Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Himalaya Spring 2016: Slovak Climbers Stranded on Everest, Summit Push Begins

The time is now on Everest, where a number of teams are now on the move with the hopes of making a final push to the summit later this week. Meanwhile, we get word today that a pair of climbers are stranded on the mountain following an avalanche, with rescue operations underway.

According to The Himalayan Times, Slovak climbers Vladimír Štrba and Zoltán Pál were attempting to go up the South-West Face of Everest above Camp 2 when an avalanche hit, injuring one of the men. Which of the two is hurt, and the accident of those injuries is unknown, but it s believed that the other climber is healthy and fine.

Unfortunately, they are unable to descend under their own power, so a group of four Sherpas were sent up to try to help. They reached C2, but have been unable to go up the South-West route due to unstable conditions on the mountain. Rescue helicopters have since been brought in to try to lend a hand, but they have been unable to locate them so far. Poor weather hampered further attempts and for now the rescue effort has stalled until morning.

In other Everest news, the rope fixing teams have now installed the lines up to the South Col and expect to reach the summit tomorrow. Once they do, the first of the guided teams will begin their final push to the top, which means we could see the first summits of the season as early as Thursday or Friday of this week. That is a bit ahead of schedule, and considering the weather forecasts indicate good weather well into next week, we could see summits coming at a slow, steady pace. That will be good for the safety of the climbers, and will hopefully prevent traffic jams on the Hillary Step or higher.


On the North Side of the mountain in Tibet, the story is a similar one. Ropes have been fixed nearly all the way to the summit, with work expected to wrap up there in the next day or two. After that, the teams on that side of the mountain will launch their summit bids as well, and since there are fewer teams climbing from Tibet, the fear of large crowds is greatly reduced. Those squads are acclimated and ready to go, and have already started getting themselves into position.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that a summit bid is well underway on Manaslu as well, with the team of Peter Hámor and Horia Colibasanu head up to the summit tonight. The weather is reportedly favorable, and the duo are climbing without oxygen or Sherpa support as they make their final bid. If successful, it will be Hámor's 13th 8000-meter peak.

Good luck to everyone as they set off to their respective summits.

Update: Success on Manaslu confirmed on Manaslu. ExWeb is also now reporting that Peter and Horia have now topped out along the standard route, and are now descending along the Japanese route. Hopefully they'll both get back down safely after what was reportedly a very tough ascent.

2 comments:

The Hungarian Scotsman said...

Zoltan Pál has the problem - one eye was injured in the avalanche and he can't see properly.

Kraig Becker said...

Thanks for the clarification.