Himalaya 2008 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /19/ – Week in Review.

One after the other, difficult attempts on Himalayan 8000ers folded last week. Skiing 1300 vertical meters of virgin powder from 6800 meters; Fredrik and Jorgen played Russian Roulette with avalanches on Kang.

Commercial teams are not exactly know to forge new routes, but last week they did exactly that – gaining the summit of Ama Dablam for their efforts.

In other news: Antarctica is kicking off with skiers assembled on both sides of the continent. Ethics/politics: Peruffo’s comment to Warwick, Makalu trash heads-up, Nepal 7 years after. Here goes:

Makalu: push against the odds With November 5 cutoff time, the west face crew decided to give the attempt a shot late last week in spite of winds still at 50 mph and temperatures well below zero in forecasts. “Even if we only manage to climb for the first couple of days, at least it will be worth it,” House stated. “We would learn as much as we can of the route, in order to plan further attempts in the future.”

Annapurna – game over for all teams “Our bid for the summit was a no-go due to weather forecast models calling for continuous 60km+ (68 mph) winds,” Tonya reported from Anna’s south side. “Besides, the route from BC to C1 has been wiped out by a massive glacial slide.” In addition, a fairly large avalanche plowed down the mountain and consumed the location of C2. Over on the north side, Minarik, Masek and Kopold reached 7500 meters before aborting as well.

Kangchenjunga debrief – it’s over Fredrik and Jorgen aborted their attempt due to two feet of fresh snow covering the face blasted bare by the recent jet storm. “Standing at 6800 meters we had 1300 vertical meters of powder skiing ahead of us. But to make it down without getting avalanched we had to use all our experience and all the tricks in the book,” Fred reported. “I am disappointed that we didn’t reach the summit but at the same time relieved that we made it down safely.”

Pumori: game over Kajee and Dorji Sherpa broke through to the summit ridge and encountered waist deep snow and instability in the snow pack. The snow left behind from the monsoon has not had a chance to set-up because of the cold temperatures, leaving the summit ridge much too dangerous for a summit push at Peak Freak’s attempt.

Kang Guru: Climbers back to a doomed mountain Fresh from successfully leading a team on Manaslu, Phil Crampton is back for another joint venture between Altitude Junkies and Project Himalaya. The team reached Kang Guru (7,010 meters) Base camp on October 24th. The tents were pitched at a much lower elevation than the traditional base camp that suffered an infamous avalanche in 2005, which killed 7 French climbers, a Sherpa and 10 local porters. “We believe we are the first expedition in 3 years to visit the mountain,” Phil noted.

Ama Dablam: Summits! On Friday 6 climbers and Phurba Tashi Sherpa, Dorje Sherpa and Nima Sherpa were the first people to achieve the summit of Ama Dablam this year. Adrian Ballinger reported that a brand new 2.7. camp has replaced the regular camp 3, with teams collaborating on a new variation way to the right of the old route and the calving Dablam. “It is a much harder, more technical climb — including hundreds of metres of clear blue ice — but it avoids the overhang and allows a much safer approach to the summit,” Ballinger wrote.

Baruntse summits Amical Alpin team leader Rainer Picher, plus six team members and two high-altitude porters summited Baruntse on October 23td, in high winds and deep cold.

Vince Anderson’s heads-up from Makalu, “in all my expeditions, I don’t think I have ever seen a dirtier scene left behind” Coming down the normal route from the saddle after their first ascent of Makalu 2; Vince, Marko and Steve encountered bowls, pots, silverware, unburned rubbish, tables, chairs, stoves, gas cans – all remains from another expedition that left the peak two weeks ago. 

Earthquake hits south-west Pakistan A 6,5 earthquake hit south-west Pakistan last week, with several aftershocks rattling the area. The death toll is stated by some sources to be up to 600. As in 2005, the quake struck before the looming winter, leaving people homeless in freezing temperatures.

Climbers for human rights: Alberto Peruffo about “the other Maga,” Padua University and Paris results “The unspeakable violations of human rights in Tibet are a civil question first and only second a political question,” Alberto commented the Warwick t-shirt issue and mentioned Padua University who climbed Monte Verena together for the SadSmokyMountains project in Italy the same day that Maga was forced to resign. Padua’s battle for academic pride and freedom is ancient; Galileo Galilei taught at the University 1592-1610 and Padua also took a leading role in the struggle against the Nazi occupation of 1943-45.

Nepal 7 years after The new UN secretary-general Korean Buddhist Ban Ki-Moon will hold talks with Maoist Prachanda this weekend at Yak and Yeti, Times of India reported. The last UN chief’s visit to Nepal was seven years ago, when Kofi Annan met with king Birendra, gunned down only three months later. Annan also met with the then prime minister Koirala. Ban will only hold a brief meeting with Koirala, now the opposition leader. Scheduled is also a visit at Buddha’s birthplace, but probably not the empty Tibetan refugee center in Kathmandu.

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