Friday, November 13, 2015

Himalaya Fall 2015: No Summit on Burke-Khang

Just a quick update from the Himalaya today, as most of the expeditions have either wound down by this point, or still holding in place as they wait for better weather. The season is starting to run short now, with only a few more weeks to go before winter will completely shut things down. Still, there are a few teams still holding out hope that they can find success this year where others have not.

Unfortunately, the Burke-Khang team will not be one of those squads. The group, which was led by Madison Mountaineering, has abandoned their summit attempt due to unstable conditions near the top of the mountain. They had hoped to top out earlier in the week, and were reportedly within striking distance of the summit when they encountered a rock wall that was too dangerous to attempt. The entire group – including Bill Burke whom the mountain is named after – returned to Base Camp a few days ago, and flew out to Lukla by helicopter yesterday. They're now waiting for a flight back to Kathmandu, before heading home.

Over on Ama Dablam, Carlos Soria is on the move and hoping to summit in the next few days. His team is currently in Camp 2 on that mountain, and with a good weather window ahead they should be able to top out over the weekend. While not an 8000 meter peak, Ama Dablam remains a popular mountain to climb in Nepal, in part because of its beauty. It is also one of the few mountains that has actually seen some success this fall.

Finally, Conrad Anker and David Lama should now be in the Khumbu Valley and trekking towards their eventual goal of Lunag-Ri. The two hope to climb the Northwest Face of that mountain, which sits along the border to Nepal and Tibet. At 6895 meters (22,261 ft) it will provide a considerable challenge, particularly this late in the season when the weather could be potentially more unpredictable than it has been thus far.

There aren't too many more expeditions underway at the moment for us to follow. We'll continue to watch the South Korean team on Lhotse of course, and the Poles still haven't given up on the summit of Annapurna IV. But for the most part, things are getting very quiet in the Himalaya. Soon, we'll turn our attention to the spring, when expeditions to Everest will resume, and there will be lots of action to follow. For now though, things are starting to grind to a halt as winter approaches.

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