The new route that Teofil Vlad, Zsolt Torok, and Romică Popa have opened on Pumori Mt. (7,161m) this October is quite a stunning result for a country which has merely started to build a new mountaineering culture – the right one nowadays.


[Type of content: Report]


After a 9-day strenuous technical ascent, the three Romanian-born climbers made it to the summit of Pumori in the Himalayas of Nepal on October 18 at 3.00 p.m., local time. “We made it”, Teofil Vlad broke the news during a phone conversation soon after descending the mountain.

Vlad described briefly the ascent.


We set up the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) near the wall. After four bivouacs we reached a ridge. We had a day to rest and then we advanced for the summit. In the following two days we descended on the Western Face of the mountain, so we reached Gorak Shep. We spent the night there. The next day we returned to BC. So, we climbed for nine days.

Key moments

The low temperature, the strong winds (about 100 km/hour) in the summit day, the pain to climb with a backpack for several days in a row, the glacier we descended, the inconvenient places for bivouac (the first two didn’t allow us to set up the tent), the fact that we were three guys to sleep in a two-person tent… To make the story short: alpine style brings key moments all the way through.


A specific crisis didn’t emerge during the expedition, he says.

We had to deal with what such an expedition requires. Cold, oxygen depletion, dehydration, exhaustion, discomfort – they’re all part of the alpine style. We faced them all and moved forward.


Vlad thinks the communication among the team members was good. It would rank it at 4 on a scale from 1 to 5 (maximum).

Other teams

There was a team who attempted the classical route up to Camp 1. A group had in plan to climb the route to the ridge we reached after climbing the wall, but they gave up. We haven’t met other teams with a project like ours.

In the future

Vlad says the three climbers have discussed the possibility to make up a team for future expedition projects. Before Pumori, Vlad, Torok, and Popa had previously climbed together as a team in the Carpathians and in the Alps.

Redline: the route that Zsolt Torok (left), Romica Popa (middle) and Teofil Vlad (right) say they opened to the summit of Pumori in Nepal.


Does their route on Pumori have any chances to be nominated for a Piolet d’Or recognition? Vlad doesn’t know. “But I presume it is in the Piolets d’Or spirit”, he says.

The Piolets d’Or is an event celebrating alpinism and its ethics. According to the organizers, the purpose of the Piolets d’Or awards is to raise awareness about the year’s greatest ascents across the world. They aim to celebrate the taste for adventure, the bravery and sense of exploration that lie behind the art of climbing in the world’s great mountain ranges.”

Recent history

According to the Piolets d’Or website archive, only three* similar ascents accomplished by Romanian teams have been in the “Piolets d’Or spirit”, as Teofil Vlad puts it:

  • Peak5 (6,421m), Nepal, 2016. Team: Zsolt Torok-Vlad Căpușan;
  • Zanskar (6,200m), India, 2016. Team: Cosmin Andron-Cristina Pogacean
  • Ghandarbha Chuli (6,248m), Nepal, 2013. Team: Cosmin Andron-Cristina Pogacean

In 2006, another Romanian climber, Constantin Lăcătușu, accomplished a world first on the lower peaks of Himalayas (Peak Europa – 6,403m, Tashi Kang – 6,386m Nepal) – the playground nowadays for explorers and innovative technical ascents. Lăcătușu climbed with Frank Meutzner and Goetz Wiegand (Germany).

Zsolt Torok and Teofil Vlad, now successful on Pumori, gained recognition in the Himalayan climbing community after their successful Nanga Parbat (8,126m) Schell route expedition in summer 2013 (the other team members of the Romanian expedition on Nanga Parbat were Marius Gane, Aurel Sălășan and Bruno Adamcsek).


*LATER EDIT – CORRECTION: PDO’s available archive is for 2017 and 2016. Therefore, this article was updated with a third Romanian ascent (2013) that was considered for nomination by Piolets d’Or (PDO) Commitee: Ghandarbha Chuli (6,248m). Team: Cosmin Andron-Cristina Pogacean.



© 2018 Larisa Ghitulescu.