Spring 2017 Wrap Up: Highlights of Pre-Monsoon Climbing Season

Spring climbing season in Himalayas comes to an end. It can be termed a “normal season” with success stories accompanied by usual bit of drama and controversies. There were particularly fewer climbers on some mountains, while majority of summits had been achieved on Everest and Dhaulagiri. Success on Annapurna deems a special mention, though. Last but not the least, at least four climbers joined the 14x8000ers club - two of them without supplemental oxygen.



Everest
Kilian Jornet’s two speed ascents were perhaps the highlight of Everest season, this year. Whereas Horia Colibasanu, Hans Wenzl and Adrian Ballinger also summited without supplemental oxygen. Spaniard Ferran Latorre went for a no O2 ascent but had to use oxygen due to adverse conditions. It was his fourteenth eight-thousander.
Around a dozen other climbers including Nobukazu Kuriki, Yannick Graziani, Richard Hidalgo, Ralf Dujmovits, Justin Ionescu, Cory Richards, Elisabeth Revol and Niel Markwere were not so fortunate with their no O2 attempts. Ueli Steck and Vlad Strba unfortunately lost their lives during the quest.

Kangchenjunga
The third highest peak on earth remained unclimbed this year. Climbers had a good chance to reach the summit on May 16th but they ran short of ropes at around 8000m. Everyone thus turned back. Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger’s Kangchenjunga traverse expedition also ended without success.

Lhotse
Iranian climber Azim Gheychisaz summited Lhotse without supplemental oxygen on May 19th; his 13th (or 14th, someone might say) eight-thousander without bottled oxygen. The dispute is because of Manaslu summit of 2012 where he stood a few meters below summit.
Elisabeth Revol summited Lhotse without O2 on May 20th. Her ascent was preceded by Makalu summit-bid till Foresummit and followed by an Everest no O2 attempt. Pole Rafał Fronia also topped Lhotse without bottled oxygen.

Makalu
Six climbers claimed to have reached the summit of Makalu, this season. These ascents are yet to be confirmed, though. Earlier, during first summit push on the mountain, around two dozen climbers turned back from Foresummit or below. Nevertheless, few of them incorrectly reported that they made it to the top. Those claims were quickly refuted, though.
After successful ascent of Dhaulagiri, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Ngatasi Sherpa and Liu Yongzhong reportedly reached the summit on May 11th. Three climbers including Nepalese Nirmal Purja claimed to have summited on June 1st.

Cho Oyu
Unlike some other seasons, there was just one commercial expedition and a couple of independent climbers on Cho Oyu this spring. The normal route was said to be in difficult condition.
Kilian Jornet climbed near to the Cho Oyu summit for acclimatization before Everest speed ascents. The Spaniard, however, couldn’t confirm whether he reached the top or not due to poor visibility. A few weeks later, Adventure Peaks team called off the summit attempt at C2.

Dhaulagiri
It has been quite a successful season on Dhaulagiri with around 40 summits. First climbers reached the top on April 30th - which were also first eight-thousander summits of the season. However, bad weather delayed further attempts till mid-May. Slovaks Peter Hamor and Michal Sabovcik topped out on May 15th. It was Peter’s fourteenth eight-thousander.
More than 30 climbers summited Dhaulagiri in following week. 78 years old Spaniard Carlos Soria, however, had to abandon his summit push at 7700m. He was weakened by a stomach problems during summit-bid.

Annapurna
Overall a good season on dangerous slopes of Annapurna. There were around a dozen climbers on the mountain this year. After early departure of some climbers, only six remained to attempt the French route. All six of them, Nives Meroi, Romano Bennet, Alberto Zerain, Jonatan Garcia, Juan Pablo Mohr and Sebastián Rojas, made it to summit on May 11th. It was14th eight-thousander for both Nives and Romano - all without supplemental oxygen.
Rick Allen, Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg acclimatized on Tilicho Peak, reaching summit in first week of May. However, their Annapurna Northwest Face attempt was cut short by continued bad weather.

Shisha Pangma
David Gottler and Herve Barmasse were only climbers on Shisha Pangma this season. They planned to open a new route on South Face of the mountain in light and fast style. However, because of continual bad weather, they couldn’t complete the new line. In one of the attempts, they climbed the face but turned back just 10m below the top. The delicate traverse in final section was deemed too dangerous to climb.
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