Himalaya 2008 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /22/ – Week in Review.

It’s mid-December and you know what that means: ExWeb is gearing up for the 2008 Best of ExplorersWeb Awards and Year in Review. But there will be more: check out this sneak preview on what’s up in the coming weeks:  best-of-new

Following a somewhat slow fall; we expect a very interesting winter. Antarctica will reach its peak with several record attempts closing during January, and we will be kicking off the spring Everest and Himalaya list of expeditions earlier than usual. Meanwhile in Himalaya and Karakoram, history could be made.

Winter climbs in Himalaya are very rare, even mere attempts are unusual. In the upcoming months we will have no less than three shots on 8000ers unclimbed in winter.

To mountaineers, a Himalayan 8000+ winter summit is a much coveted triumph. Yet in the past 14 years, we have had only one such. A void of almost 20 years followed the Polish until 2005 when Moro and Polish Piotr Morawski bagged a winter first in Himalaya. Even before their ascent though; the last of the “non-first” winter ascents took place in 1994 (Cho Oyu). Here’s why:

The official record for the coldest Northern Hemisphere temperature is -67.8C (-90F) in Siberia and the lowest temperature ever recorded on earth was -89C (129F) in the Russian Base Vostok in Antarctica. Note that this was at sea level; and probably in calm conditions.

On Everest (indicative of other 8000ers), the summit temperature never rises above -33C (-27F) during winter. There are almost constant hurricane force winds (more than 3 out of 4 days) on the summit. Add oxygen depravation to the average wind chill (-70C/-90F) and you’ll find close to impossible human conditions.

Last week was mainly about interviews with leaders of the upcoming winter climbs (Artur Hajzer and Simone Moro). There were reruns about the winter history on Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat, with a big wrap-up Friday of all the main winter Himalaya facts.

In other news; one is chasing a South Pole speed record but, should he get it, how long will he keep it? A team of three speed leopards are chasing him in turn.

American Alpine Journal sent out a last call for your new-route reports, and interesting stuff is brewing on the Oceans: what’s the deal with Italian rower Alex Bellini? Check in next week for that story and keep a watch out for Ollie – soon to resume his attempt to row around Antarctica!

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.
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