Friday, October 12, 2012

Himalaya Fall 2012 Update: More From Everest And Lhotse

As the weekend draws near, more information is creeping out about the teams that remain on Everest and Lhotse who are hoping to make summit pushes sometimes in the next few days. We've known for awhile now that there is a Japanese climber (identified as Nobukazu Kuriki) and a Korean team on Everest and a Polish squad hoping to summit Lhotse, but beyond that details have been scare. Thanks to Explorers Web, we now have a clearer picture of these teams and their ultimate goals.

According to an update from ExWeb, the Korean team is the 2012 Everest Peace Expedition from the Gang-Won University Alpine Club. The group is led by Himalayan vet Sung-Wook Hong, and includes the following members: Bong-Ha Park, Young-Hoon Oh, Jin-Seok Kim, Joo-Hwan Ahn, Seok-Joo Woo Young-Rae Kim, Jin-Young Jeong, Keun-Young Choi, and Il-Jin Im. Updates from the team have been a bit sporadic, but a few days back they indicated that they were in Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain, waiting out the weather. Their forecasts indicate that a shift could come in the next four days, and they are preparing to make a summit bid when that happens.

The Polish Lhotse team is essentially in the same boat. It is a young squad led by Artur Hajzer who have also been hoping to wait out the weather. ExWeb quotes Hajzer as saying that his considerable experience in the Himalaya tells him the weather won't make a permanent change until late October or into November, and if they stay patient they'll get their opportunity. They're planning on starting for the summit of Lhotse this weekend with an eye on topping out in the Sunday or Monday timeframe. Since Everest and Lhotse share the same route up to Camp 4, they'll likely be climbing in tandem with the Korean team over the next few days.

As for Kuriki, he's making a solo, but supported, climb along the very dangerous and isolated West Ridge. As if that route wasn't challenging enough, he's also going up without oxygen. The latest news from his Facebook page indicates that he is still in Camp 2 today waiting for the weather window to open. He believes that will happen in the next day or two as well. His forecasts indicate the winds will drop on October 15 or 16, providing access to the summit for a short time. If thats true, he'll start to move up tomorrow and Sunday so that he'll be ready to take advantage of the calm (relatively speaking!) conditions.

Seems like it should be an exciting weekend on Everest and Lhotse. Wish these teams luck and lets hope the weather cooperates. In the meantime, check out the latest YouTube video from Kuriki which he posted this morning. It is some beautiful images from the Himalaya that are sure to inspire.


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