Risk is an inevitable part of climbing, especially when a big peak in the Himalaya is your objective. Rockfall, avalanche, elevation, poor weather: the list of risks in the high mountains goes on. However, today, the world learned about another risk in the alpine, risk of attack via crampon.
According to a report in The Himalayan Times, on Manaslu, the eighth tallest mountain in the world, two Chinese climbers got into a heated exchange, supposedly over business interests from back home, resulting in climber Peng Tao being stabbed with crampons. Tao was airlifted to Kathmandu where he received treatment for his wounds at Norvic International Hospital. The attacker fled the scene immediately, according to eyewitness accounts.
Unfortunately, this type of scene is not unheard of on big mountain expeditions. One simply has to remember the 2013 brawl on Everest (and the subsequent media frenzy) to realize that tensions are high and tempers can flair. Climbers often pay exorbitant prices for a chance (remember, only a chance) at the summit. Waiting around camp for factors outside of your control to align for an attempt on the summit with a difficult and dangerous climb facing you can put even the most experienced climbers in a sour mood.
Climbing in the Greater Ranges of the world has enough risk already. Fighting needn’t be a part of that list. We wish Peng Tao a swift recovery and hope he makes it back to Manaslu soon.