The news of the Russian team's departure came via a text message to the Russian Climb website. That message reads as follows:
"Today exactly 45th day as we left St. Petersburg, and, unfortunately, the time for our expedition runs to the end. The mountain is clear at last, for the first time in two weeks, but there're still snow flags on the top due to the strong wind. We pack BC and are going down."
Over the course of their month and a half on the mountain they were able to climb as high as 7150 meters (23,458 ft) before being turned back due to high winds. Since descending they have reported continued bad weather, although things are expected to gradually improve in the days ahead. Unfortunately for the four-man squad of Nickolay Totmjanin, Serguey Kondrashkin, Valery Shamalo and Victor Koval, time has run out and they must now return home.
Meanwhile, over on the Daimir Face, Alex Txikon and company have found it tough going on their way up to Camp 2. They have struggled to make progress in a speedy fashion due to deep snow along the route. The men had hoped to reach C2 yesterday, but unfortunately they came up just a bit short. The squad, which also consists of local climbers Muhammad Ali "Sadpara" and Muhammad Kahn, as well as a trio of Iranians (Reza Bahadorani, Iraj Maani and Mahmood Hashemi), had reached 5800 meters (19,028 ft) along the Kinshofer Route before having to call it a day. They hope to establish Camp 2 at 5900 meters (19,356 ft) today and possibly continue up to Camp 3 depending on conditions.
Italian climber Daniele Nardi is going it alone on the Mummery Rib. According to his latest dispatch he reached Camp 3 at 5600 meters (18,372 ft) yesterday and will attempt to continue up the route today. The forecast indicates good weather for the next two days, with a bit of snow on the weekend. If those conditions hold, Daniele hopes to be in position to make a summit bid on Sunday.
Finally, shifting gears to the spring climbing season ahead, Spanish mountaineer Carlos Soria has announced his plans for the Himalaya, and they are ambitious ones. The 76-year old climber doesn't appear to be slowing down any, as he now plans to climb both Annapurna and Dhaulagiri in a few months time. In fact, he intends to leave for Nepal next week, and will spend his time trekking throughout the country to begin his acclimatization well ahead of the start of the climbing season. He then says that he and his team will go to Annapurna early on to scout the mountain well ahead of time. Later he will proceed to Dhaula to continue his quest to summit all 14 of the 8000 meter peaks.
Good luck to Carlos in this endeavor. He remains an inspiration to us all.