Himalaya Fall 2013: Summits On Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma!

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It was a very productive day in the Himalaya yesterday as the projected weather window remained open long enough for teams to top out on several mountains. That window is expected to slam shut today with high winds and snowstorms expected across the region. But the climbers who arrived early in the season, worked hard to complete the acclimatization process and patiently waited for their opportunity were rewarded with successful summit bids. 

We’ll start on Manaslu where the majority of the action took place yesterday. The Altitude Junkies confirmed that their team started to top out at about 8:30 AM local time yesterday morning. First to the top were Pasang Nima Sherpa and team leader Phil Crampton, but not far behind was the rest of the crew that included Alan Arnette, whom I’m sure will pass along a detailed account of the summit push in the next day or two As they approached the top, the final 100 meters of rope still needed to be fixed and Pasang Nima joined with the Sherpas from the Himex squad to complete that work. Russell Brice’s team had a good day on the mountain too, putting 13 of their clients on top and a total of 29 climbers overall. Reportedly it was a good day on the summit with warm temperatures and calm winds. Both teams report that everyone has now descended safely and after spending the night in Camp 1 they should arrive back in BC today. 
Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting that there have been summits on Cho Oyu as well. Four climbers topped out there at around 12:40 PM yesterday afternoon. That group included American climber Adrian Ballinger, Russian Sergey Baranov, Passang Bhote Sherpa and Namygal Sherpa. The two westerners than proceeded to make a ski descent and were back in Camp 2 early in the afternoon. ExWeb also indicates that there are a number of other teams poised to make summit bids today before the change in weather arrives. 
Apparently there has also been a successful summit on Shishapangma as well. Details are still a bit light but it is being reported that Hungarian climber Lestak Erzsebet reached the summit of that mountain yesterday and then safely returned to ABC. If we get more details on the climb I’ll be sure to share them.
While we’re on the subject of Shishapangma, 74-year old Carlos Soria is still in Base Camp there and keeping a close eye on the weather. The hope is that once the current weather system passes a new window will open giving the teams enough time to make their push. That could come as early as next week, but for now everyone sits and waits. 
Finally, there hasn’t been any updates from Ueli Steck or Don Bowie in about a week but presumably they have reached Annupurna Base Camp now and are setting up shop for the climb ahead. These two talented and very experienced mountaineers will likely go to work very quickly and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them start their acclimatization rotations immediately, weather permitting. Hopefully once they are settled in we’ll start to get regular updates on their progress. 
I want to offer a big congratulations to all the climbers who were able to summit over the past couple of days. Job well done all around and I’m glad to hear that it seems everyone got up and down safely. 
More updates to come in the days ahead. Things will likely quiet down now for a few days while the weather moves in and out of the Himalaya. After that, there will be a host of climbers ready to make their move. 
Kraig Becker