Karakorum Season Ends, Himalaya Fall Season Begins

800px ChoOyu fromGokyo
With August now behind us, the Karakorum climbing season is pretty much over, and the attention will once again turn to the Himalaya, and the Fall season there. To that end, we have a few late season updates from Pakistan, and a look ahead towards climbers returning to Tibet at last.

First up, Everest News has finally posted an update from K2 with word that it’s finally over on that mountain. There was only one team remaining at this point, from Sunny Mountain Guides, consisting of George Dijmarescu, Mingma Tunduk Sherpa, and Rinjing Sherpa. George writes that were “defeated by the mighty K2 peculiar weather”, but that they have come down from their final summit bid in one piece and will now make the long return trip home.

We knew that it was going to be a long shot for this team. They were the only ones still on the mountain, and with no fixed ropes on the Bottleneck, it was going to be very tough going. Bad weather had dropped more snow on top of the mountain, and just passing through that region would have to have a psychological toll considering what happened there just a month ago. It’s good to know that the tree men are down and safe. K2 will be there next year for another go.

Meanwhile, ExWeb has an update from Pakistan as well, with the news that one team remains on Nanga Parbat, where Fabrizio Zangrilli and his team are trying to wait out the weather to make a late season push to the summit. That weather hasn’t been all that cooperative however, as it has now snowed for more than three days straight, and it’s beginning to look like the end of the season will shut down that mountain as well.

Climbers are now turning their attention to the Himalaya again, with the Fall season gaining a reputation for being an excellent time to climb, free from crowds, and the hustle and bustle of the Spring. Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world, is a popular destination for this time of year, but with Tibet still being shut down to foreigners, permits have been up in the air.

Word finally came to a Spanish team just last week that they will be granted entry at long last. The four climbers were just three days away from their departure to Kathmandu when the received the word from the Chinese government, who had been waiting for the Olympics to end before confirming the permit and reopening the borders of Tibet. There are still some restrictions in place however, as all members of the team are required to enter and leave Tibet from the same point and they all most cross together, at the same time. The Spanish team had hoped to bring a reporter to cover parts of the expedition, but now they will go alone thanks to these new restrictions.

It’s good to see that Tibet is finally opening up again. Perhaps soon trekkers and other tourists can return to the country, and life there can finally get back to normal. Expect more updates on the Fall season in the days ahead, and more word on the Chinese restrictions as well.

Kraig Becker

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