Himalaya Fall 2013: Teams Gathering In Kathmandu

800px Sunrise, Manaslu

It is hard to believe that the summer has nearly passed and it is time for the fall Himalayan season to begin. As I write this, teams are now gathering in Kathmandu for the start of the season, which is much less active than the spring but still draws hundreds of climbers to Nepal and Tibet. Many come to sharpen their skills ahead of an attempt on Everest next year but plenty visit the Himalaya during the fall to take advantage of a more relaxed, quieter atmosphere.

At the moment, the Himalaya are still shrouded in the storms that come along with the monsoon season.  Those rains will pass away soon however, opening up safe access to the big mountains in the days ahead. Some of the more popular summits for the fall include Makalu, Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. Everest sees few visitors this time of year, although there are occasionally a few teams who attempt a fall summit on the world’s highest peak.

Our friend Alan Arnette will be atempting Manaslu this fall and today he’ll begin the six-day trek beginning in Sama Goan. But before he left Kathmandu, Alan and his team met with none other than Ms. Elizabeth Hawley, the Grand Dame of the Himalaya herself. He wrote a great blog post about that encounter a few days ago, which you can (and should!) read here. He has entitled the post “A Morning with a Legend,” which seems apt considering Ms. Hawley’s stature in the mountaineering community.

For those who don’t know who Ms. Hawley is, she is pretty much the authority on Himalayan climbing. For decades she has kept a definitive record on who climbed which mountains and generally a summit isn’t official until she says so. She has a reputation for a keen mind, a sharp tongue and a long memory. Even now, in her 89th year, she can still make hardened men tremble under her scrutiny. She is a fascinating woman and it seems like Alan’s encounter with her was a memorable one.

A number of the teams are now en route to their respective mountains and we will soon start to get reports on their progress. Typical of Himalayan expeditions they’ll first begin with the acclimatization process over the coming weeks before waiting for weather a window to open for a potential summit bid. While it won’t be nearly as active as it is in the spring, it should still be an interesting time in the big mountains.

Stay tuned for regular updates as expeditions get underway.

Kraig Becker