The fall 2017 climbing season in the Himalaya is barely underway, and yet we could have our first successful summits as early as tomorrow. While most teams are still getting settled into Base Camps across the region, one squad has already launched their summit bid and it looks like it has a great chance to be successful.
78-year old Spanish alpinist Carlos Soria and his team left BC a few days back and have now put themselves within striking distance of the top. According to his Facebook page, they are now camped in C3 at 7200 meters (26,622 ft) and if all goes according to plan, they’ll launch the final push tomorrow. The weather forecast calls for good conditions with wind speeds from 20-25 km (12-15 mph) and high cloud cover. In mountaineering terms, that’s about as good as you can expect on an 8000-meter peak.
If successful, this will be Soria’s 13th 8000-meter peak, leaving him just one more to add to his resume. That final mountain is Shishapangma, which is a relatively easy climb compared to most of the other big Himalayan mountains. If he knocks of Dhaulagiri as expected, I would anticipate that he’ll be back on Shishapangma in the spring, looking to get his final 8-thousander, which would be an impressive accomplishment at any age, let alone in his late 70’s.
Elsewhere, teams are proceeding with the acclimatization efforts on schedule. Yesterday, the Adventure Consultants touched Camp 1 on Manaslu, which means they went up to 5600 meters (18,372 ft), dropped off some gear, ate some lunch, and then dropped back down to Base Camp. They spent today resting and organizing more of their equipment in preparation for returning to C1 for an overnight stay in a few days. According to the latest dispatch, that camp is now fully stocked and ready to go, and the Sherpas have begun shuttling gear up to Camp 2 as well.
For most of the climbers the grind is now about to truly begin. They’ll be spending their time going higher on the mountain, then returning to Base Camp for some much needed rest while their bodies acclimate to the altitude. We’re still a few weeks away from summit bids on Manaslu, which is where the bulk of the action will take place this fall. For now, its just a matter of putting in the work and sticking to the schedule. I’m sure there will be much more to report soon.
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