After successful summits across the Himalaya last week a brief period of bad weather fell across much of the region. But this week things are clearing up and a new weather window is seems to be opening. These improved conditions are allowing a second round of summit pushes as climbers on various mountains make their move to top out. Over the next few days we should see more summits as the fall climbing season begins to heat up once again.
One of the most active mountains during last week’s round of summit bids was Manaslu, where it is estimated that approximately 60 climbers topped out. Amongst them was Alan Arnette who posted a brief account of his summit bid on his blog. Alan calls the summit of Manaslu the scariest spot he has ever been in his climbing career, which includes Everest, thanks in no small part to its narrow approach ridge which had a drop of over 3000 feet (914 meters) on either side. As always, Alan provides good insights into climbing on the big peaks, but this dispatch was a bit short due to technical issues. He promises a longer account of the climb once he has returned home.
The work isn’t wrapped up on Manaslu just yet however as more teams are making their summit bids this week. A number of international climbers, including teams from Romania, Spain and Italy, amongst others, are headed to Camp 3 today and should be looking to top out on Thursday of this week provided the weather remains cooperative. As the 8th highest peak in the world, Manaslu provides plenty of opportunities for sharpening mountaineering skills for preparation for a higher peak, such as Everest, in the spring.
On Cho Oyu more teams have begun their push as well. The Amical Alpin squad has moved up to Camp 3 where they are joined by a group led by Adventure Peaks. If all goes according to plan, both teams should make their final summit bids tomorrow.
Similarly a second round of summit attempts are underway on Shishapangma as well. 74-year old Carlos Soria is in Camp 3 today and should make his push to the top tomorrow or the next day. Rich Emerson of the Ski Shishapangma expedition has launched his second summit bid on the mountain as well and hopes to top out tomorrow or Thursday. If conditions are right he’ll also make a ski descent too.
Over on Lhotse things are starting to develop. The Korean team that joined Italians Edmond Joyeusaz and Federico Colli on that mountain have begun building a makeshift route through the Khumbu Icefall, which should makes things easier and safer on that section of the climb. That team has also established Camp 1 and has spent some time their acclimatizing. For their part, the Italians have returned from Gorak Shep and are back up the mountain as well. They should be in Camp 2 today as they work towards getting their bodies ready for their own summit push to come. If they are successful, they also hope to ski back down the mountain.
Finally, Ueli Steck and Don Bowie have checked in from Annapurna. In a very brief message Ueli says that he went as high as 6000 meters (19,685 ft) last Friday but weather conditions shifted and heavy snow began to fall. As of this dispatch he and Don were back in ABC and waiting for conditions to approve. Hopefully we’ll get more news soon.
That’s all for today. Hopefully we’ll have more news on summits tomorrow.
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