Thursday, March 21, 2013

Everest 2013: South Side Base Camp Now Open!

A few days ago I mentioned that we were in a bit of a lull in the adventure world right now while we waited for the spring Himalayan season to commence. I indicated that things would really start to pick up around the first of April as the teams began arriving in Kathmandu. It seems I was a bit off on my estimation however, as one of the more prominent mountaineer companies has already established its place in Everest Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain.

In a blog post earlier today, Alan Arnette pointed out that IMG's Eric Simonson reported that his team had already established BC two days ago. The advance team of 14 Sherpas and 3 cooks are already on site and have staked out their campsite. They report that the area around Base Camp has changed even in the past few months as the Khumbu Glacier moves through the area. The staff has started to erect all the tents necessary for the IMG clients and will descend in a few days to pick-up more supplies as they arrive in Lukla.

IMG isn't the only team that is already in BC either. Eric indicated that the Sagarmartha Pollution Control Committee team is there as well and preparing to get started on their all important work. The SPCC is in charge of building the route through the Khumbu Icefall and their Sherpas, collectively known as the Ice Doctors, have already gone to work. The team held their Puja ceremony on Sunday and with that formality out of the way they are now cleared to begin moving up the mountain. They'll spend the next few weeks building a safe route through the icefall so that when the climbers begin arriving, they'll be able to move up to Camp 1 as soon as possible.

Alan also broke the news that Russian climbers Gleb Sokolov and Alexander Kirikov have cancelled their expedition to Everest this year. They had hoped to climb a new route along the East Face in alpine style and without oxygen but the duo were unable to find the funding that they needed. They hope to give it another go next year.

It seems early in the season to be getting reports from Base Camp already, but I believe this is the nature of Everest these days. Teams want to get their camps established as early as possible and they want their clients to be happy and comfortable when they arrive. The climbers won't begin to shuffle in until around the first of the month, or even later, but the Sherpas are already hard at work. I'm sure the streets of Kathmandu are jumping with anticipation at the moment as that city is about to be over run with climbers and trekkers. It's good to see the start of the season is so close now.

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