Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Himalaya Spring 2018: A New Climbing Season Begins in Nepal

We haven't even reached the end of March just yet, and teams are already coming and going from Kathmandu. The 2018 climbing season is about to truly get underway as the first expeditions start to make their way out to their respective base camps. As usual, it is going to be a wild and busy two months in the Himalaya, and we'll be doing our best to keep you informed of everything that is going on.

Right now, hundreds of mountaineers around the world are wrapping up their last minute planning, packing their gear, and preparing to depart for what will likely be six to eight weeks in the high mountains. At this stage of the expedition they are at a frenzied pace as they say goodbye to friends and family and hurriedly go through a long list of things to do before they leave home. Some will be exhausted before they even get on the plane to fly to Nepal.

The early bird expeditions have already begun arriving, and in the case of International Mountain Guides, they've already left Kathmandu and are starting the trek to Everest Base Camp. In fact, they've already reached Namche Bazaar in the Khumbu Valley, which is the last largish village, and a fun milestone, on the way to the mountain. They'll likely rest there today before proceeding onward.

Similarly, the Adventure Consultants are getting prepared to leave the Nepali capital, but their advance team is already in BC and preparing for the arrival of their clients. Before the climbers ever arrive the support staff is busy getting the campsite set up so that tents are in place for everyone to get settled. They'll also set up kitchen tents, shared communal spaces, latrines, and other equipment that will help make Base Camp home for the next six weeks.

Everest isn't the only place that is starting to see activity. 79-year old Spanish climber Carlos Soria is back in Nepal once again to make his seventh attempt on Dhaulagiri. This would be Carlos' 13th 8000-meter peak if successful, and while he remains a strong climber at his age, he hasn't always had the best of luck with weather in recent expeditions.

Another expedition to keep an eye on is young Matt Moniz, who is returning to Everest once again, this time looking for successful summits not only of that mountain, but next door neighbor Lhotse. He's going up with Willie Benegas, with both taking part in a gnome study while there. That includes taking blood samples at high altitude, because climbing alone isn't enough of a challenge.

Swarms of other teams will be arriving over the next week or two, each with their own strategy on how the'll approach the climb. The airport, hotels, restaurants, streets, and shops of Kathmandu will be even more crowded and bustling than ever as these men and women come and go as quickly as they can. Things are about to get very interesting and of course we'll be keeping a close eye on the entire season with regular updates on progress and major news. Stay tuned for more soon.

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