Himalaya 2011: Route To South Col Fixed, Summits Soon?

280px Sunrise%2C Manaslu

It was a rather quiet weekend on Everest’s South Side, where many teams were recovering from their acclimatization rotations higher on the mountain. The weather has reportedly turned to fog, and there is now rain at the lower elevations, which seems to indicate that a warming trend is in the air. That will make a number of people happy, as the current cold, snowy, and windy conditions have made things rough on the mountain so far.

The biggest news of the weekend is that the route up the South Col is now fixed all the way to Camp 4, thanks to the combined efforts of the Sherpas of several of the bigger commercial teams. That means that supplies can now start to be funneled up the slope for the inevitable summit push that could come sometime around the middle of the month.

Tim Rippel, reporting in for the Peak Freaks, says that their Sherpa team is set to return to C4 sometime around Thursday or Friday of this week, and possibly sooner depending on the weather. Similarly, the IMG squad reports that their Sherpas are heading up to the South Col tomorrow for their supply run, and they are predicting that the ropes to the summit could be fixed by the end of the week as well. That means we could see our first summits of the season on Everest by Friday of this week.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the region, Alex Gavan is reporting that his team is starting up for Camp 3 tomorrow on Kangchenjunga. C3 on that mountain is located at about 7300 meters (23,950 ft), and with their acclimatization complete, they are just waiting for a favorable weather window before making an assault on the summit. If all goes well, they could potentially be on top by the weekend as well.

Don Bowie has sent a dispatch back from Cho Oyu a few days back. He and Ueli Steck have arrived on that mountain and have already gone up to Camp 2 at 7000 meters (22,965 ft). They were expecting bad weather over the weekend however, and may still be in Base Camp, waiting an opportunity to go higher. Last week, Ueli said that his Shisha Pangma climb had caught up with him a bit, so he wasn’t thinking about going for any kind of speed climb on Cho Oyu, but perhaps he’ll feel differently if he has more time to rest. After they knock off this peak, it is on to Everest for Don and Ueli.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that the Iranian team on Manaslu reached the summit over the weekend as well. That mountain, located in Nepal, is the 8th highest mountain in the world, standing 8156 meters (26,759 ft) in height. They expect more details on that climb soon. Congrats to the entire team!

Project Himalaya: Behind the Scenes in the Khumbu Valley from Mountain Hardwear on Vimeo.

Kraig Becker