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Delays and Uncertainties for Shisha Pangma Expeditions

by thesummiters.com
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This climbing season, Shisha Pangma could attract many climbers, but only if they’re permitted to enter Tibet. Presently, about 50 Nepalese climbers and their international partners are stranded in Nepal, awaiting approval from the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association (CMTA). Unfortunately, the necessary paperwork hasn’t been sorted out yet.
Adding to the uncertainty, recent regulations in China stipulate that climbers must have prior experience before attempting Everest and must use oxygen. These new rules might disrupt the plans of some climbers.”

Permit Processing Delayed

Currently, two teams, Climbalaya and Seven Summit Treks, are gearing up for expeditions to Shisha Pangma. They’ve decided to collaborate on rope fixing, as shared by a representative from Climbalaya to ExplorersWeb.
However, there’s a hold-up in obtaining permits and Tibetan visas, causing a delay. In the meantime, both teams are getting ready by trekking in Langtang.
Climbalaya’s team comprises four clients: two from India, one from the U.S., and the renowned Nepalese climber Dawa Yangzum Sherpa. Dawa Yangzum plans to take on Shisha Pangma after scaling Jugal I and II with Um Hong-gil’s expedition from Korea. If she succeeds in summiting the Tibetan peak, Dawa Yangzum will make history as the first Nepalese woman to conquer all 14×8000’ers.”

Seeking Records Shisha Pangma

While Climbalaya keeps its team small, Seven Summit Treks boasts a large group of climbers aiming to conquer all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters. Many of them are hoping to set national records. Some notable climbers include Adriana Brownlee from the UK, Uta Ibrahimi representing Albania-Kosovo, Naoko Watanabe from Japan, Grace Tseng from Taiwan, Moeses Fiamoncini from Brazil, Afsaneh Hesami Fard from Iran, Arjun Vajpai from India, Adrian Laza from Romania, He Jing from China, Mario Vielmo from Italy, Shehroze Kashif from Pakistan, and Csava Barga from Hungary.

Among the Nepalese climbers heading to Shisha Pangma, Sanu Sherpa will be supporting Naoko Watanabe as usual. Additionally, SST owner Chhang Dawa Sherpa, guide Pasang Nurbu, and the young Nima Rinji are expected to join after completing their expedition to Annapurna.

The team consists of at least 25 members. For some of them, Shisha Pangma marks their final peak in the quest to conquer all 14.

Last autumn, the pursuit of records turned tragic. On October 7, 2023, most of the climbers now embarking on this spring’s Shisha Pangma expedition arrived at Base Camp, only to learn that tragedy had struck, ending the season prematurely. Two separate avalanches claimed the lives of Gina Rudzilo and Anna Gutu, who were competing to become the first American women to summit all the 8,000-meter peaks. Their sherpa guides, Tenjen Lama and Mingmar Sherpa, also lost their lives. As a result, the CTMA closed the mountain for the rest of the year.

Kristin Harila is also planning to travel to Shisha Pangma, although it’s unclear if she still intends to search for the bodies of Tenjen Lama and Gina Marie Ruzidlo. There’s also no update on the second recovery mission led by Nirmal Purja, who previously announced obtaining permission to retrieve the remains of his 2023 client, Anna Gutu, and her sherpa guide from Camp 2.”

Silence Surrounding Oxygen Use

There’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding whether climbers will be permitted to ascend without supplementary oxygen. While some climbers prefer to tackle the peaks without relying on bottled gas, the CTMA has made it clear that oxygen usage is mandatory for all climbers attempting their 8,000-meter climbs this year.

Climbalaya has confirmed that their entire team will adhere to these new regulations. However, Seven Summit Treks has remained silent on the matter, and even those team members who typically opt for oxygen-free climbs are keeping their thoughts to themselves. They face a tough decision: either forfeit their achievements in the no-O2 category or find a way to navigate around the regulations.

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