Monday, May 09, 2016

Himalaya Spring 2016: Summit Window Shaping Up On Everest, Go Time on Shishapangma?

The weekend brought a bit more clarity to the summit schedule on Everest, where rope fixing teams are still working on completing the installation of the lines but should wrap up those efforts over the next few days. And with good weather projected this week, the summit teams may not be far behind.

At the moment, most of the teams on the South Side of Everest are in Base Camp or even further down the Khumbu Valley. They'll all be heading back to BC soon however, as various reports say that climbers are now preparing to go to the summit as soon as the rope fixing is complete. That means we could potentially see the first summits of the past two years take place as soon as Friday, May 13. On top of that, the weather forecast looks very favorable through May 20, which means we could have a steady week of summit bids.

On the North Side, the story is a similar one. As of the start of the weekend, the ropes were fixed up to 8230 meters (27,000 ft), with the final lines set to be placed in the next few days. That will clear the way on the Tibetan side of the mountain too, with summit bids launching there as well.

Over the next few days, we're likely to see very few updates from Everest. It is the calm before the storm there at the moment. The climbers are resting, relaxing, and preparing for the challenge ahead. But their schedules are now falling into place, and within a few days they'll start their summit pushes. Even those who will delay past the initial rush are likely to be gearing up for the final stage of the season.

Meanwhile, over on Shishpangma it looks like it may be go time for Ueli Steck and David Göttler soon as well. They have yet to confirm when they will begin their attempt along a new route on the mountain, and a potential traverse down the opposite side. But the weather forecast there is said to be looking good for the next week, giving them plenty of time to begin their light and fast, alpine style ascent without oxygen. We'll be keeping an eye on their attempt as well.

While the next few days may be fairly quiet in the Himalaya, we're about to get vary busy. Stay tuned for lots of updates to come.

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