I shared some updates from around Nepal on the ongoing climbing season there. Poor weather is expected in the mountains once again this week, so chances are there will be little movement over the next few days. But, we do have news from Everest, were the lone Japanese climber is now getting ready to his first attempt at reaching the summit.
According to this story from the Himalayan Times, the Icefall Doctors are working very hard to maintain the route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. As usual, that stretch the mountain is proving very tricky, but their efforts are helping to earn them the money they need to rebuild their houses following the April 25 earthquake.
The docs are working in support of Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki, who is reportedly now on the move on Everest, despite fresh snowfall across the region. According to the article linked above, Kuriki was expected to climb up to Camp 2 yesterday with a support team in tow. From there, he plans to climb to C3 today, then on to Camp 4 tomorrow, with the intention of launching his summit bid from that point on Thursday. If all goes as expected, he could top out and be back down by Friday.
But, as Alan Arnette points out in his latest blog post, it would be very unusual for someone who hasn't fully acclimatized to go straight for the summit. Kuriki did warm up on nearby Lbouche, but only went as high as 20,000 feet (6096 meters). In order for his body to be ready for the challenges it'll face above 8000 meters (26,246 ft), he really should make one more high altitude rotation, then return to Base Camp for a rest, before setting out for the summit.
There were some indications that the Japanese climber had gone up the mountain last week, so perhaps he completed a rotation at that point. We'll just have to wait to see how he performs over the next few days.
Meanwhile, Swiss climber Ueli Steck is setting off for Nepal today. He, along with climbing partner Colin Haley, will be attempting the very difficult Babanov route on Nuptse, a 7804 meter (25,603 ft) peak that is another popular mountain in the Himalaya. The Babanov route hasn't been done since it was first completed by Russian climbers Valeri Babanov and Yuri Koshelenko back in 2003 however, something Steck and Haley are hoping to change. Expect to hear a lot more about that expedition in the days ahead.
That's it for today. Now we wait and watch Everest to see how Kuriki does. Good luck to him on this summit bid. Hopefully he gets up and down safely.