Will China break Kristin Harila's 8000m record?

The Norwegian Kristin Harila has set herself the goal of climbing all 14 eight-thousanders in the world within one season. She has already climbed eleven peaks, the last three are scheduled for this autumn. In order to be able to beat Nirmal Purja's record time at all, however, she is dependent on permits from China.

Kristin Harila not only wants to climb all 8000m peaks in the world, she also wants to do it at record speed. For the Norwegian it applies to the Nepalese Nimal Purja to beat, who with 189 days needed the least time to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. Complete the remaining three peaks at 36 years old Manaslu, Cho oyu and Shishapangma before November 2, she would become the new record holder.

Missing permit from China

After the 8156 meter high Manaslu, two peaks remained in the Norwegian's 14 Peaks project: Cho Oyo and Shishapangma. Both border on China and make the record attempt dependent on approval from China. Cho Oyo can be climbed from Nepal and Tibet, but a Chinese permit is mandatory for Shishapangma. Unfortunately, their efforts have not been successful so far, which Kristin Harila attributes in part to the strict corona restrictions.

Kristin Harila's desperate run for help on the home stretch

Bottled oxygen, Sherpa power and helicopter

In her record attempt, Kristin Harila pulls out all the stops that modern high-altitude mountaineering has to offer. She uses artificial oxygen for her ascents, relies on a very strong and well-established Sherpa team and uses helicopter flights to get quickly from one base camp to the next.

A strategy that seems to be working: in the first phase of their project, Kristin Harila and her team managed to climb the first six eight-thousanders (Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, kanchenjunga, Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu) within just 29 days.

For the five eight-thousanders on Pakistani soil (Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad peak and Gasherbrum 1 and 2) they needed 41 days. Her assessment of the difficulties is also interesting in this respect. "For me, despite its history and death rates, K2 was one of the easiest in Pakistan," says Kristina Harila.

This was mainly due to the fact that a lot of people were out and about on the mountain. “A lot of people means there are fixed ropes for long stretches and there are actual paths and steps. But many people also increase the risk of traffic jams and falling rocks.”

"For me, despite its history and death rates, K2 was one of the easiest in Pakistan."

Kristin Harila
Pictures like from Everest: Countless mountaineers line up for the K2 summit. Image: Kristin Harila
Pictures like from Everest: Countless mountaineers line up for the K2 summit. Image: Kristin Harila

Danger of traffic jams at Manaslu

However, a large number of summit aspirants can quickly lead to traffic jams and waiting times. The Norwegian is expecting many people at Manaslu due to the Covid restrictions in recent years. “We expect to meet around 400 mountaineers. That could be a challenge as space at the base camp is limited and there is a risk of traffic jams.” Accordingly, it could be that they set off before the fixed ropes were laid.

“It feels good to start again. At Manaslu, I will be supported by several teams, including Nimsdai Purja's team, who will lay the fixed ropes at the summit.»

Kristin Harila

Kristin Harila experienced first-hand what this means on Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrum 1. «I have to say that the biggest difference and the biggest challenge of these mountains was climbing without fixed ropes. It's a completely different kind of climbing."

«I have to say that the biggest difference and the biggest challenge of these mountains was climbing without fixed ropes. It's a completely different kind of climbing."

Kristin Harila
Key support: On the mountain, Kristin Harila can count on experienced mountaineers Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongju Sherpa. Image: Kristin Harila
Important support: On the mountain, Kristin Harila can count on the 8000m experience of Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongju Sherpa. Image: Kristin Harila

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Credits: Cover picture Kristin Harila

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