Himalaya Fall 2009: Death on Shisha

It has been a tumultuous fall season in the Himalaya with some great climbs and disappointing results, mostly due to the wildly unpredictable weather that is common in the region this time of year. That weather has forced many teams to go home, but a few intrepid expeditions are still there, and trekking to some of the lesser known peaks as we speak.

There was tragic news a few days back from Shisha Pangma, where Italian climber Roby Piantoni fell while on a particularly tricky section of the climb. His team descended to find his body, and then buried on the mountain, but his family has requested that it be sent home, so today, a ceremony was held for him on the mountain, and operations are underway to recover his remains. Several climbers, include Edurne Pasaban, and her Sherpas, are helping in the recovery, which will entail taking his body back to Nepal via Yak due to a ban on helicopter use in the area. With this sad news, I send my condolences to Roby’s friends and family in their time of grief.

Australian Andrew Lock finished up his climb on Shisha awhiel back, and in the process, claimed his final 8000 meter peak. That story has been picked up by the mainstream audience back in his homeland, with the media reporting on the expedition and the challenges to his climb. Andrew has already shared his thoughts on his accomplishment, but if you want to read a different account, check out this story over at the Australian Broadcasting Company’s website.

Turning away from that sad news, it appears that the Korean team on Annapurna is getting ready to have a second go at the mountain. Reports seem to indicate that they are on the move and will be heading up over the weekend with an eye on reaching the summit on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. If successful, Oh Eun-Sun will become the first woman to summit all 14 of the 8000 meter peaks, so stay tuned for updates on that.

The Climb With Us Team, led by Jaime Clarke continues their trek to Pumori. I’ve been reminded that you can get updates on the expedition not on from the Climb With Us website but also the Live Out There page too. The expedition is an opportunity for the team to field test some new outdoor gear courtesy of Hanesbrands, before they head to Everest in the spring. It’ll be a few more days before they reach BC yet, and then things will get really interesting.

Expect further updates from teams in the region in the days ahead, as Field Touring Alpine, Adventure Consultants, Peak Freaks, IMG, and others all have climbers en route to Pumori, Ama Dablam, and more.

Kraig Becker

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