Friday, October 31, 2014

Himalaya Fall 2014: Brits Depart Makalu Base Camp, First Ascent in the Indian Himalaya

As the fall climbing season in the Himalaya slowly grinds to a halt, we continue to receive a few updates from the mountains. At this point, there are only a matter of days left before the season begins to shift, but there are still a few bits of news to share.

First up, the British Tri-Services team posted a dispatch from Makalu indicating that they have now departed Base Camp on the Southeast Ridge, and are making their way back to Kathmandu. They report that poor weather continues to be the norm, with heavy snow, and rain, making it challenging to trek through the mountains once again. They are still a few days away from KTM, and the porters carrying their gear are a couple of days behind the climbers, but they expect that they should be on their way back to the U.K. by next week.

A few weeks back, the Slovenian team of Aleš Česen, Luka Lindič and Marko Prezelj became the first men to climb a new route on Hagshu, a 6657 meter (21,840 ft) peak in the Indian Himalaya. The team completed the climb in alpine style, first making the ascent of the North Face, then traversing the mountain to the main summit. While that was the main objective of the expedition, the trio first acclimatized on two other nearby peaks, making first ascents on both Lagan (5750 m/18,865 ft) and Hana's Men (6300 m/20,669 ft). It is safe to say that this was a successful expedition, considering they made first ascents on three peaks, and did all of them in light alpine style. Well done, and congratulations to the team.

Finally, there continues to be no word from Lhotse on the progress of the Korean Team. A few days back we received word that they were heading up to Camp 4, where they intended to stash gear in preparation for a summit push to come. Since then, there have been no updates, but presumably everything is going according to plan. The team has been on Lhotse for nearly two months now, and have faced bad weather and avalanches almost since the day they arrived. But time is running short now, and if they intend to make a summit bid, it will have to come soon. Hopefully we'll get an update over the weekend.

Various reports continue to indicate that the weather has been poor in the Himalaya once again. It has been a tough season there, and not an entirely successful one. Hopefully things will improve in the spring, when more teams head to the mountains, and Everest becomes a hive of activity.

More updates coming soon, as warranted.

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