In their summary article ExWeb notes that as of this moment, there are 31 teams scheduled to go up the South Side of Everest, up from 29 last season, and 22 teams aiming for the North Face, down from 31 teams last year. While it is early yet, and those numbers are sure to change, it’s interesting to note the sharp decrease in the number of teams on the North Side. If I were to venture a guess, I’d say that a number of climbers would rather avoid the media circus there that’s sure to come along with the Olympic Torch run up the mountain. The Chinese will be taking charge in Tibet for sure, and every other team will have to take a backseat to them until after the Torch has topped out.
As far as the rest of the Himalaya are concerned, there are currently 16 expeditions announced, down from 22 last year. Teams will be gunning for Manaslu, Makala, Dhaulagiri, Shisha Pangma, and of course Annapurna. Conspicuously absent from the list, at least for the time being, is Cho Oyu. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some teams headed that direction as well.
The list will be evolving with new teams being added, and probably a few coming off, as we approach the Spring Season. A few expeditions that I’ll be keeping a close eye will include David Tait’s attempt at a traverse sans oxygen. He’ll be climbing alongside the Marie Curie Team. The various climbers looking to set an “age record” on Everest should be interesting considering how many of them there are, and of course I’ll be cheering hard for Alan Arnette as he stands on top for the first time. All the usual suspects are back like Adventure Consultants, Alpine Ascents, and of course everyone’s favorite Russell Brice and his Himex Team.
The season will begin before we know it, and as always there will be plenty of stories to come from the mountain. Lets hope that this year we’ll have more stories of triumph and few, if any of tragedy.
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