Not all of the action will take place on Everest this spring. While the tallest peak on the planet always takes center stage at this time of the year, there are plenty of expeditions to other mountains to keep our eyes on in the days ahead as well, including two attempts to open new routes on Cho You and Shishapangma.
ExWeb is reporting that the four man team of Louis Rousseau, Adam Bielecki, Rick Allen, and Felix Berg have announced that they will attempt a new line along the North Face of Cho Oyu. Their plan is to start at the base of the North Wall and climb directly up to a completely untouched section of the mountain. Much of this route is reportedly unexplored and the team isn’t sure what to expect when they get there, other than that it will be extremely technical.
The 8201 meter (26,906 ft) mountain is the sixth highest mountain in the world and is often described as the “easiest” of the 8000-meter peaks. But this team will be attacking its most difficult section, as the big wall they hope to ascend is roughly 2000 meters (6561 ft) in height and requires excellent rock climbing skills to go along with the demands of high altitude mountaineering. They’ll likely have to climb in alpine style and it could potentially be quite cold there. The North Face sees very little sunshine and even in the spring it can see temperatures well below freezing.
Meanwhile, Stefan Nestler has the scoop on another major expedition that has just left for the Himalaya. David Goettler is joining forces with Hervé Barmasse to attempt a new route along the South Face of Shishapangma in Tibet. Goettler attempted this same route last year with Ueli Steck, but the two were turned back in their attempt. This season, he is feeling much more confident about their chances.
The two climbers joined Steck in the Khumbu Valley for acclimatization training in February and will return to that region to tune up for the expedition again. They’ll spend another two weeks there prior to crossing over to Tibet to begin the climb. They’ll trek throughout the area and even warm up on Island Peak (6180 m/20,275 ft) before jumping across the border to begin.
Last year, Goettler and Steck were turned back on the 8027 meter (26,335 ft) Shishpangma due to bad weather. This year, the team is hoping for improved fortunes with better all around conditions. They should have already arrived in Kathmandu as I write this, and will be preparing to head out on their acclimatization treks soon.
Add both of these expeditions to your lists of ones to follow this spring. It is shaping up to be an interesting time in the Himalaya for sure.
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