While the teams on Everest move up and down the slopes acclimatizing, the Sherpas are busy continuing their rope fixing. Yesterday they reached Camp 4 on both Everest and Lhotse, and it is now believed that they’ll reach the summit by Sunday or Monday at the latest. Elsewhere across the region, climbers are going about their business on other mountains as well as they play the waiting game, continue to prepare their bodies for the thin air and keep one eye on the weather.
Over on Kangchenjunga, the incomparable Carlos Soria is working on his 12th eight thousand meter peak. The 74-year old Soria is currently in Base Camp on the mountain, which is the third tallest in the world at 8586 meters (28,169 ft). He has already acclimatized up to Camp 1 however, which is located 6600 meters (21,653 ft). He’ll head back up the mountain this weekend as he prepares for a summit push in a few weeks time. If successful here, he’ll have just Dhaulagiri and the always difficult Annapurna to add to his resume.
Speaking of Dhaulagiri, Polish climber Pawel Michalski is in a holding pattern while he waits for the weather to improve. He reports high winds high on the slopes are preventing any kind of summit push at the moment. The forecast calls for improved conditions after the weekend, so perhaps he’ll have a crack at the top sometime early next week.
Kinga Baranowska and Rafal Fronia have moved up to Camp 2 on Makalu as they continue their acclimatization efforts. the weather forecast on that peak calls for unstable conditions in the days ahead and temperatures have been cold recently. But the weather isn’t bad enough to keep the climbers off the mountain and they’re taking any opportunity they can in order to get their rotations in.
Don Bowie is also on Makalu and doing his best to get ready for the eventual summit push as well. In his latest dispatch he shares the second part of his journey into Base Camp. He notes that the mountain looms over the climbers in BC, giving them both a beautiful and terrifying view of the summit. A place that he knows he’ll eventually be trying to reach.
On Lhotse the climbers looking to scale that peak should be heading up to Camp 3 this weekend as part of their rotation. With the ropes now fixed to C4, the anticipation of what is to come must be palpable. Once the Sherpas are finished running the lines to the summit of Everest, they’ll turn their attention to Lhotse as well. It should take just another couple of days to wrap up that work, and then the summit pushes can begin there as well.
Back on Everest itself, we have word today that Denis Urubko has rejoined his teammate Alexei Bolotov in Base Camp after spending some time resting down in the Khumbu Valley. The two men intend to go back up to 7000 meters (22,965 ft) to acclimatize a bit longer. After that, they intend to launch their alpine style, no oxygen attempt along a new route on the Southwest Face.
Good luck to everyone climbing this weekend. Stay safe!
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