Nepal | February 24, 2020

Mountain Hardwear Everest expedition, Polish team on Lhotse abandon autumn climbing bid

Rajan Pokhrel

KATHMANDU: At least three foreign climbers including the president of Mountain Hardwear Brand, a subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear Company, Joe Vernachio have decided to abandon their attempt to climb the world’s highest peak in the autumn season, according to sources at the Everest base camp.

The Mountain Hardwear Everest expedition members including Vernachio and Tim Emmett, one of the UK’s climbing elite, along with their filming crew today called off their bid to make a very rare ascent of Mt Everest in the autumn season after witnessing a lethal weather condition as well as a high risk of avalanche in the treacherous icefall section above the base camp, the base camp officials said.

Renowned photographers including Francois Lebeau and Jon Glassberg, members of the production company Louder than 11, were there with the Mountain Hardwear team to document their climb on Mt Everest, they added.

Team leader Garrett Madison — along with co-founder at OpenGov, a cloud-based American software company, Zac Bookman and American climber Kristin Bennett — will continue his climbing activities on Mt Everest, according to the officials.

In a similar development, Polish climber Rafal Maciej Fronia has also abandoned his bid to climb Mt Everest.

Lethal weather also forced a 10-member Polish team to retreat as they were planning to scale Mt Lhotse in the autumn season, the officials said.

“All 10 members of the Lhotse expedition led by Marcin Piotr Kaczkan have decided to return due to a freak weather condition in the Everest region.”

However, ultra-runner Spaniard Kilian Jornet  and Polish ski daredevil Andrzej Leszek Bargiel along with other team members have continued their acclimatization rotation as the rope-fixing team opened the icefall route to camp I from the base camp on Mt Everest, the sources added.

At least 10 foreign climbers have obtained climbing permit for Mt Everest this season, according to the Department of Tourism.

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