Two great explorers – an 8, 8000er summiteer and one of the very first “Three Poles” adventurers – were lost in an avalanche last week. Cho Oyu sported the first (somewhat sad) summits of the season on the 2nd year anniversary of the now entirely locked down border pass of Nangpa La. Late Sunday news also arrived that Kinga Baranowska and Edurne Pasaban bagged Manaslu, where tension had mounted this week. Also Baruntse lucked out.
In other news: A Karakoram 2008 Season´s end Chronicle went up, the American bailout bill prompted comments by sponsor starved explorers, Noah (now 16) checked back in, Steve Fossett’s plane was found and Somalia piracy has stepped up with the hijack of an arm-loaded ship.
Polar legend and 8, 8000er summiteer two of Japanese three victims of fatal avalanche in Tibet With 8, 8000ers, Everest twice (both sides) and Manaslu twice, Yoshinobu Kato (32) had one of the best records in Japanese mountaineering. He was among the three Japanese mountaineers found dead after an avalanche struck Kula Kangri in Tibet last week. Also lost was Susumu Nakamura, 62. The Japanese polar explorer skied to the North Pole from Cape Hekla BC in 1978 (with resupplies and dogs) and from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole in 1994. With Everest in 1988, the Japanese explorer accomplished one of the earliest expeditions to all the three poles. The three climbers (including a young camera man) were headed from camp 1 at 5900 meters when the slide came. Fellow team mates reportedly found their bodies some 300 meters away from the camp, according to CTMA.
Manaslu Piotr Pustelnik received an SMS late Sunday stating that Kinga Baranowska and Edurne Pasaban bagged Manaslu. “All members returned to BC the same day, good job,” Piotr commented. The climb wasn’t easy, so check in Monday for further summit reports. C2 was totaled and the storms also covered all of the fixed lines with up to 10 ft of snow, reported Himex, whose Sherpas took on most of the hard work of re-fixing ropes, digging for tents and supplies, and carrying up new gear. By the end of the week, all teams climbing without O2 reportedly retreated as tension brewed below.
“We are stuck on the mountain due to lack of support from the expedition leader, Henry Todd” vented Mexican doc Yuri Contreras on Friday, whose under-supplied team reportedly had to do most of the work themselves. When a promised tent was missing at 6,800 meters, the hypothermic climbers were forced to seek shelter with Jagged-Globe and some Americans. The Serbian team were negotiating with unwilling Sherpas (also on Todd’s logistics), about a continuation of the summit push. “Back in BC, tension was high among members,” wrote Edurne following a roundtrip to C2. “It was difficult to explain to my mates we are not yet fully acclimatized, and thus we need to wait some more…” Most teams hoped to summit Manaslu today, Sunday.
Nangpa La 2 years after – Cho Oyu summits across a silent border Two years on from the Nangpa shooting and 6 months after the Lhasa crackdowns; the border of Tibet with Nepal is effectively sealed, reported savetibet.org. Armed troops have been stepped up with People’s Armed Police frequently seen on the Nepal side of the border. The Tibetan Refugee Reception Center in Kathmandu is empty and Prachanda has once again pledged to support China on the Tibet issue. On the second anniversary of the Nangpa La shooting, last week Save Tibet posted a tribute to late mountaineer Pavle Kozjek, while the few mountaineers allowed on Cho Oyu bagged the first 8000+ summits of the current season. IMG and Summit Climb topped out, the Italian team was not so lucky while Spanish Extremadura were still trying.
Baruntse summits Turning to Baruntse after getting the cold shoulder on Cho Oyu, and following a prolonged stay in C2, climbers summited at last. Louis Kosztelny and Dave Morton (Adventure Consultants and Alpine Ascents) showed live from high camps the entire climb on the peak’s remote slopes over Contact 4.0, including a detailed description of the climbing route on the fairly new climbing target. “Our summit day was wonderful,” AA’s Dave Morton reported. “We were able to capitalize on the short weather window lasting about 36 hours and were rewarded with a spectacular route and unmatched views.”
Louis Kosztelny recalled an avalanche only inches from the fixed rope: “I looked to the right to see if we can move further that way, but my ice axe plunged through the cornice into couple of thousand feet of thin air. This wasn’t a joke. The route on the upper section of Baruntse was ‘improvised’ by three Sherpas only an hour in front if us. It was dicey.”
Makalu – scary flight and porters wearing saris Jesús Calleja’s Makalu team was airlifted from Lukla in small charge choppers, used to carry supplies to flooded areas of Nepal. With not enough power for the thin air, in Makalu BC the pilot asked climbers to toss loads and jump out from 15 ft above ground. “Once in BC, most of the porters we had hired to carry loads to ABC signed off when they found out they were supposed to reach 5,600 meters,” Calleja added. “A group of women dressed in saris and sandals volunteered to take their place.” The mountain is reportedly packed with snow, releasing massive avalanches. Jesús also reported his team is sharing the mountain with another Spanish team of four climbers and four Sherpas, plus Indian Shekhar and two Sherpas.
Annapurna IV: Brad and Tonya’s summit attempt “The Sherpas have gotten sick and could not continue further up the mountain – therefore Tonya and Brad are unassisted at this point,” Dare to Dream home team reported Thursday. “They will make a push for the high ridge which leads to the summit late today (yesterday) or tomorrow.”
Dhaulagiri: British John Crellin and Dorjee Sherpa are reportedly headed up on Dhaulagiri. “Their plan is to summit Dhaulagiri by the first week of October,” wrote Adventure Extreme outfitter Jiten Shrestha in an email heads-up.
Pumori: “The weather in the mountains has not been that favorable for climbers who came for earlier climbs – we have been watching the developing pattern of a later monsoon each year,” Peak Freaks’ Becky reported. “To compensate we have been moving our expedition start dates back a few days each year. Therefore the upcoming Pumori climb will commence on Oct. 4.”
Karakoram 2008 Season´s end Chronicle ExWeb’s contributor Brazilian writer and chronicler Rodrigo Granzotto Peron compiled an amazing season’s end report from the past Pakistan season. Read all about the 14, 8000er quest climbers who bagged a summit this season, promises vs. accomplishments, fast triples, ski descents, tragedies and rescues, firsts and record breakers, absolute numbers of ascents and curiosities.
No plans for New Year’s celebration? How about Everest BC! Himalayanglacier trekking agency in Nepal has sent out an invitation to celebrate New Year in Everest BC with them. The trek kicks off December 24, last 2 weeks, and costs from $1460. Less crowded than Times Square guaranteed.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Week-In-Review Tagged: | Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Climbers, Dhaulagiri, Everest, Himalayas, K2, Kangchenjunga, Karakoram, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Nangpa La, Pakistan, Piotr Pustelnik, Pumori, Trango Towers, Week-In-Review