Bad weather forces Spanish climber, 82, to abandon Dhaulagiri expedition

Kathmandu, May 18 (EFE).- Spanish climber Carlos Soria, aiming to become the oldest person to climb the world’s 14 highest mountains, returned to Kathmandu Tuesday after abandoning his expedition to Mt Dhaulagiri due to bad weather.

It would have been the 82-year-old Spaniard’s 11th attempt to climb world’s seventh highest peak (8,167 meters), with the first expedition dating back to 1998.

Although he failed to complete the climb at the time, he has not stopped trying since then.

“We left the Dhaulagiri behind. Once again, we’ve said goodbye to him (Dhaulagiri), feeling like seeing each other again soon,” Soria said in a Facebook post.

He also referred to the growing Covid-19 surge in Nepal, which has led to a series of mountaineering expeditions, including Everest missions, being canceled.

“We are very concerned about the development of the disease in Nepal. The situation is terrible and the perspectives are unwilling. We hope everything gets better soon in this country we love so much,” he said.

Soria has to summit just two more mountains – Dhaulagiri in Nepal and Shishapangma in China – to claim the title of being the oldest person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders: the world’s 14 tallest peaks with heights over 8,000 meters.

His expedition organizer Seven Summit Treks said the weather forecast was unfavorable for climbing the mountains in Nepal’s far west until next week.

Mingma Sherpa, the chairperson of Seven Summit Treks, told EFE that the last 15-member team in the Dhaulagiri base camp wrapped up their mission on Monday.

The Department of Tourism had issued 33 climbing permits for Dhaulagiri this spring season.

However, around 100 people at the base camp, including guides and support staff, returned to Kathmandu two weeks ago due to a Covid outbreak at the site.

“Carlos and his team, who had carried Covid-19 testing kits with them, decided to continue as they were not infected with the virus,” said Sherpa.

“But the weather did not favor them.”

The bad weather is set to continue until May 25, and the need to fix climbing ropes on the mountain, which takes a couple of days, ahead of pre-monsoon rains led to the expedition being canceled.

Soria, who has been climbing mountains since 14, is the only mountaineer to have scaled 10 eight-thousanders after turning 60.

His first eight-thousander was Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat (8,125 meters), which he climbed in 1990 at the age of 51, followed by Gasherbrum II (8,035 m), also in Pakistan, which he scaled in 1994.

His most recent ascent was in Nepal in 2016, when he climbed Annapurna (8,091 m), considered one of the most dangerous peaks.

Carlos arrived in Nepal on Mar. 30 and spent 12 days acclimatizing to the Everest region.

“If I manage to climb Dhaulagiri this time, my plan will be climbing Shishapangma in the autumn this year,” Carlos told EFE in Kathmandu on April 15.

“For people like us, there is little time. Time is running (out),” he had said. EFE

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