I’ve been mentioning it for weeks, and now it is upon us. The 2010 Himalaya season has begun, with the first teams already arriving in Kathmandu and setting out for the various peaks that they will challenge this spring. Meanwhile, as has become all to common in recent years, it seems that Tibet is once again closed to outside visitors.
ExWeb cited reports from climbers yesterday that the borders into Tibet are once again closed, with no set date for when they’ll reopen again. Rumors are suggesting that the travel restrictions will be lifted on April 10, although climbers may be allowed in sooner than that. As has been the case the past few years, the closure seems to be in conjunction with the anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising, which took place 51 years ago tomorrow. Reportedly, more than 400 people have already been arrested in Lhasa alone as part of a nationwide crackdown by the Chinese, who continue to insist they have nothing to hide in the country.
With Tibet once again sealed off to the outside world, mountaineers are headed to Nepali peaks to get the climbing season underway. Edurne Pasaban, for instance, is on her way to Annapurna. Her and the rest of the team, flew to Pokara today, where they’ll begin the trek to Annapurna Base Camp. They are already prepared to face challenging conditions however, as the snow is said to still be quite deep above 4500 meters.
Korean climber Miss Oh Eun-Sun has arrived in Kathmandu, and will be heading to Annapurna soon as well. She’ll make the famous trek there to acclimatize first, then hopes to set up camp in BC by mid-April. From there, she’ll be concentrating on her final 8000 meter peak, the 26,545 foot main summit of the massif.
Similarly, Joao Garcia of Portugal is going for his final 8000 meter peak as well, on the same mountain. ExWeb says that he has climbed all the previous 13 eight-thousanders without supplementary oxygen, and of course will do the same here. He departs Lisbon for Kathmandu tomorrow, and will spend some time there before moving on to Annapurna too. Check out the video below to learn more about Joao.
Finally, the season is underway. Expect more news in the days to come, with climbers on their way to Everest by the end of the month. It’s about to get very busy in the Himalaya.