Himalaya Fall 2013: Acclimatizing For The Challenges Ahead

The Fall 2013 climbing season in the Himalaya is definitely in full swing now with most of the teams now fully ensconced in their Base Camps. With good weather in place across the region, the climbers have begun taking advantage of the opportunity and have started their first real acclimatization rounds. If the forecast remains good we could see some early summits this year. But for now, most are content to work hard and take things one day at a time.

One of the more ambitious projects this fall will take place on Lhotse, where Italian climbers Edmond Joyeusaz and Federico Colli hope to summit and make a ski descent of the mountain. The two men have been acclimatizing in the Khumbu Valley over the past week or so and are now settled in at Everest Base Camp, which is of course the shared launching pad for Lhotse as well. Yesterday they went up Kala Pattar, a nearby peak that provides excellent views of Everest and they report that their conditioning is good and everything is proceeding as they had hoped. They also completed their Puja ceremony, which will now allow them proceed up the mountain. They hope to make their way through the Khumbu Icefall today and climb to Camp 1 as part of their first acclimatization rotation.

Over on Manaslu things are proceeding well. The Altitude Junkies have finished their first big rotation and are now back in BC after spending a night at Camp 1 and two more at Camp 2. They’ll take a few days off to recover now before heading higher and the Sherpas hope to establish Camp 4 within the next few days. The team is in good spirits after their first real workout and the good weather is helping to make things a bit easier at the moment.

Also on Manaslu is the Himex team, whose Sherpas have been doing the bulk of the work fixing the ropes, with a little help from the Altitude Junkies as well. The group made it’s first rotation a few days back going up to Camp 1 for the first time. It was a four hour journey from BC up to that point but everyone climbed strong and had very few issues. They’re now back in BC as well and preparing for their first push to Camp 2 where they’ll spend a few nights at altitude to get their bodies accustomed to the thinner air.

Polish climber and skier Andrzej Bargiel has his sites set on Shishapangma this fall. He hopes to make a speed attempt on that mountain and then ski back down. It isn’t clear if he is in Tibet just yet, but his plans were to begin climbing in late September and hopefully complete the expedition in October. Hopefully we’ll get more updates as he proceeds.

Also making his way to Shishapangma is 73-year old Spanish climber Carlos Soria. He isn’t quite into Base Camp just yet, but should be there within the next few days. The video at the bottom of this report gives an update from the trek and while it is in Spanish, you’ll still get a good idea of the logistics involved in getting to the mountain. There is also a wild scene with a yak who simply does not want to carry a heavy load further up the valley. Scary stuff!

Things are starting to heat up on Cho Oyu as the teams begin their first rotations there as well. The IMG squad reportedly went to Camp 1 and spent the night while the Sherpas having been busy fixing lines and shuttling gear. They should have Camp 2 well established today and will continue up the mountain after a brief respite back in Base Camp.

That’s all for now. Expect more updates soon as the teams in the Himalaya really start to progress.

Kraig Becker