Himalaya and Karakorum Winter Update: Teams Stuck in BC

First sunshine1 19 08.
Not much happening in the Himalaya and Karakorum these past few days. Bad weather has left the teams wondering when they’ll get a chance to make their summit bids, or if they’ll even get a chance at all.

On Makalu, Simone Moro and Denis Urubko are stuck in base camp after climbing as high as 7100m last week. They’ve built their camps and stocked supplies all the way up to that height, and have acclimatized well, thanks to their pre-climb trek, but now all they can do is sit and wait. They also continue to have issues with their communications equipment, according to ExWeb, with there Thuraya modem refusing to work. Another one is en route to the mountain, so hopefully regular dispatches will resume soon.

The story is much the same over on Broad Peak, where Don Bowie blogs about the extreme cold and how impossible it is to escape it. He also tells an amusing story of one of his first big, remote climbs in northern Canada, in which he called home to his then girlfriend, only to have his flakey satellite phone go out as he announced that polar bears had entered there camp. Needless to say, his now ex-girlfriend was not happy to have to wait for three weeks to get word on his condition.

With the extreme cold, the Broad Peak team is burning fuel more rapidly than anticipated, so last Saturday a couple of the boys hiked down the mountain to visit a military camp to see if they could buy some more. The trek took longer than expected, more than three hours one way, and they arrived to find the base empty, and no fuel to aid their cause. The seven hour round trip was for naught, but at least it gave them something to do for the day.

For now, the climbers on both mountains sit and wait. No word on when a weather window will open, but this is typical of the winter season on the big peaks. The weather is cold and nasty, and doesn’t clear out anytime soon, and storms can dump a meter of snow on their camps without any problem. Hopefully both teams will get their shot at their respective summits before they run out of time and supplies and are forced to go home.

Kraig Becker

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