Everest 2008: No Foreign Journalists Allowed Either?

ExWeb posted an interesting update earlier today that says that Everest’s North Side BC may now be off limits to foreign journalists as well. According to the story, the Olympic Torch was set to leave Beijing today and make it’s way to Base Camp where it would wait until the route up the mountain was secure, and the weather permitted a summit attempt. All told, from Beijing to summit to completion, the coverage was expected to last about three weeks.

However, today, shortly before the entire entourage was set to depart, the journalists were told that the start was delayed until Saturday, and that they were not longer allowed in Base Camp when the torch makes it’s way up the mountain. The whole junket is now down to just ten days, with “bad weather” given as the reasoning, although that doesn’t seem to be a reason to kick them all out of BC once they are actually there. It’s also not like the journey to Base Camp is all that treacherous either, now that the road has been paced all the way up.

It should also be noted that China bowed under pressure to allow these foreign journalists in at all, and now it looks like they’ve found away to dump them when they go the chance. Does this mean we won’t see coverage of the Torch on the summit? Quite the contrary, I still believe you’ll see it all over the place, but the footage and stories will all be delivered via the Chinese, who will be able to control what video is released and tell the story exactly the way they want to.

In other news, some teams have managed to get a few messages out of the South Side Base Camp on Monday. Silvio Mondinelli, for instance, arrived in BC yesterday and was able to call out to friends and family. It is unknown though if the simply was able to make a call before his equipment was confiscated or not.

Away from Everest, teams on other Himalayan peaks continue to work away. On Annapurna for instance, the lines have been fixed up to C1, and work has begun on the route to C2 as well, which is expected to be the most challenging part of the climb. If the weather holds, we could start to see summit attempts as early as next week, although that seems a bit optimistic to me.

On Manaslu more teams are beginning to arrive in BC after having to make a long trek into the mountain. The word is that conditions on the mountain are less than stellar with lots of snow in the higher regions. Over on Makalu, the story remains the same, as teams have had no luck in getting the Nepalese Government to green-light the use of a helicopter to airlift them in. Climbers on that mountain now face a long trek of their own.

Finally, summit pushes are underway on Dhaulagiri, and we could have our first summit of the season as early as tomorrow. Most teams have stocked their camps up to C2 and are preparing to make their own push soon.

Kraig Becker

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