Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Himalaya Fall 2012 Update: Struggles On Everest And Lhotse

Yesterday I posted news that the remaining climbers on Everest and Lhotse, the last in the Himalaya for the fall it would seem, were planning on making summit bids today and tomorrow. The latest dispatches from Nepal indicate that things aren't going exactly as planned however and it may be another day or two before we see them summit, if they are able at all.

Japanese solo-climber Nobukazu Kuriki had hoped to arrive in Camp 4 today ahead of a predicted drop in wind speeds that would give him the opportunity to top out along the West Ridge. But an update this morning to his Facebook page indicates he wasn't able to reach C4 and is instead bivouacking on a ridge at about 7500 meters (24,606 ft.). The new plan is to try to reach High Camp tomorrow, and rest there for a short time before having a go at the summit. Reading Kuriki's updates, it seems the winds may not have entirely died down yet, so he is buying time.

Meanwhile, the Polish team led by Artur Hajzer did attempt to the summit of Lhotse today as scheduled. But extremely cold temperatures have made their push a rough one, sending at least some of the climbers back down the mountain. There are indications that one of the Sherpas is suffering severe frostbite to his hands as well, requiring immediate medical attention. It is unclear at this time if all of the climbers have turned back or if a smaller squad is still attempting to move up, but it seems the weather isn't quite as good as they had hoped. A second team of climbers is in position to move up later in the week with an eye on summiting on Friday. Early forecasts had indicated that the jet stream would remain calm into the weekend.

Finally, the update from the Polish team indicated that they had seen the Korean squad moving up the South Col as well and as we suspected yesterday, they are moving into position to summit Everest along the normal route. There have been few dispatches from that team this season, but we'll likely hear from them once they summit or decide to head home.

Good luck to everyone on the mountain. Keep your fingers crossed for better weather ahead.

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