Himalaya Fall 2013: News From Annapurna And Lunag-Ri, Summit Bids Over On Manaslu

manaslu4 fromsamurgon

We have more news from the Himalaya today as a couple of teams we’ve been waiting to hear from check in at last. But before we get to those high profile climbs there is also an update from Manaslu where it seems a busy and active season is about to come to an end.

Earlier in the week we knew that a several teams were attempting to summit Manaslu as a window of good weather was expected to appear over the past few days. It turns out the weather did not improve as forecasts indicated and as a result, the teams moving up the mountain had a much tougher time than expected. A dispatch from Adventure Peaks has all the details, but in a nutshell the climber were ascending in thigh-deep snow only to find that Camps 2 and 3 were completely destroyed by heavy snows and high winds. The effort they put in just to rebuild those camps was very taxing and at one point the Sherpas were forced to spend the night in a tent without sleeping bags because their bags had been buried under fresh powder.

Despite those challenges however the team still considered moving higher. But when they left C3 they discovered that the fixed ropes had been buried in snow and ice as well and were unusable. That was the final straw for the expedition with all climbers turning back and descending to Camp 2 safely. With conditions this bad so late in the season, it seems that the Adventure Peaks team will definitely head home and it is likely that others will too. It appears that the end of the season has arrived at last on Manaslu.

Elsewhere however the climbs continue. There have been no further updates from Annapurna, where yesterday we learned that Ueli Steck topped out solo on the mountain’s South Face. That is an incredible climb and the entire mountaineering world is waiting to hear more details. At the moment, we believe that Ueli is back in Base Camp with his partner  Don Bowie, but what their next move is remains to be seen. Their permit runs through November 15, so it is possible they will attempt to go up again provided Don is feeling strong and ready to try to reach the top too. For now, we’ll all have to wait for more information.
Chad Kellogg and David Gottlieb have checked in from their Lunag-Ri expedition at last. Over the past two weeks they have been acclimatizing by trekking through the Rolwaling Valley and into the Khumbu. Along the way they took their time to let their bodies adjust to the altitude while David fought off an infection that was causing him to have a nasty toothache. They’ve now made their way into Namche Bazaar where they will spend a day or two resting before proceeding up to Lunag-Ri Base Camp. They expect to arrive there tomorrow where they’ll begin their climb at last.

That’s pretty much the news for today. There are still some major climbs taking place on Lhotse of course but there hasn’t been any updates while the teams there wait for improved weather. Time is starting to run short for the Italian squad, whose permits has been extended to Oct. 27, but the Koreans are still getting themselves established. With any luck, we’ll hear more on their progress soon too.

Kraig Becker