Himalaya Spring 2009 Update: Acclimatization and Camp Building

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All across the Himalaya a similar process is now getting underway, as the teams begin focusing on the all important process of building their high camps, and in the process, their own acclimatization as well.

On Everest, the route through the Icefall was established several days back, and teams have wasted no time in crossing through, and building their first camp on the other side. One team, the Lhotse-Everest Traverse squad, is hoping to go as high as Camp 3 already to pack in as much acclimatization time as possible.

Most of the Himex team is off to Lobuje, where they are making an acclimatization climb according to Billi Bierling, a journalist based in Kathmandu, who is part of the team. Sheโ€™s actually in Gorak Shep, the last village before BC, and will be joining the rest of the crew there shortly. Speaking of Himex, the big boss Russell Brice, landed in base camp a few days back, and is sporting some very nice, high class accommodations in effort to remain as comfortable as possible on the mountain.

While some of their climbers are still arriving in BC, the Sherpas for IMG and Peak Freaks have begun moving their way up the mountain, and have already established Camps 1 and 2. The Peak Freaks report that the big logistical meeting was held today, with about 30 team leaders in attendance, and possibly being filmed by Discovery. According to the blog post, safety issues were discussed, as were the workload for fixing the lines, with Himex taking the lead in that area. Will Russell Brice take control and organize those elements the same way he did for so long on the North Side? Sounds like his team is definitely making their presence known.

On the North Side of the mountain, teams are just now making their way into base camp, so theyโ€™re a bit behind schedule, although they deal with different logistical issues, and the Chinese are handling the fixing of the lines, so there is likely to not be any problems for those few teams that will be climbing from that side of the mountain.

ExWeb is reporting that over on Annapurna the weather conditions are particularly bad, which is making things rough there at the moment. Edurne Pasaban is en route to Kangchenjunga, and reports beautiful but challenging trekking. She says that that the porters are exhausted, and they need to hire a new team, but there arenโ€™t many available at the moment. On Manaslu, teams have already gone as high as C3, so the process is proceeding according to plan. There is some talk that the first summit bid could begin there as early as this weekend if the weather holds out.

Finally, Andrew Lock announced on his website a few days back that he was unable to obtain a permit to climb Shisha Pangma, and will now head home instead. He hopes to be back in the Fall to give it another go.

Kraig Becker

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