everest Summits, No Success on Makalu

Spring climbing season will end in around two weeks and it’s time for the summit attempts. Despite all the difficulties and dangers, summit have been achieved on Annapurna. Everest Northside rope-fixers made it to the top as well. Kilian Jornet was somewhere near Cho Oyu summit. While Makalu climbers narrowly missed the top. Everest Southside, Dhaulagiri, Shisha Pangma and Kangchenjunga - all wait for a weather window.

Annapurna Summits
Six climbers reached the summit of Annapurna on May 11th, where Italian couple Nives Meroi and Romano Bennet completed the 14x8000ers without supplemental oxygen quest. They were accompanied by Spaniards Alberto Zerain and Jonatan García, and two Chilean climbers, Juan Pablo Mohr and Sebastián Rojas. Mohr and Rojas are first Chileans to summit Annapurna. After early departure of a few climbers, they were the only six climbers on the mountain this year.

The conditions on Annapurna had been tough throughout the season. The climbers were not able to acclimatize or set up camps beyond C2. It was only during summit attempt that they went up the route. The climbers faced snow, cold and wind during summit push as well.

After leaving BC on May 7th, the team progressed slowly. They were on French route, which has a great risk of serac fall and avalanches. Due to a huge crevasse opened up in upper sections, they couldn’t climb relatively less hazardous Dutch route. Nonetheless, by May 10th evening, they were in C3 (7100m) ready to launch the final summit push. Following day, they made it to the top after a 10hr ascent.

Meanwhile, Rick Allen, Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg summited Tilicho Peak in first week of May. Louis Rousseau had to return home due to personal commitments. The three climbers are now on Annapurna.

Dhaulagiri
The mountain witnessed first summits of the season when two Chinese climbers and three Sherpa reached the top on April 30th. However, several other climbers have completed acclimatization and are waiting for summit window. Continuous snow and wind have damaged some tents in C2 and affected the acclimatization schedule of a few teams.

Dhaulagiri climbers this season include Slovak team led by Peter Hamor, it will be his 14th eight thousander, Spaniard Carlos Soria, Italians Mario and Marco, Adventure Consultants expedition and an Indian national team.

Shisha Pangma
Hervé Barmasse and David.Goettler wait for stable weather to launch the new route attempt on Shisha Pangma South Face. Last week, they spent multiple nights at 6100m and 6900m to conclude the acclimatization.

“The solitude here is immense. It feels to me as if we are two tiny lost ants moving around in a universe solely composed of snow, rock, wind, cold and sun. It may sound harsh, but we enjoy every moment,” David wrote in his message yesterday. They are the only climbers on this side of mountain.

Makalu Summit Attempt
A big summit attempt on Makalu failed earlier this week, when around 20 climbers turned back near False Summit. They apparently did not have rope to fix the exposed final section to Main Summit.
“Summit push collapsed at an altitude of 8000m - low temp. No feeling in your toes (we climb without O2) - frostbite guaranteed!” Pawel Michalski wrote on Facebook.

Earlier, Thomas Lammle decided to retreat from C3 on May 9th due to unstable weather. “Weather situation is too unstable and ropes are only fixed to camp 4. Charlie’s (Karl Gabl) suggestion for me: Thomas go down! At least a good acclimatization. Try reach ABC.”

Cho Oyu
Kilian Jornet have completed the acclimatization on Cho Oyu and is heading towards Everest BC for his speed attempt. He launched Cho Oyu summit push on May 7th and reached a high point - close to the summit - if not the summit itself.

On 7th, Jornet and his partner Emelie started the push from ABC. They reached 7500m and waited for sunshine. However, amidst deteriorating weather Emelie decided to turn back near Yellow Band (7.700m). Jornet continued.

“Around 8.000m, it started to snow heavily, and I continued from the last rocky section to the summit plateau. I continued climbing without any visibility towards what I thought would be the summit. The summit of Cho Oyu is not a shaped one, so at some point I reached something that would be the summit. Honestly, I am not sure that this was the summit as I could only see my feet, but I was at some point around.”

The only other team on Cho Oyu, Adventure Peaks Expedition, is still acclimatizing and stocking C1 and C2. Their progress is slowed by complicated route conditions this season.

Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga climbers have spent nights in C3 (6900m) and are now resting in Base Camp. They await the weather window to go for the summit.

Everest
Everest Northside rope-fixing team made it to the summit, yesterday (May 11th). It’s reported that Chinese team fixed the route till C3 (8300m), whereas nine Sherpa from a Nepalese agency completed the rest.

On Nepal side, though, bad weather continues to hamper the summit push plans.
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