Friday, April 22, 2016

Himalaya Spring 2016: Ueli Steck and David Goettler on Their Way to Shishapangma

It has been a busy week in the Himalaya, where teams have been on the move all week in preparation for the season ahead. That includes some well known figures in the mountaineering world who are on their way to Shishapangma, and the first climbers reaching the North Side of Everest as well.

One of the expeditions that we'll be watching very closely this spring is the attempt by Ueli Steck and David Göttler on Shishapangma. The duo plan on making a fast and light, alpine style ascent of the 8046 meter (26.397 ft) peak along an entirely new route. As is usual with these two men, the climb will likely be ground breaking and interesting to watch unfold.

Ueli and David spent a couple of weeks acclimatizing in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal before returning to Kathmandu last weekend. From there, they flew to Lhasa in Tibet and started the trek to Shishapangma a couple of days ago. They've now spotted the mountain, but are still a few days from reaching BC, where they'll briefly rest before they start scouting their new route. Once fully acclimatized and ready to go, they'll start looking for a weather window to launch their summit bid.

With the Tibetan border now open, and Chinese officials issuing climbing permits, teams have now started crossing over from Nepal to make their way to their respective summits. The first teams have started to arrive in Base Camp on the North Side of Everest, where they are now getting settled. More climbers are expected in BC over the weekend as that side of the mountain starts to ramp up operations. Unlike on the South Side in Nepal, teams can drive to EBC, although it still takes a couple of days to get there as they try to acclimatize along the way.

Over on Annapurna, the remaining teams are watching the weather forecasts closely. High winds kept them from reaching the summit last weekend, but a weather window is expected to open in the next few days. That means that climbers could be on the move as early as this weekend. We'll keep an eye on how things shake out over the next few days.

That's all for now. More next week I'm sure.

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