Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fall Climbing Season in Nepal Ready to Ramp Up

It may seem hard to believe, but its almost time for the fall climbing season in the Himalaya to get underway. While not nearly as busy as the spring season, the autumn attracts plenty of foreign climbers as well, many of which use it as a training ground for a future attempt on Everest. Over the next few weeks, as the monsoon subsides for another year, at least 16 teams have already set out for various peaks across the region, with one 8000-meter mountain receiving the bulk of the attention.

According to The Himalayan Times, the most popular mountain this fall will be Manaslu (8163 m), which will see no fewer than 11 expeditions on its slopes in the weeks ahead. In total, 135 climbers and Sherpas have been given permits to climb that mountain, while an additional 33 will focus on Dhaulagiri (8167 m). Himlung Himal (7,126 m), Saribung (6,328 m ), Mustang Himal I (6,195 m) and Danfe Shail (6,103 m).

One of the big stories of the fall will be the return of Spanish climber Carlos Soria to the Himalaya. The 78-year old alpinist is setting his sights on Dhaulagiri once again this fall after failing to summit that mountain in the spring. In addition to Dhaulagiri, Soria has to summit only Shishapangma to claim all of 14 of the 8000-meter peaks.

As is often the case this time of year, there are no climbers attempting Everest in the autumn season. The mountain will remain all-but deserted until spring of 2018, when large teams will arrive in Base Camp once again. For now, only teams of trekkers will be in the Khumbu Region, provided there isn't a late season attempt on the mountain.

It is also important to point out that Tibet is completely shut down to foreign climbers this fall so there will be no attempts on any of the peaks that fall within that country. Chinese officials had already closed Everest for the autumn prior to the start of the spring climbing season, but following some illegal activity on the North Side of the mountain a few months back, the government decided to close the Tibetan borders for everyone.

As usual, we'll be keeping a close eye on the fall season as it unfolds. At the moment, it looks to be a fairly straight forward affair with most of the attention squarely focused on Manaslu. But, there are often a few surprises along the way, so we'll keep our ears to the ground to see what develops. Good luck to everyone headed to the mountains in the days ahead.

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