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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Where to Get Your Next Mountaineering Fix

So the Himalaya climbing season is over, and we won't likely see anyone on Everest – North or South Side – until the spring of 2017. But, that doesn't mean that we can't continue to get our armchair mountaineering fix from other locations as well. Quite the contrary in fact. As the Himalaya shut down, the focus only shifts to other locations.

At the moment, the Denali climbing season in Alaska is ramping up. Teams from RMI, IMG, Alpine Ascents, and numerous others are already on the mountain and going through the steps of preparation and acclimatization. In fact, some of the squads are even nearing their summit push, provided the notoriously wild weather on the mountain is cooperative. And since this peak serves as a good training ground for moving on to the Himalaya, many of the climbers are building important skills that will serve them elsewhere in the years to come.

Later in the month, we'll start to see teams heading to the Karakoram as well, with climbers setting their sights on K2, Broad Peak, and possibly even Nanga Parbat. Those are some of the most difficult and demanding mountains to climb anywhere in the world, and the unique landscapes of Pakistan makes it a challenge just to get to Base Camp. We'll be following those expeditions very closely as well.

In the fall, we'll no doubt see a number of expeditions head back to the Himalaya too. While not nearly as busy as the spring climbing season, the fall often brings some unique projects on the big mountains. Everest sees very little traffic at that time of year but some of the other mountains – particularly in Nepal – often have small, highly talented, teams making daring alpine-style ascents in a fast and light fashion.

Finally, the winter is often a quiet time for climbing the big mountains for obvious reasons. But this year, we know that a Polish team has set its sights on attempting K2 during the coldest, harshest, most dangerous season of all. That alone should make for an interesting season, as no one has been able to accomplish that feat yet, and far too many have died trying.

Of course, there are always new expeditions that pop up that we don't expect or hear much about until they are underway or even over. I'm sure 2017 will bring us a few of those as well. The point is, the spring climbing season may be over, but there will still be plenty of daring and fascinating mountaineering expeditions to follow in the days ahead. For now, we take a break, catch our breath, and wait for more to come.

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