Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Himalaya Fall 2015: Icefall Doctors Fixing Route for Autumn Everest Expedition

We haven't even officially closed the book on the summer climbing season in Pakistan just yet, and already the fall season in the Himalaya is starting to get underway. According to a story in the Himalayan Times, the Icefall Doctors have reported for duty at Everest Base Camp, where they have started to build a route through the Khumbu Icefall. They hope to have established a stable path by the time a Japanese team arrives for a fall attempt on the mountain.

That team will consist of climbers Nobukazu Kuriki and Masaru Kadotani, who hope to summit the world's tallest mountain during the fall. They are expected to arrive in BC around the time of the autumnal equinox on September 21. According to the story, there will be five teams climbing in the Khumbu region in the weeks ahead, with expeditions set to take place on both Everest and Manaslu. 

There was a time when the fall climbing season was a busy one on Everest, but there have been few expeditions to the mountain during the post-monsoon season in recent years. In fact, as Stefan Nestler points out, there has been only one fall summit in the past five years, and that was accomplished by explorer Eric Larsen on his three poles project five years ago. Since then, there have been no summits and very few attempts, as most teams have preferred to stay focused on the more popular spring climbing season instead. 

The next few weeks and months will be interesting ones for Nepal. Traditionally, as the monsoon subsides for another year, travelers return to trek and climb in the mountains there. But after the April earthquake, some areas are still recovering. Whether or not that will have an impact on the travel season, and the economy of the country, remains to be seen. Most experts believe that tourism will be key to rebuilding the shattered infrastructure in Nepal, but if visitors are slow to return, it could mean that it will take even longer for the country to get back on track. 

Either way, it looks like we'll have an Everest expedition to follow in the weeks ahead. It is not uncommon for commercial teams to attempt Manaslu in the fall as a warm-up to the spring climbing season, but an Everest climb at this time of the year will be a rare treat indeed. 

Stay tuned for more news about the emerging fall season and the teams that will be taking part. It will be good to see some action back in the Himalaya once again. 

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