Search Resumes for Japanese Climbers on Dhaulagiri

Posted on: October 8, 2010


Dhaulagiri (8167m), where rescue teams are searching for three Japanese guides and one Nepalese Sherpa, who have been missing since September 28. [Photo] Rick van Bentem

The three Japanese guides and one Nepalese Sherpa have been missing since September 28, when they were struck by a major avalanche while climbing Dhaulagiri (8167m) outside of Pokhara, Nepal. Today, the Japanese Professional Guide Association announced that the search for the climbers will continue this weekend.

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Osamu Tanabe, Toshio Yamamoto, Daisuke Honda and their Nepalese guide, Pasang Gelu Sherpa, were ahead of the other members of their seven-member party when the avalanche started 1400m above them, reaching them at circa 5200m. This weekend, relying on descriptions of the area by other members of the group, Japanese guides and up to five Nepalese Sherpas will begin searching an area of about .03 square km on the slope where the climbers disappeared. The search team has been delayed by poor weather in the area this week, and are now awaiting clearance from the Nepalese government to fly into the base camp and resume the search using a helicopter from Kathmandu and Japanese technical equipment which detects buried human bodies.

Osamu Tanabe, age 49, is a well-known Japanese mountaineer. This expedition, if successful, would have marked his tenth ascent of an 8000-meter peak. Tanabe has left his mark in the Himalaya, with the first winter ascent of the southwest face of Everest in 1993 and the first ascent of the east ridge of Makalu (8456m) in 1995. He is also known for leading both the first winter ascent of Lhotse's south face (8516m) in December of 2006 and the first ascent of the west face of Nemjung (7140m) in October 2009.

Sources: Beto Pinto Toledo, summitpost.org, andeanclimbing.com

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