Himalaya Fall 2009: Climbers Making Progress

More news from the HImalaya, where the weather seems to have improved in general, and the teams are going to work, full steam ahead.

Starting off on Makalu, Ueli has updated us on his progress, and from the sound of things, this is not going to be an easy climb, even for a guy who makes climbing look easy! Over the weekend Ueli made an ascent up to 6700m to take a look at the challenge ahead, as he is planning a solo, alpine style ascent of the West Pillar. What he describes is a very difficult path ahead, and it was enough to make him consider packing up and going home. A good night’s rest back in BC helped him recover, but if Ueli was seriously reconsidering, it should say something about the difficulty of this climb. If anyone can do it however, it’s probably him.

Progress is continuing on Manaslu according to schedule, with the Altitude Junkies reporting that the entire team has now gone up to Camp 1, with a few going even higher to explore the route to C2, which the Sherpas have finished setting the ropes to. Great weather has made is possible for the acclimatization process to truly get underway, and the team is taking advantage of the window while they can.

Speaking of Manaslu, it seems that it is a popular ski destination this Fall, with two teams, one from Chile, the other from the U.K., both planning on making a ski descent. I know that mountaineering on a big peak like this is inherently challenging, but skiing down one seems even crazier! Fun, but crazy! 🙂

ExWeb has a host of updates from the region as well, including the news that the Korean team has arrived in BC on Annapurna, where they’ve already started to go to work. They will be joined next week by Oh Eun-Sun, the climber who will claim the distinction of being the first woman to summit all 8000m peaks if she successfully reaches the summit.

The word from Shisha Pangma is that Carlos Pauner and Javier Perez have departed BC for Kathmandu. Carlos slipped and fell this past weekend while shuttling supplies up to C2, and broke a rib, which has made it painful for him to even breathe. He and his team thought it was best if he returned home to heal rather than try to spend much more time on the mountain.

The Basque Team continues to work the route on Everest’s North Side as well, although we haven’t heard a lot out of them so far. So far they’ve spent two nights above 6500 meters on the normal route, and they’ll go as high as 7500m while the scout the Hornbein Couloir and complete their acclimatization. Once they are finished with that, they’ll begin their real climb, which is up the Couloir itself.

Finally, hopping over to India, the Field Touring Alpine Team is in the midst of their summit bid on Satopanth. The team climbed up to C1 yesterday and are expected to be shuttling gear to C2 today. They’ll “climb high and sleep low” however, by returning back to C1 for the evening. If all goes according to plan, they hope to top out around the 21st of the month. Good luck team!

Kraig Becker

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