Thursday, September 01, 2016

Himalaya Fall 2016: Nobu Heads to Everest, Climbers Missing in Pakistan


The fall climbing season is upon us with several expeditions already underway in Nepal, while others begin to ramp up elsewhere. Last week several large teams set out for Manaslu, which will be a popular peak this season. Those climbers are just now getting settled into Base Camp where they will soon begin their acclimatization process. But elsewhere, things are starting to get very interesting.

Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki reportedly left Kathmandu for Lhasa, Tibet yesterday. After making five previous attempts to climb Everest from the South Side in Nepal, he'll make his sixth attempt from the North Side instead. Kuriki says that after he acclimates, he'll attempt to climb the Great Couloir route in alpine style solo and without oxygen.

In 2015, Kuriki attempted the same approach from the South Side only to be turned back at Camp 4 due to high winds and deep snow. This year he hopes to have more success, with a change in scenery helping to bolster is efforts. Back in 2012 he famously got stranded high on Everest and had to be rescued, but severe frostbite cost him parts of nine fingers. 

Hopefully he'll find more success this year. 

When he gets to BC on the North Side he won't be alone. Spanish ultrarunner Kilian Jornet is already there, and has been acclimatizing for his attempt at a new speed record on Everest. He'll also make one push up the mountain, climbing without oxygen, and incredibly lightweight gear. There is no word yet on when that attempt might come, and there have been few updates on his progress in recent days. For now, we wait.

Finally, there is some sad news out of Pakistan, where the Karakoram climbing season has essentially just wrapped up. Climbers Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson have gone missing on the Ogre II, and search and rescue operations are currently underway there. 

The duo haven't been seen in last Monday – August 22. On that evening, the headlamps of the two American's were spotted heading up the mountain but poor weather moved in over the ensuing days, obscuring the view from Base Camp. Dempster and Adamson had planned to spend five days on their summit bid, which would have put them back in BC by August 26. There has been no word from them however, so friends and family have been raising funds to pay for a search team to begin looking for the missing men. 

The Ogre is also known as Baintha Brakk, and is considered amongst the most difficult mountains in the world. Standing 7285 meters (23,901 ft) in height, it is both a technical and physically demanding climb. The approach is incredibly steep and dangerous which is why 24 years past between the first ascent in 1977 and the second in 2001. Dempster himself paired with Hayden Kennedy to climb Ogre for the third time in 2012. 

Hopefully the two men will be found safe higher up on the mountain, but unfortunately that is seldom the case. Lets continue to hold out hope however, as there is still a chance they are alive and in need of some assistance in getting down. 

That's all for now. More updates to come soon. 

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