Thursday, March 17, 2016

Himalaya Spring 2016: Notable Climbs for the Season Ahead

The 2016 climbing season in the Himalaya is inching ever closer, and by the end of the month scores of mountaineers will begin descending on Kathmandu in anticipation to the start of their expeditions. Many of those climbers will be headed to Everest of course, while others will visit Annapurna, Shishapangma, Makalu, and a variety of other peaks. Most of those climbs will be along well established routes on those mountains, but some will be attempting unique ascents that could be groundbreaking. Here's a rundown of some of the more notable attempts for the season ahead.

One of the more interesting expeditions to keep an eye on this spring will be Ueli Steck and David Göttler's attempt of a new route on Shishapangma. According to ExWeb, they'll be trying a new direct route that Ueli spotted while in Nepal last year. They'll set off at the end of the month.

ExWeb is also reporting that Slovakian climber Peter Hamor, along with Horia Colibasanu, will be attempting an alpine style ascent of Manaslu along a new route after they've finished acclimatizing along the traditional route.

Yesterday on Facebook, popular Everest blogger and accomplished climber Alan Arnette announced that he'll be returning to Lhotse again this spring. Alan's climb on that mountain was cut short last year when the earthquake struck Nepal on April 25. As usual, he'll be climbing in support of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.

Kilian Jornet is going back to Everest this spring to have another go at the speed record. He'll be climbing from the North Side, and will most likely make a late season attempt, letting all of the traffic get out of the way. Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards will also be on that side of the mountain, with the hopes of potentially making a ski descent as well.


My friend Don Mann will be attempting to summit Everest from the South Side this spring. He'll be climbing to help several charities that support U.S. Navy SEALs and their families, as well as raise awareness of veterans. You can follow his climb with daily updates on FrogManCharities.org. Don will leave for Kathmandu in two weeks.

It looks like a number of climbers are already en route to Annapurna to attempt an early season summit on that mountain. This helps to lessen the threat of avalanches on that peak, which is notorious for such problems. The strategy worked well last year, with 13 people reaching the top early in April, more than a month ahead of the schedule for summits on Everest. This year, Carlos Soria, Chris Jensen Burke, Alex Gavan, and Tunç Findik all hope to take advantage of this approach and top out on Annapurna. Soria and Jensen Burke are already in Base Camp on the mountain, while others are still trekking there now. And after he is done here, Carlos plans to head to Dhaulagiri next.

Other interesting climbs include teams returning to Makalu after being shutdown due to the earthquake last year, as well as Spanish climber Juanito Oiarzabel attempting Dhaulagiri. As ExWeb indicates, he became the 6th person to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks back in 1999, but now he's hoping to do them all again. We'll be watching that expedition closely.

This is just a taste of what is to come. Stay tuned for more as we learn about other expeditions taking place in the Himalaya this spring.




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