Monday, August 31, 2015

Himalaya Fall 2015: Teams En Route to Base Camps


The fall climbing season in the Himalaya is set to begin as teams have now begun to arrive in Nepal, and are already making their way out to their respective Base Camps. In fact, it is shaping up to be a typical fall season in the big mountains as climber return to the region following the devastating earthquake of this past spring. That's good news for the tourism sector and economy of Nepal, although it remains to be seen how many mainstream travelers return as well. 

Amongst those heading into the mountains this fall are a pair of Japanese climbers, including Nobukazu Kuriki. This will be his fifth attempt to summit the mountain, with his last climb nearly ending in disaster. Kuriki attempted a solo-summit a few years back, but got stranded on his descent and ended up spending an extended amount of time above 8000 meters. This resulted in severe frostbite that claimed all but one of his fingers. He has already departed for Base Camp and is now starting his acclimatization process. 

Nick Cienski is also trekking to his Base Camp in the Himalaya at the moment. Nick, who launched the 6 Summits Challenge this past spring, is headed to Manaslu to try to get his expedition back on track. He had originally set a goal to summit six different 8000 meter peaks in a single calendar year, but has not had much luck so far this year. His spring expeditions were cut short due to the earthquake, and his summer plans in the Karakoram were thwarted due to the weather there. He hopes to continue working towards his goal with a successful summit of the 8163 meter (26,781 ft) Manaslu this fall. 

Also headed into the Himalaya at the moment is explorer/mountaineer Eric Larsen. He and team will be attempting some unclimbed peaks in Nepal this fall, including some mountains that have only just recently been opened for climbing. I spoke to Eric about this while at Outdoor Retailer a few weeks back, and he was super excited about the expedition. While there are no major 8000 meter mountains on the itinerary, there will be plenty of climbing on peaks that have had few or no visitors ever. It should be fun to watch the adventure unfold, and at the moment the team is driving to the start of their trek, which should begin in another day or two. 

ExWeb has the lowdown on a few other expeditions heading into the Himalaya in the days ahead. They include the possibility of a South Korean squad heading to Lhotse, as well as a team setting its sights on Nuptse as well. Adrian Ballinger will reportedly attempt a ski descent of Makalu, while climbers Luke Smithwick and Andrew Lock will look to open a new route on that same mountain. Finally, ExWeb indicated that a Polish team will attempt an alpine style ascent of Annapurna IV as well. 

Of course, there will also be a number of commercial teams operating in Nepal this fall. They will include the Adventure Consultants, SummitClimb, and Amical Alpin, all of which will be leading climbers who have eventual plans to attempt Everest. Each of these squads will be heading to Manaslu in the days ahead, with some already en route. 

As you can see, things are starting to pick up, and it won't be long before we start getting progress reports and updates. The monsoon hasn't fully receded yet, which means it is still very wet and rainy in Nepal. But soon that will change, and the climbing will begin. Hopefully there will be a lot more success than this past spring. 

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