Himalaya Fall 2019: Bad Weather Delays Everyone

The fall 2019 climbing season in the Himalaya is now in full swing with most teams having arrived in Base Camp and getting settled on their respective mountains. The news over the past few days hasn’t centered around acclimatization rotations, rope fixing, or puja ceremonies however as the weather has now taken center stage. In Nepal and Tibet the seasonal monsoon is in its final stages, but it isn’t quite ready to release its grip on the region just yet. As a result, heavy snows, rain, clouds, and winds have been prevalent across all of the 8000-meter peaks, causing some change of plans and delays for just about everyone.

On Manaslu, where more than 500 people have gathered this fall, the teams have started their first rotations with a few spending the night in Camp 1 and 2 as they prepare for the altitude. But those who were up high over the past day or two have been forced to retreat to BC to avoid the heavy rains and snows that are now hitting the mountain. Gusty winds have also created low visibility conditions, so for now the climbers are laying low and waiting for the arrival of improved conditions.

Over on Cho Oyu the situation is similar. The IMG team spent four nights above Advanced Base Camp as they completed their first acclimatization rotation. They’re all safely back in BC now and report some snow on the mountain, but not in heavy quantities. However, Nirmal Purja checked in earlier today to say that he and his team reached Camp 2 and were feeling strong enough to push to the summit, but heavy snow above that point prevented him from doing so. Nims says that while he was tempted to go up, he knows not to underestimate the mountain so he returned to Base Camp to rest and wait instead.

Dhaulagiri is seeing a smilier weather pattern right now, with some progress being made only to have bad weather shut things down. Seven Summit Treks is handling logistics there this fall and they posted an update on progress, indicating that the ropes have already been fixed up to Camp 2 at 6400 meters (20,997 ft). But, not all of the team members have arrived in BC as of yet, which is fine since the poor weather conditions are keeping everyone in place anyway.

Finally, the Madison Mountaineering/Mountain Hardwear team checked in from Everest as well, where they experienced a one-day delay due to heavy snow at EBC. Things improved enough today for the group to hike up to the Khumbu Icefall and scout the route they’ll be using to cross through it in the days ahead. Reportedly the conditions there have improved dramatically, with sunshine warming the area. The team plans a rest day for tomorrow before they head up to start their first rotation.

That’s all for now. Hopefully better conditions are on the horizon and the teams can get back on the move again.