(MountEverest.net) It was expected to become the first 8000er “conquered” by man. But in 1950 French pioneers decided that Dhaulagiri was impossible to climb.
Top 4 reasons to fear the White Mountain
Even on this 50th anniversary, few teams are expected to celebrate the first ascent of the White Mountain, the seventh highest peak in the world. The climb remains tricky and dangerous. Main fears are:
1. A broken glacier at the foot of the mountain with loads of fresh snow covering crevasses. Piotr Morawski fell to his death in one of them last spring.
2. Upper traverses on hard ice. Mostly unfixed (large teams are not so common on Dhaula), they allow no mistakes.
3. A long summit ridge with no clear top. Controversial summit claims occur almost every year. A big Korean team led by highly experienced Sherpas in 2005 was just one issue. Nives Meroi and Romano Benet, who actually climbed above the Koreans that time returned to the mountain the following year and traversed the entire ridge just to make sure.
4. Overall exposure to major snow storms and high avalanche risk. Located in central Nepal, Dhaulagiri is separated from Annapurna by the deep Kali Gandaki gorge. Like Annapurna and Manaslu; Dhaulagiri is prone to deep snow and avalanches from its upper sections can reach long distances. Three years ago Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner survived an avalanche which buried her tent and killed two other climbers. Ginette Harrison and Chantal Maudit were both lost in avalanches on the mountain.
Plenty to do for the bold
Dhaulagiri holds a fatality rate remarkably higher than Everest and has claimed many top climbers with numbers added almost every year. Only a handful made the summit last spring, while the two fall expeditions were unable to get even close to the top.
There are several partial ski-descents but Dhaulagiri still awaits its fist complete sky-run.
The south and west faces sport 4,000 meters drops and the south face is waiting for someone bold enough to surpass Tomaz Humar’s footprints: the Slovenian climber, recently perished on Langtang Lirung, astonished the climbing community with a solo climb there in 1999 that however didn’t reach the top.
Dhaulagiri was first climbed in 1960 by a Swiss/Austrian team led by Max Eiselin. Kurt Diemberger (in his second 8000er first ascent!), Peter Diener, Ernst Forrer, Albin Schelbert, Nyima Dorji and Nawang Dorji summited May 13 via the NE ridge, which has since become the normal route.
Other firsts included Japanese Takashi Amemiya who, in his second attempt, bagged the fist ascent via the southwest ridge in spring 1978 but lost a team mate.
Czech/Slovak trio Simon, Jakes, and Stejskal opened the west face in 1984; Simon perished on descent.
The first winter climb was achieved on January 21, 1985. The Polish ascent was led by Jerzy Kukuczka.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Travel Tagged: | Climbers, Dhaulagiri, Expedition, French pioneers, Hiamalaya, Jerzy Kukuczka, Kali Gandaki, Nepal, Piotr Morawski, Travel, White Mountain, winter climb