Himalaya 2011: Everest South Side Climbers On The Move

EV11 09 B

It seems that it is business as usual on the South Side of Everest, where teams have already been spending the night at Camp 1 and 2, despite high winds, plenty of snow, and even an avalanche or two. This is all part of the plan of course, and an integral part of their acclimatization process that will, eventually, put them on top of the mountain.

Yesterday I posted a report on Edurne Pasaban’s perspective of the meeting that went down in BC over the weekend in which the lead guides all came together to figure out a plan for fixing ropes up the mountain. Edurne made it sound like that meeting was a bit of a fiasco, and perhaps some of those feeling came from being an independent climber who was left out of the discussion for the most part. But reading Alan Arnette’s report today, we get a bit of a different perspective. Alan notes that Himex leader Russell Brice dropped by the IMG team’s camp yesterday to discuss the plan with the crew. They felt that the team leader meeting went very smooth, and that the plan for the rope fixing and logistics was a good one. They went on to say that they felt that intra-team cooperation was at an all time high on the mountain, and there were high hopes for a smooth climb ahead. That is indeed good news for all involved.

It hasn’t been all that smooth for Alan however, as the bulk of his report is about his own stomach issues that left him tent-bound for a day and feeling very under the weather. Feeling sick at home is bad enough, but to battle a stomach virus half-way around the world, and at 17,600 feet, is misery. Fortunately, he seems to be bouncing back nicely and it won’t have an effect on his plans to climb the mountain.

On another interesting note, Alan also says that the route through the Khumbu Icefall is quite short and, so far, secure this year. The Ice Doctors have apparently built a good route, and the climbers don’t have to cross over as many ladders as they have had to in the past. He plans to head up to Camp 1 soon for an over night, as the acclimatization work continues.

Elsewhere, Dave Hahn and his team have been spending plenty of time in the Icefall as they train for the climb and prepare for the rigors ahead. Being one of the first teams at BC, they’re a bit ahead of some of the other teams in terms of schedule, and so far it has been smooth sailing. Dave posted a good dispatch on their progress to the Born Out There blog. You can read it here.

Higher on the mountain are the Altitude Junkies and Peak Freaks teams. The Peak Freaks spent the night at Camp 1 last night where they report high winds which brought all kinds of problems for those trying to catch a snooze. That’s nothing compared to what has been happening at Camp 2, where the Altitude Junkies are right now. Apparently the winds have been so bad up there that tents have been destroyed or swept off the mountain altogether. The AJ squad will now spend three days at C2 before heading back down to Base Camp.

A variety reports say that it continues to be quite cold and snowy on the mountain. Apparently about mid-afternoon each day, the clouds move in and start dumping snow, which usually lasts into the evening. As a result, there is plenty of the white stuff on the mountain, and the temps are colder too. Still, we’re probably about three weeks away from any major summit pushes, so the weather could improve by then.

Kraig Becker