Monday, April 20, 2009
Himalaya Spring 2009 Update: Up and Down the Cwm
Lots of action on Everest, and around the Himalaya, as teams acclimatize, build camps, and get to know their mountains.
Starting off on Everest, teams have now gone as high as C3, caching gear as they go, and getting all too familiar with the Western Cwm. They'll make that journey a number of times before they head up to the summit in a few weeks. According to the Peak Freaks Blog, their whole team is in Base Camp right now, with the exception of one climber in C1. Tomorrow they'll begin their climb up to C2, where they'll spend the night acclimatizing. THe PF team also notes that the remarkably calm weather thus far this season has made it easy for teams to spend time at C1 and C2 this early in the season. Whether or not this calm weather holds is yet to be seen.
The Adventure Consultants are already up in C1, where they are comfortably resting. The team were up at 1 AM and off at 2 AM, and after a successful scramble through the Icefall, they were up the hill and in C1 before the crowd, beating the heat of the day.
The Himex team takes a different approach to the acclimatization process. Russell Brice likes to have the team scale other peaks in the area to gain experience and acclimatize. And to that end, both David Tait and Billi Bierling are reporting that they have been climbing Lobuje Peak the past few days. After a successful summit, they are back in Gorak Shep, and will be proceeding to BC from there.
Speaking of Russell Brice, Alan Arnette is reporting that he crashed the Cricket Game held in Gorak Shep, and being billed as the highest ever played, to announce that he'll hold his own match at C2, beating the "old" record by 1235 meters. Of course it was all one big joke and Russell was just having a little fun with the teams playing in Gorak Shep. Who says this guy doesn't have a sense of humor?
ExWeb is reporting in one of their Himalaya wrap-ups that the Lhotse-Everest Traverse team is off and running at a good pace, having already stashed their tents at C2 and moved further up the mountain to scout not only Everest's West Ridge, but also the Lhotse Wall as well.
On the North Side of Everest, teams finally reached Base Camp over the weekend, and they were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the yaks to help them carry their gear up to ABC. They'll soon be joined by Norwegian Jarle Traa, who told ExWeb he would be climbing from the North completely independently, without using oxygen or Sherpa support.
Moving away from Everest now, the report is that a team of Czechs reached the Eastern Summit of Annapurna, which stands at 8021 meters. Harsh winds prevented them from reaching the main summit however, and they are now returning to BC. Bad weather has been a problem on Annapurna so far this year, and has prevented most teams from making any kind of headway at all.
Teams are also locked in at C1 on Manaslu thanks to poor weather conditions. Heavy winds and snow fall has prevented them from going up the mountain to establish Camp 2, but the weather report indicates that things may be improving. The snows are expected to stop, although the winds may continue for a few more days.
Our friends on the Ski The Himalayas team, which includes Ben Clark and Josh Butson of Rest of Everest fame, are still trekking to their mountain of choice, the 23,390 foot Baruntse, where they intend to make an alpine style climb, and then ski off the summit. They are joined by a third climber, named Jonathan Miller, who is not to be confused with the other Jonathan Miller, also from the Rest of Everest, who prefers to make films about the mountains.
Finally, the latest update from the team climbing Lunag Ri, a 6907m peak in Nepal, is that they are now on the mountain, and have scouted a line that they think will work for them. Described as hard, but safe, the route will have them going up some 6777 meters before making a traverse along a narrow ridge to the summit proper.
Good luck to all the climbers at the various stages of their climb. Climb safe everyone, and enjoy the view!