Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Climbs 2013: Slow Progress For Everyone

Over the past few days it has been slow going on nearly every major winter climb. That is to be expected at this time of the year of course, as patience is perhaps the most important attribute for those who want to be successful in the coldest and harshest of seasons. With two months of winter left on the calendar however, there is still plenty of time for most to be successful on their respective peaks.

One climber who doesn't have the luxury of time however is Lonnie Dupre. That is because he has set a goal to climb Denali in January, which leaves him with just ten days to go before his deadline falls for another year. 

When we last checked in, he was stuck at 9700 feet (2956 meters) waiting out another snow storm, although he did report that temperatures were warmer than they have been in the past. Fortunately, conditions have improved on the mountain and as of this morning, the skies are clear. That has allowed Dupre to move up the slope and stash some gear at higher altitudes. According to his latest report, Lonnie has now climbed up to 13,600 ft (4145 meters) after 11 long hours yesterday. Today he hopes to proceed up to 14,200 ft (4328 meters) where he'll rest, assess his health and the weather forecast, and decide where to go next. While weather conditions overall are improved, he is still battling deep snow along his route.

Jumping over to the Himalaya, the Polish team that has its sights set on Broad Peak is still making its way into Base Camp. After a long journey overland to Skardu, they've made their way to Askole, where they've begun trekking to the Godwin-Austen Glacier, which they hope to reach tomorrow. From there, it shouldn't be long before they've established camp and begin their acclimatization rotations. At the moment, they report cold, but improving conditions across the region. On Nanga Parbat the teams are finding it tough going as well. Poor weather conditions have kept several teams in BC where they wait for their chances to go up. The Hungarian-American squad had hoped to climb up to Camp 1 last week but turned back amidst bad weather. The team is still waiting for the arrival of their generator as well, which will make life in Base Camp much more comfortable. 

The Italian-French team that is planning an attempt on NP is finishing up their acclimatization on Ganalo Peak. They're hoping to complete their stay on that mountain with an overnight at 6000 meters (19,685 ft) before proceeding with their true objective. Whether or not conditions allowed them to do that remains unclear at this time. 

Also on Nanga Parbat is snowboarder Joel Wischnewski who is taking on the Rupal Face. Joel has been on the mountain for some time and has made solid progress, caching his gear at Camp 2. But he is also dealing with some health issues which have left him drained and dehydrated. At the moment, he is working on getting his strength back before taking on the challenging route up the wall. Presumably he hopes to climb, then snowboard back down the mountain, which would surely be quite the ride. 

Stay tuned for more updates later int he week. 



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