Lhotse is the fourth-highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest, K2, and Mount Kanchenjunga. The height of this extraordinary peak is 8,516 meters (27,940ft). It is a part of the Everest massif. The massif is connected to the South Col. Hence, many climbers expedite to the mountain in their attempt to climb Mount Everest. Like all the other 8000-ers, Lhotse has its own set of difficulties in climbing, especially when a climber reaches 8000 meters and has to cross the height.
The technical difficulty of Lhotse is not talked about as much, but it is still there, like the difficulties in climbing some of the tallest and most dangerous mountains in the world. In this article, we will be talking about how technical and difficult is the Lhotse climbing expedition. If you are planning to make this mountain your next destination, make sure you read till the end of this article!
How Difficult is the Lhotse Climbing Expedition?
Lhotse is one of the simpler mountains to climb compared to taller eight-thousanders like Mount Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga. But is it as simple to climb this mountain as you see on social media and everywhere else? Not really! There are plenty of difficult roads waiting for you to explore when you are on your way to climb Lhotse. If a mountaineer wants to climb Lhotse, he must primarily be physically fit, experienced, from a proper age group, and with plenty of body coordination as a practice from the past. Otherwise, he will not be able to make it up or out of the mountain.
The common difficult lies in the situations such as loss of physical capacity in the mountain, lack of equipment, bad or lack of guidance, or simply, the most unavoidable, bad weather conditions and high altitudes. But this does not mean that precautions cannot be taken beforehand.
Hence, it would not necessarily be right to say that the Lhotse climbing expedition is not difficult at all. In fact, climbing this mountain is like climbing any other mountain beyond the Death Zone. And technical difficulties arise on your way up to the peak, like when you climb other mountains like Mount Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga.
How technical is Lhotse?
Lhotse is quite technical, meaning climbing this mountain will require the mountaineers to have enough gear and equipment. The major technical difficulties of Lhotse include the steep nature of the mountain, crevasses, the ever-approaching risks of avalanches, extreme wind conditions, heavy snowfall, numerous and confusing peaks and routes, and the risk of altitude sickness. When climbing Lhotse, these difficulties will stand in your path and make your climb all the more challenging. There are certainly, ways that you can avoid such difficulties with proper expertise and extra careful steps.
As climbing Lhotse is technical, not carrying enough gear and equipment will prove fatal to the climbers as it had been to many (experienced) Sherpas. Just experience or simply even good body coordination is going to be nothing but a plus point, in addition to the gears and equipment required to climb the peak.
But then again, carrying too much gear and depending on the Sherpas and porters to do the heavy lifting might again prove to be deadly on their part. Many such porters and guides have lost their lives throughout the years because when you are beyond the Khumbu Icefall, the likelihood of getting into a fatal accident increases, paired with the heavy load of gears and equipment one is carrying. Therefore, it is necessary that a mountaineer be cautious of not just his life but also that of the porters and Sherpas he is taking along with him. Too many or too few gears and equipment can hence, cause death and brutal accidents in Lhotse.
Is Lhotse difficult to climb?
While this is one of the most common questions in the minds of mountaineers, one should always keep in mind that while many travel brochures, websites, and articles that you find on the internet say that Lhotse is an easier mountain to climb among the 8000-meter tall mountains, it is not necessarily true! Lhotse is just as difficult and challenging to climb as the other tallest mountains in the world.
The level of difficulty to climb this mountain has been labeled “intermediate to advanced,” meaning the difficulty is either moderate or excessive depending on the experience and technical load a mountaineer is carrying. There are certain places like the South Face and the route taken from the standard Reiss Couloir in the mountains that are not going to let a mediocre mountain pass it as easily, while even the most experienced climbers find it difficult to pass through it.
Moreover, in comparison to its secondary summit, Lhotse’s main summit is extremely difficult to climb. Hence, going unprepared will only raise the chances of fatality. One does not only have to check his physical condition but also his gears, equipment, but also the conditions of the mountain while trying to climb Lhotse.
How long does it take to climb Lhotse?
Depending on whether or not ropes are being fixed at the time, the ascent should take 6 to 8 hours. If all goes according to plan, mountaineers will make it to Camp 2 after the summit and return to Base Camp the following morning.
Likewise, the whole summit, i.e., going back and forth to Lhotse, is going to take you about seven days in total.
What is the most challenging part of climbing Lhotse?
The most challenging part of climbing Lhotse is going down and to the bottom, the Lhotse Couloir. It is a very narrow and congested rocky gully which, in many spots, is only 9 feet wide. Even the most experienced mountaineers feel challenged when crossing this part of the mountain. Moreover, summiting the mountain and reaching its peak is just as difficult given the fact that it is very steep and the top is only a small rocky piece filled with snow and ice glaciers.
Henceforth, the difficulty can be the last 300 meters or 1000 feet of the mountain nearing the peak.