The weekend was another active one when it came to news from the Himalaya, even if Everest itself was, for the most part, still silent. The big story that made the most headlines was CNN, amongst others, reporting that Nepal has authorized the use of deadly force against pro-Tibet demonstrators during the Chinese Torch summit. What that means, in a nutshell, is that security forces on the South Side of Everest can shoot anyone attempting to go up the mountain to disrupt the Chinese proceedings at the top.
Furthermore, the security forces have claimed the right to search climbers gear, and if they find any type of anti-Chinese material, teams can be expelled from the mountain, with their climbing permits yanked. Both of these announcements underscore how serious Nepal is about ensuring that no one interferes with China. Hopefully everyone on the mountain will heed the warnings and there are no unfortunate incidences to report.
In other Everest news over the weekend, Jason over at The Adventurist quoted from a story at Summit Climb that a Sherpa had to be rescued from Everest after suffering what appeared to be a stroke at the time. Gyelzen Sherpa was making his way through the Icefall on his way to Camp 1 when the incident occurred and he had to be airlifted from the mountain. A group of Sherpas helped to carry him down to Pheriche hospital where he was later medivaced. Preliminary updates from the doctors say that Gyelzen is just fine, and just needs some rest. He is walking and talking normally, and the early diagnosis of a stroke seems to be off the mark, thankfully.
Meanwhile, ExWeb had a few updates of their own with the news that the Everest is now clear all the way up to C2, but not above. Teams have begun shuttling their gear up to C1 and 2, but of course they are strictly forbidden to go any higher until after May 10th.
The action away from Everest is starting to pick up as well, with the word that Valery and Nikolay have begun their assault on the West Ridge of Dhaulagiri. The two climbers are putting up a new route on the 8000m peak, that is described as long and challenging. Over on Annapurna teams are currently working on establishing Advanced Base Camp as work progresses on schedule. On Makalu teams have begun reaching Hillary Base Camp while on Manaslu teams are just beginning to trickle into BC. The region has been designated a “no fly zone” thanks to the proximity to the Tibetan boarder and the instability there, so climbers are forced to trek into BC rather than hop a flight on a helicopter. This has, of course, made for a challenging start to the climbing season on that mountain.
It should prove to be an interesting week in the Himalaya. I’m sure we’ll have few, if any, reports from Everest and Lhotse, while news will start to trickle in from the other mountains. An update from the North Side would be nice, as there are a lot of rumors floating around right now that suggest that the Chinese are working hard, but struggling a bit with high winds. Hopefully the weather will hold out so that the May 10th deadline will be met.
It’s good to see the teams establishing their camps on all the mountains. That means it’s business as usual, and they’re proceeding as best as they can with the schedules they’ve set out for themselves. Teams on Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and others have to be a bit thankful they avoided the circus on Everest this year. Everest is a circus every year it seems these days, but this year its the three ring variety. Under the Big Top. With more clowns.
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