Himalaya 2010: Edurne Claims Number 14, Summits on Everest!

It was a busy weekend across the Himalaya, with summits on a number of peaks, most notably Everest itself, where the expected weather window opened, giving access to top of the word. But that wasn’t the only news to come out of the region this weekend.

We’ll start on Shishapangma, where spanish climber Edurne Pasaban topped out, claiming her 14th 8000 meter peak, and adding her list to the names of elite climbers who have accomplished that feat. Edurne and her team reached the summit at 11:30 AM local time today, making her the second woman to nab all of the big mountains. Korean Oh Eun-Sun was the first just a few weeks back. Congrats to Edurne on a job well done!!

Edurne wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the great weather that hit the Himalaya yesterday, and continuing through today. A number of teams put climbers on top of Everest from the South Side this morning, including the Hanesbrands sponsored Climb With Us Team, which had Jaime Clarke and Steve Simper top out. They’re using the new Everest Supersuit on their climb, so I’m eager to hear out it performed. The Peak Freaks have put a number of their clients on the summit as well, including Carina Raiha, who became the first woman from Finland to climb Everest, ending a rivalry and race with Anne-Mari Hyryläinen, who is climbing with the Altitude Junkies, and was hoping to beat Carina to the summit.

All told, about 60 climbers topped out on Everest today, including Kenton Cool, who claimed his 8th summit of the mountain. Another wave of climbers is expected tomorrow, with roughly 60 more waiting for their opportunity to stand on top of the world tallest mountain. A second major push is expected to come next week, when another weather window will open, and more commercial teams will begin their ascents.

Meanwhile, just next door to all the action going down on Everest, there has been some developments on Lhotse as well. A strong Kazakh team led by Maxut Zhumayev topped out on the mountain yesterday. The weather conditions were reportedly quite good, with little wind as well, just like on Everest. But that isn’t the biggest news from the mountain, as another Kazakh climbing star, Denis Urubko, has opened a new route on the mountain from the South Col. According to RussianClimb.com, Denis went solo on the new route when he summitted yesterday as well. All the Kazakhs are back in Camp 2 and resting before going back to BC tomorrow.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that there has been trouble on Dhaulagiri, where an Austrian team aborted a summit bid last week due to poor weather, but a Chinese team went up in the conditions anyway. The team reportedly reached the summit, but were caught in whiteout conditions on the way down, and things only got worse from there. One member of the team died on the descent, and four others were severely injured, prompting a helicopter rescue to evac the climbers from the mountain. Lets hope there are no more casualties and that everyone makes a speedy and full recovery.

Stay tuned for Everest updates throughout the week. There is sure to be big news from the North Side soon too.

Kraig Becker