Himalaya 2012: Progress Reports

thumbs the aforementioned pf of 7 5 the route crosses the gully from r to l photo by guntis brand

While the Everest teams continue to get comfortable in Base Camp and work on their acclimatization, the climbers on the other Himalayan peaks have started work in their various projects as well. While the process is much the same as it is on the Big Hill, BC isn’t nearly as crowded and there is far less attention given to the mountaineers, who are at times undertaking more challenging climbs.

One of those climbers is Ueli Steck, who is back in the Himalaya his spring to launch his Khumbu Express II expedition. This time out, Ueli and partner Freddie Wilkinson are hoping to open new routes on the North  Faces of Cholatse, Tawoche and Ama Dablam. As a warm-up, the team is currently acclimatizing on Lobuche, where they are now spending four days camped on the summit (6119m/20,075ft). After arriving in BC last Thursday, Ueli and Freddie went to the summit of the mountain then back to camp, before going back up for their extended stay. When they complete that process, they’ll immediately head off to Cholatse to begin the expedition in ernest.

Don Bowie has checked in from Annapurna, where it sounds like that mountain is up to its old tricks. The peak is well known for being a difficult climb, in no small part thanks to the precarious avalanche conditions on the higher slopes when heavy snow has fallen. Last week Don discovered that discretion is the better part of valor and on a climb up to Camp 3 to spend the night he witnessed an avalanche sweeping down the slopes. Deciding that conditions just weren’t right, he elected to turn back to C2, where he shared his thoughts with the climbers gathered there. Just as he was explaining the precarious nature of the snow, a second avalanche began above the camp and while it was far enough away to not do any serious damage, it still deposited plenty of light snow across Camp 2. It seems like for now, the upper portions of Annapurna aren’t stable enough to take a crack at the summit.

The Adventure Consultants team should arrive in Base Camp on Manaslu today, provided the weather has improved as expected. The team found their progress delayed due to bad weather and as a result they ended up spending a few extra days in the village of Samaguan. As you can imagine, they are eager to reach BC and get started with the climb itself, but continued heavy snowfalls have made the journey a challenging one thus far.

Allie Pepper is also on her way to Manaslu and is likely experiencing similar delays. She hasn’t posted a dispatch from the trek just yet, but was scheduled to depart Kathmandu last Wednesday. Before leaving for the mountain, Allie warmed-up with an acclimatization trek in the Khumbu and she’ll return there in a few weeks as she is scheduled to climb Lhotse after the Manaslu expedition is complete.

More news to come. The season is just getting started!

Kraig Becker