Monday, May 03, 2010
Himalaya 2010: Action on Annapurna, Push Set To Begin on Shisha
The calendar has flipped to May, which can mean only one thing in the Himalaya –summits ahead!
We'll start on Annapurna, where plenty of climbers topped out last week, including Miss Oh Eun-Sun, the first woman to summit all 14 8000-meter peaks. Tragically, climber Tolo Calafat perished during that same summit push, succumbing to altitude sickness while making his descent. As ExWeb notes, this makes it seven straight years with at least one casualty on the mountain, which has more than earned its reputation as one of the toughest of the 14 to summit successfully.
Still, not everyone is done with Annapurna for the season. ExWeb is also reporting that Korean climber Park Young-Seok, who has summitted all 14 of the big peaks as well, is planning a new route up the South Face along a variation of the Bonnington route. The team hopes to have all their prep and scouting work done in time for a mid-May summit bid.
Moving over to the 26,289 foot Shisha Pangma, it seems teams are preparing to make summit bids this week. Included amongst them is Edurne Pasaban, who is successful, will join Miss Oh as the only women to claim all of the 8-thousanders. Reportedly, she was considering a light and fast alpine ascent, having already acclimatized on Annapurna, to go after the record for herself, but with Miss Oh claiming the crowd, she'll know take a more traditional approach to the climb, possibly joining one of the other teams already on the mountain. Watch for word on Shisha summits in the next few days, and another woman officially joining the boy's club of 8000 meter climbers.
Over on Makalu, teams have fixed ropes and established camps as high as C2 at the moment, and there had been plans to go higher over the weekend, but high winds and cold weather prevented that from happening. Most teams are now looking at a mid-week window for climbing up to Makalu-La at 7400 meters. Once that has been accomplished, they'll return to BC before making the final prep for their summit bids.
Finally, we can't leave out Everest itself. Alan Arnette is reporting that snow hit the Big Hill over the weekend, dumping six inches of the white stuff, and prompting teams to stay put in their tents today. Most are eying tomorrow for their next go up the mountain, with some planning on heading up to Camp 3 for their acclimatization rotation.
This is all pretty much standard fare for this point of the season. Up and down the mountain, acclimatize, wait for a weather window, repeat. We're still a couple of weeks out from any real attempts on the Everest summit, but it won't be long now, weather permitting.