Monday, November 13, 2017

Himalaya Fall 2017: Kammerlander Pulls the Plug on Manaslu Expedition.

Another quick update from the Nepal today where the autumn climbing season is quickly drawing to a close. With November nearly half over, only a handful of teams remain in the big mountains, and just two are still climbing on 8000-meter peaks. After today, there will be only one.

Yesterday Hans Kammerlander posted an update from Manaslu, and the news wasn't good. He and his team – which consisted of climbing partner Stephan Keck and a documentary film crew – have decided to end their attempt to summit the 8163 meter (26,781 ft) peak due to poor conditions. From the sound of things it is simply too dangerous to climb with high winds at higher altitude along with heavy snow along the entire route.

The snow is so deep in fact that the Italian mountaineer says he has never seen so much snow on an 8000 meter peak. He says that he has only encountered this much powder while climbing in Alaska. A few days back, Kammerlander, Keck, and four Sherpas climbed up to Camp 1 and found that the snow was usually as deep as their knees and hips, but on several occasions they sank up to their armpits too. Naturally, this makes climbing the mountain extremely difficult and exhausting, so they have elected to pull the plug and head home.

Some of the film crew have already left Base Camp, but the rest of the team will go up the mountain to film some scenes for the documentary about Kammerlander today or tomorrow. After that, they will like return to BC, organize and pack their gear, and return to Kathmandu later in the week.

With the team's departure from Manaslu imminent, that leaves just Sung-Taek Hong and Jorge Egocheaga still toiling away on an 8000-meter mountain this season. They are Lhotse and will decide in the next few days if they will make another attempt on the South Face there or return home as well.  Poor conditions forced them to turn back on their summit bid earlier in the month, but they have enough fuel, supplies, and determination to give it one more shot if the weather cooperates. We should know more about those efforts by mid-week or so.

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