Thursday, September 04, 2014

Himalaya Fall 2014 Update: Progressing Slowly

The Fall 2014 climbing season in the Himalaya is starting to get underway, although progress has been slow thus far. A few of the teams have already left Kathmandu for their respective mountains, while others have yet to arrive in Nepal at all. The summer monsoon has, for the most part, dissipated however, and conditions are starting to improve in the mountains. The fall season isn't nearly as busy as the spring of course, but things should now start to ramp up accordingly.

The IMG team is headed to Cho Oyu this fall with a group of climbers looking to get experience on an 8000 meter peak. They reached the Tibetan village of Tingri, a few days back, and took a rest day there to acclimatize some. The entire squad should go to Base Camp today however, where there are still just three teams of Sherpas preparing for the arrival of their clients.

The Adventure Consultants are on the same schedule, and were in and out of Tingri the past few days too. They reported that the town was bustling and noisy, and they are looking forward to escaping to the silence of the mountains, and getting the climb underway at last. Once settled in BC, they'll probably take a few days to rest before proceeding up to Camp 1. But for now, they seem content to be at the starting point of the expedition at last.

Over on Manaslu, the Altitude Junkies are already getting settled into Base Camp. They reached that point on Tuesday, and were immediately beset with poor weather. Rain fell throughout the day, but was fortunately replaced with sunshine and clear skies yesterday. They're hoping that is a good omen of things to come. They hope to hold their Puja ceremony tomorrow, and send the first Sherpa teams up the mountain on Saturday where they'll fix ropes to Camp 1 and scout the route to Camp 2. They're joined on the mountains by team from Himalayan Experience, who will help share the work load.



These commercial squads won't be the only ones in the Himalaya this fall. Experienced climbers like Bo Belvedere Christensen and Benedikt Böhm will be arriving soon too. Both of those men hope to pull off a Himalayan double-header by summiting both Shishapangma and Cho Oyu this fall. Spaniard Carlos Soria will leave for Nepal soon as well, as he goes in search of his 12th 8000-meter peak by climbing Shishapangma too. And the British Makalu squad is gearing up to depart soon as well, as they expect to be in Base Camp by September 21, the official start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

As you can see, things are just starting to crank up, and I suspect we'll have more interesting news to report soon. I'm also guessing there will be a few surprises to come as well, such as last season's solo summit of Annapurna by Ueli Steck. He managed to keep that attempt under wraps until it was almost underway, and there are probably a few similar expeditions in the works this year too. I'll post updated on all of the action in the days to come. For now, it is relatively quiet in the Himalaya.

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