Monday, September 17, 2012

Himalaya Fall 2012 Update: Bad Weather Halts Progress On Manaslu

Patience is the word of the day in the Himalaya, where teams on Manaslu have had their progress halted due to poor weather hitting the region. At the end of last week the forecasts looked like they were about to take a turn for the worse, and now there are liberal amounts of snow falling on mountain.

One of the teams that was eager to get started following their Puja ceremony last week was the Mountain Professionals squad. They did manage to make one trek up to Camp 1 at 5600 meters (18,372 ft) before the snow started to fall, but for the past three days they've been stuck in Base Camp with the rest of the teams, waiting for an opportunity to head back up. In the meantime, they're wiling away the hours with a mean game of Yatzy, while the storm continues outside their tents.

Similarly the IMG team is in BC as well and the fresh snow is putting a crimp in their plans too. The climbers returned from Camp 2 last Friday and had hoped to start their next acclimatization round yesterday, but judging from the reports of ongoing snow, it seems likely that they are holding out for a break in the weather while resting in Base Camp as well. Their next trip up the  mountain should take them as high as C3, with over nights in both Camps 1 and 2. After that, they'll be looking for a summit a window.

For their part, the Altitude Junkies are not concerned much with the current weather conditions on Manaslu. They make this climb every year and report that it is not unusual to have up to ten days worth of rain and snow following their arrival in Base Camp. This is a transition period in the weather as the monsoon exits the region for another year and their forecasts indicate that the current conditions will likely persist for a few more days. So like the rest of the teams they sit and wait for their opportunity to continue to the higher camps.



One of the climbers who is blogging about her experience in the Himalaya this fall is Edita Nichols. She reports on her blog last Friday was the hardest day of the expedition too date was when her team made their first hike up to Camp 1 to drop off loads of gear. She reports that there are numerous crevasses on the mountain, which can make progress slow and a bit unnerving, but otherwise the first acclimatization rotation was a successful one. Just like everyone else, she was expecting the turn in the weather and should now be in BC waiting and watching for the shift in the season.

Finally, we news from Makalu today where Billi Bierling reports in from Base Camp on that mountain. Billi says that she and her teammates have tagged Camp 2 already and that everything is proceeding as planned. They're resting after their first rotation and since weather conditions are good there, they'll be making their next trip up in a few days. That will include a night at Camp 1 and two nights at Camp 2, while they establish C3 for the work ahead.

Curiously, Billi also says that her team established its Base Camp about two hours below the normal Makalu BC. She says that it is cleaner and quieter there, but it adds a lot of extra time and effort to reach C1 on their initial go up the mountain. She also notes that so far her squad is the only one in BC as none of the other teams have shown up yet. Hopefully they'll be arriving soon as it sounds like conditions are good this season.

Thats all for now. We'll get more news later in the week, provided the weather on Manaslu improves.

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