Home > Expeditions & Adventures > Himalaya last calls: Makalu summit and casualty report, no cake on Shisha Pangma

Himalaya last calls: Makalu summit and casualty report, no cake on Shisha Pangma

Outware’s Makalu expedition folded with a bitter-sweet end: several members summited on May 23rd but Zaharias Kiriakakis was lost. Bad conditions forced the Germans down on Shisha.

Makalu: Climber lost on descent

The six Outware mountaineers’ summit on May 23rd turned into a hard descent in deteriorating weather: Adele had to be helped down while Zaharias (Haris) Kiriakakis (from Greece) lost his way and vanished.

One week later a series of reports have been posted by leader Arnold Coster:

“On May 21, the whole team slept in C2 together,” Arnold wrote. “All the other expedition teams where also still there so, to avoid a traffic jam on the Makalu La and the summit, I decided to split the team in two groups. A slow group who would go for the top from C4 (7750m) and a faster group who could summit from C3 (7450m).”

According to the report, Haris Kiriakakis from Greece an Mor Doron from Israel (on O2) climbed to C4 on May 22, where Mor aborted the climb and descended. The fast group set off on May 23 at 8 pm and were joined in C4 by Haris. The night was cold but clear and still.

“Turkish Tunc Findic was the first on the summit followed by Arnold, Lakpha and Dawa,” said the report. “Two hours later also Guntis, Haris and Kancha Sherpa summited.”

With a storm approaching on descent, the team had to aid Adele Pennington (UK) with extra oxygen. By May 24 the whole team was spread out on the mountain, Arnold reported. “Tunc and Lakpha where already in C3. Guntis, Adele, Dawa and me in C4. but there was still no sign of Haris and Kancha Sherpa.”

“Later I got a radio call from Haris, that he was lost and didn’t know where he was. Kancha waited for him for hours, but couldn’t locate him. For his own safety he decided to go to C4 and look for him the next morning again.”

A prolonged search for Haris proved unsuccessful, in spite of further radio contact with the climber. “On the radio he said he was close to C4, but if he is taking shelter in a cave or crevasse it will be hard to find him, because we can’t see him,” Arnold apparently reported on May 29. (Ed. Note: dates are confusing since the reports seem to be posted days after being written.)

Coster decided to call the search off on May 30th, 5 days after Hari’s first distress call, by when the search party was exhausted while snow and wind had erased all traces, the report said.

Shisha Pangma update: Over for the Germans

Bad weather and loads of snow forced the German Ski team back from 7,800m in their second and final summit attempt on Shisha. All members returned safely to BC: that fact and overall adventure was enough for the team to consider their climb a “partial success.”

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