Himalaya Fall 2012 Update: Summit Window Opens


After a long and difficult week, it seems the climbers on Manaslu have begun to put the tragedy behind them and are now focused on an impending weather window that should give them access to the summit. As a result, most of the teams that are still on the mountain are now on the move, with an eye on topping out early next week.

Earlier today the Mountain Professionals team checked in from Camp 2 on Manaslu where they report stable weather and snow conditions. They started their ascent yesterday and pushed past C1 and straight on to Camp 2. Their Sherpa support team plan on shuttling gear to Camp 4 tomorrow and the climbers are now planning on summiting on Monday, weather permitting.

The Altitude Junkies have started their summit push as well, leaving for Camp 1 yesterday afternoon. They’ll spend successive nights in each of the high camps before making their bid on Monday too. AJ leader Phil Crampton reports that he is still feeling a bit sore after getting caught in the avalanche at Camp 2 last weekend, so he’ll take an extra day or two in Base Camp before proceeding up to join the rest of the team. The climbers are said to be in good spirits and ready to go. Hopefully their patience will pay off in a few days time.

Edita Nichols is one of the climbers who has started the ascent. She left BC yesterday and is eyeing a summit attempt on either Monday or Tuesday of next week. She says that the weather is looking good and the mountain is more stable, giving the remaining climbers there an incentive to reach the top to honor those that lost their live in the tragic accident this past weekend. Edita herself lost her SPOT Tracker in the avalanche, so she’ll be out of contact for the next few days and we won’t even be able to see her progress. We’ll just have to wait for word of her success, but either way she plans on summiting and then heading for home by the end of next week.

On a different note, the IMG team that was on Manaslu left the mountain yesterday and are now all back in Kathmandu safe and sound. I’m sure it was a difficult decision to pull the plug on the expedition, but considering everything that has occurred there this week, it was probably the right choice for this squad. Also abandoning his summit bid is Greg Hill, who had hoped to make a no-oxygen ski descent of the mountain. He’ll remain behind to support some other climbers, but he has reportedly elected to give up his own Manaslu aspirations.

Elsewhere in the region, other teams are preparing for their summit bids as well. ExWeb is reporting that teams on Makalu are now in position to top out on that mountain as early as today. That could mean that climber/journalist Billi Bierling is amongst them. We haven’t had any updates from Billi since last week, but presumably she’ll be on her way up soon too.

Stay tuned for summit updates over the next few days. Good luck to all the climbers. Be safe!

Kraig Becker