Himalaya Update: Ueli Tackles Annapurna

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A few updates from the HImalaya today as things continue to heat up in Nepal.

First up, Ueli Steck has announced on his website and in the Hardwear Sessions Blog that he, and his climbing partner Simon, are in Kathmandu, but will soon be heading out to Tengkampoche, a 6500m peak, for an acclimatization climb, before tacking on Annapurna later in the Spring. Ueli says that the past few months have been spent on tour, giving 45 presentations on his climbs. But now, it’s time to get back to work. He notes that “All our thoughts will be absorbed in climbing” and you get the distinct impression that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Turning our eyes to Everest, there are a few things to report today as well. Renee over at the Everest Is Ours Blog is reporting that The Peak Freaks are the first team to reach Base Camp, where they have found the Icefall Doctors already hard at work. The Doctors will be laying down the lines and ladders that are used to cross through the dangerous Khumbu Icefalls, the most dangerous portion of Everest, so that climbers can move beyond them to get to Camp 1 and beyond. Preliminary reports say the route may be ready as early as next week, and the Doctors will stay on through early June, maintaining the route and repairing it as needed. Everest is said to have little snow on it this season, thanks to a dry winter, but it’s also reported to be colder than usual, which may help with Icefall maintenance.

I’ve heard conflicting reports on the rumor that no sat phones or other communication devices would be allowed in BC. I had a note from someone currently trekking in the Khumbu Valley who says that they haven’t heard anything about that yet there, although there could be a surprise waiting once they reach Base Camp. On the other hand, the Peak Freak’s latest update today says that their man on the ground hasn’t checked in since reaching BC yesterday. The first day this hasn’t happened. They’re waiting to hear if that’s due to a technical snafu or if his phone has been confiscated. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m told to take things with a grain of salt for now, as there are still too many rumors circulating and not enough concrete facts.

The Silly Season on Everest continues…

Kraig Becker

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