We’ll start with news from Pakistan, where we learn that the Free Dream Team has left Trango Towers after poor weather forced them off the Nameless Tower. It seems the team had an incredibly bad last few days on the mountain, battling altitude sickness, extreme cold, and frozen ropes. In the end, they realized that a summit was just not going to happen, and elected to return to Islamabad, where they faced an entirely different obstacle. It seems that all flights in and out of the capital have been suspended indefinitely following the terrorist attack on the Marriott Hotel there a few days back. The team was flying British Airlines, and officials have told them that it could be as long as the end of the year before flights resume. They now face the unenviable task of finding a way home from Pakistan. Yikes!
Over in the Himalaya, things are starting to look a bit better, with climbers expected to begin moving up to C2 on Cho Oyu, with the Summit Cilimb and IMG teams leading the way. There are also reports of a large Chinese team in ABC preparing to make their assault on the mountain.
On Manaslu, the teams are still digging out from the big snowstorm that hit the mountain over the weekend. The tents at C1 are still being dug out, and now that camp will have to be re-established before they can go any higher. Edurne Pasaban reports in her dispatches that going higher than “Campo Uno” is a bit dangerous at this point. The heavy snow has made the trail to C2 very unstable, and it’s much worse higher up on the mountain. Climbers will wait for things to settle down before going higher.
Finally, over on Baruntse, the summit push has been postponed due to bad weather that only continued to get worse over the past few days. Things are expected to improve heading into the weekend however, so the Alpine Ascents Team will look to give it another go then.
The article also notes that the heavy restrictions that China has placed on travel in Tibet is really having an impact on the economy in the region and the lives of the Sherpas. Normally there would be a steady stream of climbers headed to Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma this time of year, but due to the Chinese crackdown in Tibet, many have shied away. This has left a lot of Sherpas without work, and struggling to find someone to hire them. The fear is that this will continue on into the spring, when the vast majority of the Everest climbers arrive. If the North Side is shut down for another season, it could be disastrous.
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