Thursday, September 24, 2015

Himalaya Fall 2015: Turned Back on Makalu, Moving Up on Everest

The fall climbing season continues to unfold in the Himalaya where teams have been pressing ahead with their expeditions despite the challenging weather. While some are stuck in Base Camp at the moment, others are on the move and hoping to make progress over the next few days.

We'll start today's update on Makalu where the mountain has turned back a summit bid from the Alpenglow squad. According to the team's most recent dispatch, the team was in Camp 3 at 7467 meters (24,500 ft) after discovering waist deep snow, white conditions, and fresh avalanche activity above that point. The five member group was hoping to top out and make a ski descent of the mountain, but they weren't even able to reach Camp 4. They have since descended and are waiting for a better weather window before trying again.

Meanwhile, over on Everest, solo Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has updated his blog to share his movements. While no details are shared, it does appear that he'll climb up from Camp 2 to Camp 3 today, putting him at 7000 meters (22,965 ft). Whether or not he feels acclimatized enough to move up to C4 remains to be seen, but if he does, we could be looking at a summit attempt this weekend, weather permitting of course.

The Adventure Consultants have checked in from Manaslu, where the team is now in BC and resting for their upcoming summit bids. They expect to start heading up the mountain on Saturday which would put them in position to top out early next week.

The Himex team appears to be a bit ahead of that schedule. They plan on summiting on Saturday instead. This tells us that the weather must be stable on Manaslu at the moment, with a wide weather window open. In Base Camp, conditions have been less than ideal, but the forecast says things are better up top. So, they'll set out for the summit and hope for the best.

The Altitude Junkies are on the same schedule, and will be joining in on the fun, as their Sherpas are working closely with Himex and the Mountain Experience to get fixed ropes into place. According to their update, the weather is far from settled, and the teams are taking a bit of a gamble that things will work out. But if the gamble pays off, they'll all summit this weekend.

Finally, Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters have returned to Kathmandu after making the first ascent of the 6000 meter Jabo Ri. The duo are preparing to head home now after their successful expedition, but couldn't leave town without first checking in with Ms. Elizabeth Hawley to share the details of their expedition. Their climb was proof that there is plenty still to do in the big mountains, as there are literally dozens of unclimbed peaks waiting to be explored.

That's it for today. I'll be keeping a close eye on summit bids over the next few days. Hopefully we'll have news of success very soon.

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