Himalaya Spring 2009 Update: Acclimatizing in Namche Bazaar

By now you’re probably already getting tired of hearing me reference the First Ascent Team, the all-star mountaineering group with Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn, Melissa Arnot, and a host of others. Yesterday I mentioned that they had their own YouTube channel, which already has some great footage of the approach to base camp, and today I came across their Born Out There Blog, which is being updated as they travel as well.

The best part about this expedition is that they have plenty of resources at their disposal, as you can already tell, and we’re getting to follow along like never before. Daily video dispatches from the region and blog posts promise to give us a behind the scenes look at an Everest climb that we’ve possibly never had before. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it up when they get to the hard stuff.

For now, they’re in Namche Bazaar, and acclimatizing before they continue their trek. Namche is traditionally a place where trekkers and climbers rest for a day enroute to Everest. Check out their video from the place below.

The Eco Everest Team is now reportedly preparing to set off for the mountain as well, with the legendary mountaineer Apa Sherpa now in Nepal. Apa makes his home in the U.S., but travels back on yearly basis to guide a team up the mountain. He’ll be seeking his 19th successful summit this year, hopefully breaking his own record.

Alan Arnette is reporting on his Everest 2009 page that Apa won’t be alone this year though, as his wife will be on hand to witness his new milestone. Alan is also reporting that David Tait is currently en route to the mountain, and from his latest dispatch, it seems he’s also in Namche Bazaar.

Bill Burke is still hopeful that he can take a shot at at his planned traverse of Everest, but everyone is still waiting to see if the Chinese will begin issuing permits to climb the mountain, along with Shisha Pangma and Cho Oyu as well. Bill is currently on his way to Nepal, but with the announcement that the borders of Tibet will reopen on April 5th, I think there is a cautiously optimistic feeling amongst those who are hoping to climb in Tibet this spring.

Across the Himalaya, teams are now making their way to various mountains. Joao Garcia’s team is already on Manaslu and making gear drops, while Carlos Pauner and his partners are still making their way to that mountain. A number of teams are already establishing base camp on Annapurna as well, which looks to have its fair share of traffic this spring as well.

For the teams, it’s an interesting time. They’ve arrived back in the Himalaya, which has become common place for many of them this time of year, and they are trekking or otherwise finding ways to get to their destination.

Everything is rather hectic right now, but it’ll calm down quite a bit once they reach base camp and get settled there. Then the waiting will start, with occasional hikes up the mountain to establish their camps and acclimatize. Soon we’ll here talk of weather windows and summit days, and more, but in between, there will be an awful lot of waiting. Such is the spring climbing season in the Himalaya.

Kraig Becker

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