Himalaya Fall 2012 Update: More Climbers Head Home, While Other Head Up


It has been a long and difficult week in the Himalaya where climbers are still dealing with the devastating news from Manaslu this past weekend. But there is a sense of normalcy returning to the mountain and with it comes a renewed focus on climbing the mountain. Tomorrow some of the climbers will begin their summit bid, while others have decided to call it quits and head home.

The Altitude Junkies had three team members depart Base Camp yesterday and today they report that two more will now join them. They’ll all descend to the village of Sama Goan where they’ll catch a lift by helicopter back to Kathmandu. While sad to see their friends leave, the rest of the team has plenty of work to do. They’ll start their summit bid tomorrow by climbing up to Camp 1 with an eye on topping out on Sunday or Monday of next week.

Also heading up is Edita Nichols, who reports that Sherpa teams have already visited Camp 1 and 2 to evaluate stability on the mountain. Her team won’t move forward until the Sherpas say it is safe to do, but they anticipate starting the climb in the next day or two as well.

One of the squads that has decided to leave Base Camp and return home is the IMG team. Following a meeting with the entire crew, the experienced leaders of the expedition elected to pull the plug in no small part due to the continued instability on the slopes. They sent their Sherpas up the mountain this morning to collect their gear in Camp 1 and 2 with a plan to depart BC this afternoon. They should be resting comfortably in Sama Goan now and will fly back to Kathmandu tomorrow.

Skier Greg Hill has posted his account of the tragic events from earlier in the week, which you can read here. He was one of the climbers who was in Camp 3 when the avalanche hit, preparing to move up to Camp 4 before proceeding on to the summit. He was hoping to make a no-oxygen ski descent of Manaslu and now feels that it is simply pure luck that he is alive. Greg doesn’t indicate if he’ll continue his attempt or if he will now head home. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Elsewhere in the Himalaya, far away from the tragedy on Manaslu, other teams are continuing with their expedition. There hasn’t been any word from Billi Bierling in a week, although reports are that teams have moved up to Camp 3 on Makalu and may be preparing for their first summit bids. Similarly, ExWeb reported yesterday that 73-year old Carlos Soria was making progress on Dhaulagiri, having established Camp 2 and working on building C3 as well. We should hopefully have good news from those mountains soon as well.

Good luck to all the climbers planning summit attempts across the region in the days ahead. Be safe out there.

Kraig Becker