The winter climbing season is still in full swing, but already some of the more prominent mountaineers are looking ahead to the spring season in the Himalaya, which will once again be a busy one. Everest will of course be at the epicenter of those efforts, but there will be plenty of action to follow on other major peaks as well. While many climbers have yet to reveal their plans just yet, here are a few that we know about already.
Last week it was revealed that 76-year old Carlos Soria will attempt a double-header in the Himalaya this spring. In fact, he will actually depart for Nepal this Saturday so that he can get started on his acclimatization well ahead of his climbs. Carlos hopes to make an early attempt on Annapurna (8091 m/26,545 ft) and then jump over to Dhaulagiri (8167 m/26,794 ft) afterwards. If all goes according to plan, he’ll add two more major peaks to his already impressive resume. As he prepares to depart, the Spaniard says that he is feeling good and looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Despite having been to Everest on six previous occasions, Ralf Dujmovits isn’t quite done with the mountain just yet. He tells Stefen Nestler that he plans to return to the Big Hill this spring to attempt to summit without oxygen. Ralf has climbed all of the 8000 meters peaks, and with the exception of Everest back in 1992, he has done so without the use of supplemental oxygen. He aims to return this year and remedy what he now sees as a blemish on his climbing record.
Ralf will be climbing from the North Side this time out, and he is saying that this will definitely be his last expedition to Everest. He is far from finished climbing or pursuing other adventures, but at the age of 53 he is now seeking challenges elsewhere.
Of course, the other major event to take place on Everest this spring will be Kilian Jornet’s attempt at a speed record. After setting impressive new marks on both Denali and Aconcagua in 2014, he’ll have his work cut out for him on Everest. There is no question that Jornet is an impressive athlete, and I suspect he’ll put in an impressive show on the tallest mountain on Earth. But he has never operated at an altitude like he one he’ll experience on Everest. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain the level of performance that we’ve seen out of him in the past when he gets above 8000 meters (26,246 ft).
There will of course be plenty of other expeditions to follow in the weeks ahead. We’re about six weeks off from the start of the spring season, and it is already shaping up to be an interesting one.
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