Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Himalaya Fall 2011: Early Summit Bids Soon
The joint squad of Himex and AlpenGlow are back in BC on Manaslu following three nights stay in Camp 2. Their Sherpa teams have now fixed lines all the way to Camp 4 and have their gear caches in place for a summit bid, which will come after they rest for a few days and when the proper weather window arrives. They don't have a firm date on when that will happen yet, but if the weather stays calm, it could begin as early as this weekend.
The team also reports that they felt the earthquake that struck the region on Sunday while they were in high camp, and while it didn't cause any damage to the climbers or their equipment, it did trigger a large avalanche which streamed down the mountain not far from where they were encamped at the time. Fortunately, no one was hurt by either the quake or the avalanche, but it was sobering experience at the time.
The Altitude Junkies are also on Manaslu and spent the weekend high on the mountain as part of their acclimatization process as well. On Saturday they climbed up to Camp 2 and were surprised to find two French climbers occupying one of their tents. After evicting the squatters, they also discovered that they had damaged the tent, making it useless for anyone else to stay in as well. That incident behind them however, they went on to "tag" Camp 3 the following day, before returning to Base Camp yesterday. Everyone is doing healthy and doing well, and it seems they are on track for a summit bid soon as well.
IMG has teams on both Shisha Pangma and Cho Oyu and it seems they are both moving along like clockwork. On Shisha they hoped to have Camp 3 established and stocked yesterday and on Cho Oyu the climbers have been on rotation up to Camp 2 and should now be back in Base Camp and resting for their next push. No word on summit attempts on either mountain yet, although it is still early, so this is not at all unexpected.
The Jagged Globe team is also on Cho Oyu, and they provide more insights into when summit bids are likely to happen there. They report snow every day, at least at the lower altitudes, but thus far the winds have remained calm. But, the weather patterns are expected to shift around October 1, bringing the jet stream directly over the mountain. That means high winds, and possibly heavier snow. Because of this, the JG guides are saying that they'll need to summit before the end of September. Thankfully, they've been acclimatizing well and things look good. The team is currently in BC after a rotation up to Camp 2.
It looks like the calm before the storm at the moment. Lots of teams are resting and watching the skies. Expect the summit bids to really get going early next week.