Monday, September 11, 2017

Himalaya Fall 2017: Acclimatizing in the Rain and Snow

The fall climbing season in Nepal is well underway now, with teams spread out across the Himalaya in preparation for the challenges ahead. Most are now settled in their respective Base Camps and have even begun acclimating at higher altitudes. But so far, the weather has not been particularly cooperative, with plenty of rain and snow to keep things from becoming too routine.

On Manaslu there has been steady rain or consistent snow showers for most of the season thus far. Despite those conditions however, most of the squads on the mountain have been acclimatizing nicely with hikes on the flanks of the mountain. Meanwhile, the Sherpa teams have already been working to install ropes up to Camp 2, and according to dispatches from the Adventure Peaks team, most of the mountaineers were preparing to head up that point late last week. The plan was to spend a night at both C1 and C2 before returning to BC, weather permitting. It seems likely that they are still wrapping up that first rotation now and should be heading back down for a rest shortly.

Meanwhile, over on Dhaulagiri, Carlos Soria and his team are in the midst of their first acclimatization rotation as well. They too have had very little breaks from the snow and rain, but have gone up to Camp 1 nevertheless. The plan was to proceed on to C2 as well, but poor conditions kept them in place for an extra night. If the weather improves, they will continue up to Camp 2 today and spend a night there as well, but it all depends on how safe it will be to continue climbing.

Finally, Korean alpinist Sung Taek Hong and his Spanish climbing partner Jorge Egocheaga Rodriguez are now en route to Lhotse. The duo were scheduled to fly out of Kathmandu on Saturday and begin the trek up the Khumbu Valley. They'll acclimatize along the way by bagging a few other peaks in the region before heading on to Base Camp, where they'll begin preparations to take on the very tough South Face of the mountain. With no other climbers on Lhotse this season, and Everest completely abandoned as well, it appears they will have the place to themselves.

At this point it is tough to determine if the rain and snow are still part of the monsoon or if the Himalaya are having poor weather conditions in general. Typically the monsoon begins to dissipate by now, clearing the way for climbers to make their way up the big peaks. But, so far there has been lots of rain and snow, which has hampered their efforts. Hopefully conditions will improve soon across the entire region.

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