The fall Himalaya climbing season is slowly grinding to a halt as the jet stream seems to have already shifted across the region, bringing unpredictable weather conditions and high winds with it. That hasn’t deterred a few climbers that remain on their mountains, hoping to get one last weather window that will allow them access to the summit. Two mountains that still have climbers in place are Everest and Lhotse, where teams are moving up although their chance at success remains very much up in the air.
One climber that has set some ambitious goals for himself this fall is Nobukazu Kuriki who is attempting a true solo summit of Everest without oxygen and along the West Ridge no less. According to updates on has Facebook and Twitter pages, Kuriki arrived in Camp 2 yesterday amidst high winds, which he is hoping will die down in the next day or two. The forecast indicates that low pressure could settle over Everest this weekend, giving him an opportunity to make a summit bid, but for now he sits and waits to see if he’ll be able to move up. The Japanese climber has been sharing videos of his progress and you’ll find his most recent video below.
Alan Arnette says that this is Kuriki’s fourth attempt on Everest , with his most recent expedition taking place last fall. He also has solo climbs on Denali, Aconcagua, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Carstensz Pyramid, while also knocking off 8000 meter climbs on Cho Oyu, Manaslu, and Dhaulagiri.
Meanwhile, Alan also reports that the Korean team that I mentioned last week is still attempting the South Col route on Everest, although there has been no updates on their progress. Similarly, the Polish team on Lhotse, which shares much of the same route as Everest, is reportedly still on the mountain and still hoping to summit as well. Last week we knew that they had reached as high as Camp 4 on the mountain, which means they should be well acclimatized and read to go, weather permitting.
Finally, over on Dhaulagiri teams have called it quits for the season as well. Carlos Soria has decided that the mountain is simply too unstable to attempt a summit bid, so the 74-year old Spaniard is heading home, saying that he has learned that you must climb the mountain in the spring, when conditions are more stable. The Summit Climb team, led by Dan Mazur, came to that same conclusion a few days back and that squad is headed home too.
That means it is all eyes on Everest and Lhotse to see how we’ll finish out the season.
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