Friday, September 25, 2015

Himalaya Fall 2015: Kuriki Moves Up on Everest, Manaslu Summit Bids Begin

There is more news to share from the Himalaya today, as the weekend ahead starts to shape up as a very busy one. The weather still remains a major concern, but several teams are now putting themselves in a position to make their final push to the summit on their respective mountains as a potentially good window opens at long last.

Today we'll start on Everest, where Nobukazu Kuriki has shared his plan for the next few days. The Japanese climber isn't posting too many details about his solo climb of the tallest mountain on the planet, but he is updating his schedule to keep us informed of his progress and where he is headed. Today, Nobu will push up from Camp 3 at 7000 meters (22,965 ft) to Camp 4 located at 7600-7700 meters (24,934 ft - 25,262 ft). From there, it seems he plans to spend a day in C4 resting, regaining his strength, and preparing his gear. If all goes according to plan, he'll launch his summit bid on Sunday, with the hopes of completing the climb then. We wish him the best of luck in this effort, and hope that he gets up and down safely.

The weekend is shaping up to be a busy one on Manaslu too, where a number of commercial squads are now preparing to make their final push to the top as well. The Altitude Junkies, Himex, and Mountain Experience teams have all targeted tomorrow – Saturday, Sept. 26 – as their summit day. That means they should be in position later today, and will be setting off early to reach the top. Amongst them will be Nick Cienski of the 6 Summits Challenge expedition. You may recall that earlier this year Nick announced plans to climb six 8000 meter peaks in a single year. But the Nepal earthquake on April 25 put an end to all attempts in the spring, and the exceptionally poor weather in the Karakoram this summer turned back his efforts there as well. Now, he's hoping to bag Manaslu, and end a bit of his frustration.

Meanwhile, other teams seem to be eyeing the summit of Manaslu early next week. The Adventure Consultants plan to launch their attempt tomorrow, which will put them on track to top out on Monday or Tuesday depending on the weather and the strength of the team. Other squads are likely to follow suit.

On Makalu the Alpenglow team continues to wait in Base Camp for another opportunity to move up. After getting turned back by extremely cold temperatures and waist deep snow above 7620 meters (25,000 ft), they are currently regrouping and waiting for another shot at the summit. The plan is to top out, and then make the first full ski descent of the mountain. Hopefully they'll get their shot again starting sometime next week.

Finally, Ueli Steck and Colin Haley arrived in Nepal and are already on their way to Nuptse for a challenging climb. The duo checked in from Namche Bazaar where they report poor weather in Khumbu. They seem unconcerned so far however, as they are just starting their trek and will take the time to acclimatize. Ueli also reports that Namche is very quiet, with few tourists in the area. That could be an ominous sign for the tourism industry there as we head into the normally busy fall trekking season.

That's it for now. Watch for updates on Monday with news on summit attempts. Hopefully all will go well this weekend.

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