Everest 2013: Trouble In The Icefall As Rotations Begin

The real work on Everest is about to begin as the teams on the South Side of the mountain start their first acclimatization rotation on the mountain. These trips up the slope are designed to help their bodies gradually get use to the altitude as they slowly prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. They are still weeks away from making their summit push, but the first steps on that journey begin now.

Before anyone can go up the mountain however, the route through the Khumbu Icefall must first be secured. That task is given to the famed Everest Icefall Doctors who establish and maintain that route for the entire season. This year’s route was built a couple of weeks back and so far it has held up nicely.  

But the shifting and collapsing ice have caused some issues this morning with several of the ladders that are used for bridges collapsing. According to the latest dispatch from the Adventure Consultants, this has delayed the start of the morning for several expeditions that were heading up the mountain this morning.

Several Sherpa groups were planning on carrying gear to Camp 1 and 2, but were forced to put down their loads and wait for the Docs to repair the damage. The teams making their first rotations also had to wait.

One of the first squads to start the acclimatization process was the Peak Freaks. They moved up from Base Camp yesterday and spent the night in Camp 1. Today they’ll climb up to C2 but then immediately descend back to Camp 1 for another nights stay.

Tomorrow, they’ll move back up to Camp 2 for two nights, before returning to BC for some rest. This approach gives them plenty of time at altitude but also limits the number of trips through the icefall. Considering the news of the collapsed route there today, I’m sure they’re glad to have moved through that section of the climb.

Not far behind the Peak Freaks is the RMI squad led by Dave Hahn. They should be moving up to C1 today although there has been no word on whether or not the issues in the icefall have had any dramatic delays to their efforts.

On the North Side of the mountain the plans are just starting to take shape. The Altitude Junkies have settled into their new home and are currently resting before they begin to go higher.

They plan to set out for Interim Base Camp, located at 5800 meters (19,028 ft) in a few days and after spending a night there, they’ll move up to Advance Base Camp for a night or two as well. The Sherpas are just now building and stocking those camps, but they should be ready for occupancy shortly.

The team held their Puja Ceremony yesterday and with the blessing of three monks from the nearby Rongbuk Monastery, they are now clear to begin their expedition.

We haven’t had much of an update on the progress of Denis Urubko and Alexei Bolotov over the past week or so. They’re attempting to climb a new route up the Southwest Face in alpine style and without Sherpa support or bottled oxygen.

But the two men took a break from their acclimatization efforts a few days back and stopped into South Side Base Camp where they connected with friends Simone Moro and Ueli Steck.

They’ve all been trekking and climbing in the region to get ready for their true goals, namely the first new routes on Everest in some time. They’re still several weeks off from their summit bids as well and it will certainly be fun to watch both expeditions unfold.

That’s all for now. More updates as the season progresses.

Kraig Becker

1 thought on “Everest 2013: Trouble In The Icefall As Rotations Begin”

  1. Here is a message from Denis (via russianclimb). Ice Fall is surely far from perfect this year.

    "I have something with
    the phone. Yesterday
    climbed to Camp 3 on the
    Lhotse slope. Spent the
    night at an altitude of 7000m, this morning piled up in the Base. During the second camp saw Simone with Uli, they went in the direction of the West Ridge of Everest. Icefall in a very bad condition (unfortunately. Today saw
    the recent collapses. Sherpas never went anywhere, dozens of goods dumped on the trail. probably be glad when they find a new way for the Khumbu."

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