Himalaya 2013: Kenton Cool Goes For Triple Header, Climbers Make Summit Bids

While everyone was obviously focused on Everest this past weekend as the big push truly got underway, there was plenty of action elsewhere in the Himalaya as well. Numerous teams are now on the move and have set their sights reaching their respective summits. The good weather is holding across the region, giving everyone an opportunity to realize their goals at last.

One man who came to the Himalaya with some serious goals this season is Kenton Cool. With ten previous Everest summits under his belt, Kenton wanted to do something a little different this year and over the weekend he launched an unprecedented attempt at a Himalayan triple header. On Friday, Kenton successfully topped out on Nuptse, a 7861 meter (25,791 ft) mountain that sits in the shadow of Everest on the South Side. He followed that up on Saturday with his 11th summit of Everest, which gave him two of the three summits that he is pursuing. Currently he is on his summit push for Lhotse, the 8516 meter (27,940 ft) neighbor to Everest. There has been no update yet as to whether or not he reached the top of that mountain, but hopefully news will come later today. He may also be caught up in the drama that I mentioned earlier, in which a climber on Lhotse is being assisted down by a group of Sherpas. Lets keep our fingers crossed that Kenton and the unnamed climber are doing well.

Speaking of Lhotse. Since the weather was good on Everest this weekend it was also exceptional on Lhotse as well. This allowed a number of commercial teams to top out, including members of Himex, IMG and Adventure Consultants, amongst others. While not nearly as crowded as the Big Hill, Lhotse saw its fair share of traffic the past few days as well.

Polish climber Pawel Michalski has moved up to Camp 2 today on his summit push on Dhaulagiri. He reports tough going so far but expects the weather to improve over the next few days. He’s on schedule to top out on Wednesday, provided conditions hold steady or continue to get better.

On Makalu, Kinga Baranowska and Rafal Fronia are on the move today heading up to C2 on that mountain as well. They’ve accelerated their summit plans do to improving weather and are now looking to top out Wednesday too. No word from Don Bowie on whether or not he’ll take advantage of the shift in conditions and begin his summit push too.

Things aren’t going well on Kangchenjunga for Carlos Soria. His home team indicated that Soria’s team ran out of rope on the way to the summit and he was unable to complete his climb. There is some talk of cooperation with another team on the mountain to finish getting the ropes into place, but after climbing as high as 8300 meters (27,230 ft), the 72-year old Soria has now reportedly returned to Camp 4 where he is resting. Whether or not he’ll be able to take another crack at the summit remains to be seen.

Also in Camp 4 on that mountain is the Italian team that includes Annalisa Fioretti. It has been slow going on the summit push and the group, which is climbing without supplemental oxygen, may be currently resting at 7500 meters (24,606 ft). If they can regain some strength, their next push could take them to the top, provided their ropes are in place allowing everyone to go up. The weather has been changing rapidly, so they’re keeping an eye on that situation too.

Raul Corominas and Peter Herms were attempting a summit of Manaslu but high winds and heavy snowfall has forced them back down the mountain. They are now in Camp 3 where they are resting and waiting for another opportunity. If things improve, and they have the strength, they plan to head up to C4 tomorrow and hopefully summit on Wednesday. This is their second thwarted summit attempt and the men are getting physically and mentally exhausted. They may not have the stamina to go one more time.

Finally, there is a summit push underway on Cho Oyu by an unknown team as well. According to ExWeb, the squad set out for Base Camp on Saturday with the hopes of topping out tomorrow. It has been an incredibly tough year on the mountain which saw four teams arrive this spring and three of them depart early. This final unit has been hit hard with illness and has reduced numbers, but they are pressing ahead none the less. Due to the incredibly bad conditions on Cho Oyu this spring, no team has yet to go above C3. Hopefully the weather will improve to give this last team a shot at the top.

More updates coming soon.

Kraig Becker