Himalaya 2013: Teams On The Move!

Just as the teams on Everest are on the move today to take advantage of the shifting weather patterns across the Himalaya, the climbers on other mountains in the region are hoping to make their summit bids as well. Many of them have been dealing with high winds for the past few weeks too and now that that those winds are dissipating at last, the climbers are eager to begin their ascents.

On Lhotse, most of the teams are following the same pattern as their friends on Everest. You may recall that the the two mountains share the same camps from BC up to C3. From there the routes diverge with those heading to the top of Lhotse taking a sharp right as they proceed up to their own Camp 4. High winds have kept that summit out of reach for now, but this weekend it should become accessible. Expect several teams to top out in the next few days.

On Dhaulagiri, Polish climber Pawel Michalski has begun his summit push. After being confined to BC  by bad weather, he was certainly eager to get going. He launched his bid on Wednesday, saying that his health and spirits were good. He now expects to summit on either Sunday or Monday (May 20-21) depending on the weather.

On Makalu the teams are still in BC waiting for the shift in weather to turn in their favor. News of the passing of Alexey Bolotov has reached that mountain as well, where Don Bowie has written a few brief words about his friend. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, Alexey was a very well known and highly respected climber and his death has had an impact on this Himalayan season and will likely to continue to do so for seasons to come.

800px Kanchenjunga

Spaniard Carlos Soria has launched his summit bid on Kangchenjunga. He set out from Base Camp earlier today and will now spend the next few days getting into position to top out. If all goes according to plan, he should summit sometime early next week. If successful, it will be the 72-year old’s 12th 8000-meter peak.

The Italian team that includes Annalisa Fioretti will set out for the summit of Kangchenjunga today as well. Their forecasts indicate improving weather all around and they are now eyeing a summit attempt on the 20th, provided things continue to improve. The entire team will be attempting their climb without the use of supplemental oxygen.

News of Alexey’s death has arrived on this mountain as well, as Oscar Cadiach learned of his fate prior to the launch of his own summit bid. It seems he’ll be following a similar path as the others and will look to top out early next week.

There have been no updates from Kenton Cool since he launched his attempt at the Himalayan Triple Header earlier this week. In his last dispatch, Kenton was heading up to Camp 2 on Everest, where he was going to decide which of the summits he would go for first. You may recall that he hopes to bag Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest all in one push. The weather was expected to be the deciding factor on whether or not that was possible. We’ll just have to wait until he is back in communications range to find out how many – if any – of those summits he actually managed to reach.

Speaking of Nuptse, it seems that the route to the top of that mountain was finally set in place earlier this week and since it sits so close to Everest we can expect summit attempts there this weekend as well. That includes the all-women’s team with Bili Bierling that is climbing under the Himex permit.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that during a summit bid on Shishapangma last week a climber passed away due to HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). Apparently the team, which was being led by Thomas Laemmle, were all turned back from the Central Summit due to bad weather. A German member of the group took ill and Thomas elected to stay with him while the others moved down. But after an extended stay at altitude, the team leader began to take ill as well, so they two slowly descended. Thomas showed signs of HAPE too, but fortunately he received medication and treatment in time. The other climber, who is unnamed in the report, passed away shortly there after. Sad news indeed. Again, condolences to friends and family of the fallen.

More updates from across the Himalaya next week.

Kraig Becker