Himalaya Fall 2009: Summits on Satopanth, Bids on Cho Oyu

It was another busy weekend in the Himalaya, as the teams continue to work towards their goals, while slowly acclimatizing to the altitude and building their high camps. But while most are still making their way up their mountain of choice, one team has already topped out.

The Field Touring Alpine Team sent out word today that they have successfully reached the summit of Satopanth, a 7075 meter peak in India’s Hindu Kush. The report says that the weather was perfect and the climb from C3 to the summit took just five hours. The team will return to C2 today before making their way back to BC tomorrow, where they’ll celebrate their success. Congrats everyone!

Over on Manaslu the Altitude Junkies are reporting good weather too, despite a forecast that had looked grim. Because of that, they’re making better progress than expected, nearly every one of the team members is on schedule and has spent a night at Camp 2, so the acclimatization process continues as expected. They do report that the climb up to C2 is more technical than last year however, and the 2-4 hour climb turned into a 3-7 hour ascent. Extra snow on the mountain is not making it easy.

ExWeb is reporting that Basque team of Alberto Iñurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo on Everest have gone as high as 7500 meters now and are reporting poor conditions as well. It seems that the snows at that level are quite deep, with the climbers sinking to their knees and while at that altitude, they were pounded by a blizzard while they spent a sleepless night in the tent.

With their acclimatization process now complete however, they’ll turn their eyes on the Hornbein Couloir, which was swept clean of snow after a major avalanche this weekend. Hopefully that’ll make a bit of an easier climb, as the couloir is challenging enough as is.

Andrew Lock reports in from Shisha Pangma, where he completed his Puja Ceremony on Saturday and was scheduled to go up to Camp 1 yesterday, spend the night, and move on to C2 with some supplies. He says that the team all have coughs and colds, which is natural in the region, but the weather is good, and they are itching to get underway.

The North Face Cho Oyu Trilogy Expedition is finally getting underway, with the latest news from their blog saying they have departed Kathmandu on their way to the mountain. Over the next 15 days they’ll be trekking in the valley as they work on their own acclimatization process, before making a bid on the fifth highest peak in the world.

Once they reach the summit, one of the team members will attempt to snowboard back down, and if that wasn’t enough, once they’re all back in BC, they’ll return to Kathmandu under their own power. Two will trail run the entire way, and the other two will mountain bike. I’ll take the bike, thanks.

Speaking of Cho Oyu, it seems teams that are already on the mountain have begun their summit bids, with IMG chiming in with that news earlier today, and if everything holds to the schedule, they’ll top out on Thursday of this week. Likewise, the Jagged Globe Team has finished their preparations, and they should begin their final ascents in the next day or two as well. Good luck everyone!

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “Himalaya Fall 2009: Summits on Satopanth, Bids on Cho Oyu”

  1. Do you ever hear any news about the Indian team on Everest? I imagine it's difficult to get info about them since they're the only team on the Nepal side. I did the base camp trek and got to meet some of them about two weeks ago and wish I could hear about their progress.

  2. I haven't heard anything, but I'll see if I can dig anything up. Sometimes the difficulty comes in a language barrier if I can't read the dispatches, but I'll see if I can find an English language update.

  3. Thanks! I know when I was there they had only gotten partway up the icefall, they even showed me some pics of it, but since the weather has cleared now they should be making progress. I'll especially be interested to hear more later if they make it to the summit and actually manage to ski down!

  4. Ola, what's up amigos? 🙂
    Hope to receive some assistance from you if I will have some quesitons.
    Thanks in advance and good luck! 🙂

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