Himalaya Fall 2013: Weather Window Opens Across The Himalaya, Summits In Sight

800px Sunrise, Manaslu

As noted yesterday, the first real summit push of the fall Himalayan climbing season is now underway and we wait anxiously for word on the whereabouts of the numerous teams that are currently on the move. The weather forecast across the region seems favorable, at least for a few more days, and the climbers are now getting themselves into position to make a push to the top of their respective mountains within the next day or two. After that, it seems the window will close once again and those who aren’t able to take advantage of it will wait for their turn in the days ahead. For now though, there is quite a bit of activity taking place.

Yesterday I noted that Rich Emerson and Dave Etherington of the Ski Shishapangma expedition were planning on making their summit bid. The weather was reportedly quite good and it was thought that they would go to the top, then attempt a ski descent. There has been no update on their progress since then however so it is unclear weather or not they did indeed summit and ski or if they ended up descending for some reason. We’ll have to wait and watch their Facebook page for updates on their progress.

On Manaslu the summit push is in full swing with most expecting to top out tomorrow. As reported yesterday, the Altitude Junkies squad is amongst them with Alan Arnette part of that team. It seems that the Himex climbers have also joined the summit party and their team is on the way up as well. The forecast says that there should be little wind on Manaslu tomorrow, which should give the teams perfect conditions to top out. After that, rain and snow are expected on the mountain with the potential for some heavy powder to fall at higher altitudes. At the moment, as many as 60 climbers are in Camp 4 and waiting to launch their final push.

According to ExWeb, the summit bids have begun on Cho Oyu as well with the first climbers possibly topping out as early as tomorrow as well. The forecast there is the same as elsewhere: good conditions through Wednesday with heavy snow moving in afterwards. Considering that no one has been above Camp 2 yet on the mountain, it is unclear what conditions will be like on the way to the summit, but after tomorrow they are expected to get a whole lot more challenging. Amongst those hoping to top out are American mountain guide Adrian Ballinger and Russian climber Sergei Baranov.

The Italian team of Edmond Joyeusaz and Federico Colli are back in Base Camp on Lhotse where they have enjoyed a warm shower and some much needed rest. They intend to descend to Gorak Shep for a bit of a break and to get an Internet connection to post some more detailed updates. The boys are no longer alone in BC however as a Korean team has arrived in the past day or two and has begun to set up shop. It is unclear at this point whether or not the Koreans will be attempting Lhotse as well or if they are there to make a rare attempt on Everest in the fall. We’ll just have to wait to see what exactly their objectives are.

Finally, Ueli Steck and Don Bowie should now be settled into Base Camp on Annapurna and will most likely be scouting the route that they’ll take to the summit. There have been no updates yet from the dynamic duo but it is their hope that they’ll be able to find success on one of the world’s toughest mountains where both have had their struggles in the past. Even if they don’t manage to climb Annapurna this fall however, it is good to see Ueli back in the Himalaya following the unfortunate events of this past spring.

That’s all for now. Hopefully my next update will contain good news of successful summits.

Kraig Becker