Himalaya 2011: Missing Gear On Kangchenjunga

800px Kangchenjunga PangPema

While much of the news out of the Himalaya the past few days has been centered around Everest, which is typical for this time of the year, climbers on other peaks are arriving in their respective base camps as well. But what do you do when you arrive in BC only to find that your porters haven’t arrived and none of your gear is in place? That is exactly what a Russian squad is facing at the moment.

ExWeb is reporting that there are nine climbers on the expedition and that they’ve now bee in Base Camp for five days with just the gear that they carried up themselves. Apparently the porters they hired misplaced the gear while en route, and turned back at some point, leaving the team stranded without their supplies. They’re still trying to sort the situation out, but it is becoming a serious problem, as they are not only without their climbing gear, but most of their other equipment as well, including altitude tents, warmer sleeping bags, and so on.

Located along the border of India and Nepal, Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain on the planet, behind only Everest and K2. It stands 8586 meters (28,169 ft) in height. This Russian team had planned on working in tandem with two other teams on the mountain to fix the ropes and build three high camps, but without their gear, that plan could be in doubt. If the Russians are forced to abandon their climb, it would leave the remaining teams a bit in the lurch as well. Hopefully it won’t come to that and the missing gear will be found. It seems highly suspicious that that much gear would just vanish.

For their part the Russians are doing what they can to stay in BC and wait for a resolution to the problem. But this shouldn’t be a life threatening situation. If worse comes to worse, they’ll hike back down the valley and stay at a teahouse while their gear situation is sorted out. I hope for their sake it doesn’t mean an end to their climb.

Kraig Becker