April 1st has come and gone, and that means that things are really ramping up in the Himalaya, especially on Everest, where teams have been trekking to Base Camp for more than a week now. Well, on the South Side at least. It is business as usual in Nepal once again, but it seems the border into Tibet remains firmly shut.
According to ExWeb climbing teams headed for Everest’s North Side had their permits in hand on Friday, but were still not given entry visas into Tibet so they could begin the journey to that side of the mountain. There was no real explanation as to why the borders weren’t reopened at the beginning of the month as expected, but once again, the Chinese were not exactly being cooperative.
This is the third year in a row that entry visas have been difficult to acquire, to say the least. In 2008, the Chinese closed down the mountain altogether to allow their climbers to take the Olympic Torch to the summit, and last year entry was delayed due to the 50th anniversary demonstrations of the Dalai Lama going into exile. Eventually the borders did open, and teams made their way to the North Side, but very few ventured that direction due to the uncertainty of the situation. This year, it seems that that uncertainty remains. Who knows how long it’ll be before access to the mountain is granted.
Meanwhile, on the South Side, the Khumbu Ice Doctors have already gone to work, and are fixing a route through the Ice Falls using ropes and ladders. With the first climbers due in BC later this week, it is quite likely that they’ll find the route through the falls will already be finished when the arrive.
Alan Arnette posted a great story over the weekend that looks at the current state of affairs on the Everest, including some preliminary news from the major teams and insights into what they are experiencing at the moment. Fun fact of the day: The Himex team will have over 300 tents for their group alone!
On some of the other peaks in the Himalaya, things are starting to get interesting too. Miss Oh has arrived in Annapurna Base Camp, where she came face to face with Edurne Pasaban. They are the two ladies squaring off to become the first to climb all 14 8000 meter peaks. Meanwhile, the Iranian National Team is now on Dhaulagiri and has already established Camp 1 as the begin their process of taking on that mountain.
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