Himalaya Fall 2013: No Summits on Shisha, Waiting For News Elsewhere

Cho Oyu, Nepal

The waiting game continues in the Himalaya where we know that summit pushes are underway amidst good weather. But the forecast calls for a change starting tomorrow, with snow and high winds predicted. That means that teams are on the move today with news of successful summits to come shortly.

One team that we’ve been keeping a close eye on this week is the Ski Shishapangma squad. They made an attempt on the summit on Monday with the hopes of completing a ski descent of that mountain. Since then we hadn’t heard any word on their progress, but a dispatch this morning tells us that Rich Emerson and Dave Etherington turned back 450 meters (1476 ft) below the summit. They are safely back in Base Camp now and Dave says that his climb is over. Rich, on the other hand, seems to be weighing his options and may consider giving it another go once he has had the chance to rest and recover his strength.

If the weather forecast holds as many as 60 climbers could top out on Manaslu today including groups from both the Altitude Junkies and Himex. Our friend Alan Arnette is a part of that group as well and I expected we’ll get an excellent account of the climb once he he safely back in BC.

The other peak that should see plenty of action today is Cho Oyu where several teams should be closing in on the summit as well. The IMG squad isn’t among them however as their latest dispatch indicates that they have now completed their second acclimatization rotation to Camp 2 and have descended to Base Camp as well. With the change in weather coming tomorrow they’ll take the time to rest and eat lots of good food as they wait for a weather window to open to start their eventual summit bids. That looks like it won’t happen until sometime next week at the earliest.

The Italian team on Lhotse has moved down the Khumbu Valley to Gorak Shep where they are taking a break as well. The sent a length dispatch today discussing the trash situation on Everest and Lhotse, where overcrowding have turned the mountain into a bit of a junk heap. Conditions in BC have improved considerably since the Nepalese government started imposing fines, but further up the mountain there is still plenty of trash to be cleaned up. The boys have a proposal on how to solve the issue, which would in a sense do away with commercial climbing on Everest altogether and put severe restrictions on who climbs the mountain. There ideas would never fly as they would be economically disastrous for Nepal, but it certainly makes for an interesting read and discussion.

That’s all the news I have from the Himalaya today. Mostly we sit and wait for confirmation of successful summits today. With a shift in the weather coming, things will quiet down there heading into the weekend, but the season is far from over and there are still plenty of interesting developments to come I’m sure.

Kraig Becker