Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Himalaya Spring 2016: Summit Push Begins on Annapurna

While teams of climbers continue to make their way to their base camps on Everest, Lhotse, and other 8000-meter peaks throughout the Himalaya, those on Annapurna are now preparing to make a summit push. The weather there remains a bit dicey at the moment, but high winds that have buffeted the upper slopes of the mountain should die down over the next few days, possibly granting access to the summit by this coming weekend.

According to a report from ExWeb the Sherpas charged with fixing ropes up the mountain will climb directly from BC to Camp 2 today to prepare for finishing the installation of the lines from C3 to the summit. They'll move just ahead of the main group of climbers, with the plan of finishing their work and reaching the top on Friday of this week.

Meanwhile, the other climbers will move from Base Camp up to Camp 1 today, then proceed from there based on the weather and how quickly the ropes can be installed. According to Australian climber Chris Jensen Burke, she and her teammates will reach C1 today on schedule, and move up one camp each successive day until they are in Camp 4 on Friday. They'll then rest briefly in C4 before setting out for the summit on Friday evening with the hope of topping out on Saturday morning, before descending back to Camp 2 on the same day. If all goes according to plan, they should be back in Base Camp by Sunday.

This weather window is a bit of a tight one. There are essentially two days open on the weekend for teams to summit. The weather is expected to clear on Friday, then heavy snow is in the forecast starting on Sunday. With such a narrow window, everything has to fall into place in order for the teams to have success, but the plan is sound and the climbers are doing everything they can to get themselves into place in order to take advantage of the calm weather that is expected at the end of the week.

We'll be keeping a close eye on the progress of the teams and the weather forecast of course. I'll share any updates on this early season summit bid as it comes in. Good luck to everyone who is moving up the mountain today.

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