Even though the calendar says that it is only February, the 2016 spring climbing season in the Himalaya really isn’t all that far off. In less than two months, climbers from all over the world will be finalizing their travel plans, packing their gear, and saying goodbye to loved ones as they head off to Nepal and Tibet to begin what is sure to be another very interesting year in the tallest mountains on the planet.
By most accounts, it is shaping up to be a quieter year on Everest, where tragedies the past two seasons have put an abrupt end to climbing operations. Several of the leading outfitters that operate on the mountain say that the number of clients they’ll be guiding this year are down, as many are taking a wait and see attitude. That said however, I’m sure Everest will still be a very lively place to be this spring, with lots of great stories to follow.
In preparation for the start of the season, Alan Arnette has already kicked off his now legendary coverage of the proceedings on the mountain. Yesterday, Alan posted his preview of the 2016 spring season ahead, which fittingly enough begins with a recap of some of the major stories from the past few years – including a much publicized brawl between Sherpas and prominent climbers, the deaths of 19 Sherpas as a result of the collapse of a serac in 2014, and the devastating aftermath of the deadly earthquake that struck last year.
Each of those events has left its mark on the climbing community on Everest in the past few years, causing some to sour on attempting to summit the tallest mountain on the planet. But many of us believe that these are just temporary setbacks that will be overcome as we move forward.
In his article, Alan takes a look ahead at the 2016 season, which he too expects to have low numbers for several reasons. The lingering impact of the earthquake – at least in terms of public perceptions – is a major one of course, but also because Nepal is in the middle of a significant fuel crisis, with a shortage of gas making its way into the country thanks to a blockade from India. On top of that, expedition companies are being forced to raise their prices too, which of course has an impact on how many people sign up for an expedition as well.
If you’re someone who keeps up with the Everest scene each year, you’ll definitely want to give this a look. It provides some great insights into what is happening in Nepal presently, and how the currently political culture there is shaping the climbing season ahead. As always, it shouldn’t have any shortage of intrigue and surprises.
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