Himalaya Fall 2011: Summits On Makalu and Cho Oyu!


This past weekend saw continued good weather in the Himalaya, which allowed some teams to summit while others were stymied by deep snow. Now, as the new week begins, some climbers are in place to make a last ditch summit bid, while others are packing up and heading home.

On Friday, ExWeb reported that the Polish team of Artur Hajzer, Tomasz Wolfart and Maciej Stanczak successfully topped out on Makalu after a long, and tough ascent. The three experienced climbers struggled on the way down however, and were actually stranded for a time in Camp 3, where they were too exhausted to move. It was bad enough at one point that a call for rescuers was put out, but that “SOS” was later cancelled and the team has now descended to Camp 2. While they are very tired, they are also in good health and feeling fine. They should be back in Base Camp tomorrow.

Over on Cho Oyu, the Jagged Globe team managed to successfully put three climbers on top, although it wasn’t easy. They set off for the summit on Friday but found the snow to be too deep to move, so the climbers descended back to Camp 3, while the Sherpas continued fixing the ropes and clearing the route. On Saturday, the team gave it another go, and discovered that the snow had settled nicely, allowing them to ascend safely and in perfect conditions. Since then, the team has already descended back to BC, and the Sherpas have cleared the camps. They are expected to return to Chinese Base Camp today and back to Kathmandu by Wednesday. Congrats to Matt, Cian, and Jerome on a job well done.

Other teams on Cho Oyu were not so lucky. The Adventure Lovers squad turned back from their summit bid, and left BC on Saturday, with plans to arrive back in Kathmandu today. Likewise, the IMG team went up to the Yellow Band, but found the snow too deep to continue, so they abandoned their attempt and returned to ABC as well. They set out for home on Saturday.

The IMG team on Shisha Pangma hadn’t given up yet and as of Friday, they were in Camp 1 on that mountain. There hasn’t been any updates since that time however, so it seems likely that they descended and have decided to return to Kathmandu as well.

Finally, climbers are still holding out for a summit attempt on Manaslu, where the Altitude Junkies and Himex teams are reportedly in Camp 3 and are preparing for a summit bid tomorrow. It seems that conditions remain good on that mountain and things are proceeding on schedule and according to plan.

Judging from these reports it seems that the Fall Season will be over by mid-week, and it is likely that the jet stream will settle in over the Himalaya in the next few days as well. All in all, a fairly successful season, despite the trying weather. Lets hope the last of these teams gets up and down safely.

Kraig Becker