Himalaya and Karakorum Winter Update: Broad Peak Team Back In BC

Artur climbs 01 09 09.
Lots of news and information from the Himalaya and Karakorum today as teams continue their winter climbs in those mountain ranges.

Lets start off with the Broad Peak Team and an update from Don Bowie on his website. The boys are back in base camp after climbing to 7000 meters and establishing their Camp 3 at that altitude. The team is moving very fast, and Don says in the 18 days they’ve been on the mountain, 10 of them have been active, which is excellent considering the weather conditions and time of year. There is a period of storms forecasted for the immediate future, which means that they will be resting, gathering their strength, and preparing to go. Their next climb up the mountain will be a summit attempt.

Don also wanted us to know that it isn’t just he, Robert Szymczak, and Artur Hajzer climbing the mountain as many, myself included, have indicated. There is actually a full team of eight climbers, and besides the three men above, they are joined by Qadrat Amin, from Shimshal, age 39, Amin Ullah, from Shimshal, age 36 Muhammad Ali, from Sadpara, age 32, Muhammad Taqi, from Hushe, age 28, and Didar Cook Extraordinaire, from Hunza, age 30. Apologies to the other team members. I definitely did not intend to slight their contribution to the climb.

Meanwhile, we finally have news from the Czech Team on Manaslu, and it isn’t good. As I’ve mentioned, their website has been dormant for several weeks, and we’ve been left wondering what they’ve been up to. Today, a slew of updates have been posted, dating back all the way to Christmas, and the bottom line is that the expedition is over. It seems that the team struggled mightily between C1 and C2, but the massive seracs in that region of the mountain proved insurmountable, with thick ice everywhere, and a layer of snow covering the mountain. So, discretion being the better part of valor, the team beat a hasty retreat, and celebrated the New Year in a tea house, before returning to Kathmandu and then home.

Finally, Simone Moro is also reporting in as he and Denis Urubko prepare to make their attempt on Makalu. The team has run into a logistical snag it seems however, as a fresh blanket of one meter deep snow has dissuaded the porters from carrying gear to base camp, leaving the mountaineers in a tough spot. Denis says he tried to persuade the porters with more money and shorter days, but to no avail. Now they are considering airlifting the supplies to BC, which will cost them a lot of money.

As you can tell, these winter climbs are incredibly difficult. Several have been over before they ever really got underway, and in the case of the Makalu climb, they’re still waiting to actually get to the mountain and give it a go. The winter storms will not give up their prizes lightly, and all the climbers still have a lot of work to do before they are done. Continued good luck to all still on the mountain.

Kraig Becker

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