by LOUIS CARSTENS
The view of Lhotse from the summit of Everest etched itself into my climbing psyche, and I knew on 23 May 2010, on the summit of Everest, that I had to attempt Lhotse sometime in the future.
I went to Lhotse in 2014, and was heading into the Khumbu Ice Fall when a serac broke loose on the west shoulder of Everest with disastrous consequences and loss of life, causing both Everest and Lhotse to be closed down – no climbing on either mountain for the rest of the year. In 2015 I went back and was in the Western Cwm between Camps 1 and 2 when the devastating earthquake hit Nepal. Both Everest and Lhotse were once again closed for climbing for the second year in succession.
As the 2018 spring climbing season in the Himalayas presented itself, I had a choice to make. At the time, I had climbed three 8,000-metre summits – Cho Oyu (2008), Everest (2010), and Manaslu (2013). I attempted Makalu in 2017, but did not summit. I have never been one to accept unfinished business, so I had to choose: do I go back to Makalu or do I go back to Lhotse?