Himalaya 2011: Alan’s Ready To Climb, Death On Manaslu

280px Everest kalapatthar crop

As I mentioned yesterday, work continues to progress at a steady pace on the South Side of Everest, and with the lines now fixed to the South Col, a steady stream of Sherpas are now shuttling gear up to Camp 4. If the weather holds, it is starting to look like the route will be set all the way to the summit by this weekend, and we could have guides on top of the mountain by Friday or Saturday. That will clear the way for the climbers to finish up their acclimatization rounds and start the waiting game for a weather window sometime around the middle of the month.

Our friend Alan Arnette posted a nice update from the mountain yesterday that helps to fill in some of the gaps as to what is happening at the moment. At the time that he wrote the post, Alan was back in BC, but is preparing to go back up the mountain to Camp 3 today. On his last acclimatization round, he went up and “touched” C3, but spent nights in Camps 1 and 2 along the way. This time he’ll actually stay at C3.

Alan also notes that the last rotation on the mountain didn’t go well for his health. He’s been battling an upper respiratory lung infection and it made it very challenging to climb up to 7200 meters (23,621 ft). Once he returned to lower elevations, he was feeling much better however, and is now feeling strong and ready to back up. He also noted that he has changed his strategy for climbing the  mountain this time out, and is spending extra nights at Camp 1 in effort to conserve energy on the push at higher altitudes.

The weather continues to be odd, with snow at strange times of the day and colder than normal temperatures. Upper portions of the route are said to be more exposed than normal, despite plenty of snow, which can be a concern for the climbers who have to scramble up bare rock while wearing crampons. Those spikes are designed for ice and snow and don’t exactly provide good footing on hard surfaces.

The plan is to now spend a few days going back up to Camp 3 before descending to EBC once again. After that, it is all about the weather window, and considering this is Alan’s fourth time on Everest, he knows all to well what that waiting game is all about.

Considering the great work that Alan is doing to raise funds for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, I’d personally like to see nothing more than him standing on top of Everest at last.

Other news of note, ExWeb is reporting that the Iranian team that summitted Manaslu last Friday lost a team member on the descent. Isa Mir-Shekari succumbed to altitude sickness at Camp 4 (7460m/24,475 ft) on that mountain on April 29th.

Also, David Liano, who was climbing Everest from the North Side has now returned to Kathmandu where he is battling what is described as a mild case of HACE. He now hopes to recover fully and return to the mountain, although he is shifting to the South Side for the attempt. Hopefully he’ll be well enough to give it a go.

That’s it for now, but stay tuned. Things are about to get very busy in the Himalaya. The next few weeks will be crazy with lots of news from the big peaks.

Kraig Becker

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