Only to reach the foot of their mountains; international climbers are dodging strikes and unrest in several areas of Nepal. Some, facing house-odds worse than a Monte Carlo casino, are still gambling on China’s whimsical politics.
While waiting for the actual climbs to kick off; last week ExWeb ran a couple of cool interviews with selected Basque climbers.
Annapurna: hard to reach mountain After a huge Korean team grabbed almost all men available, Victor and Valery had a hard time trying to find local porters. The motley crew eventually assembled was next held up by local strikes. The two climbers meanwhile bought 400 m of rope to fix an exposed pass, for the porters to cross safely, who however jumped ship already at about 3600 m. Valery and Victor now hope to hire the Korean’s porters, currently on their way to Annapurna BC.
Kangchenjunga: hard to reach mountain Political unrest further caused Nives Meroi and Romano Benet to change their expedition plans: they are going for Annapurna south face instead of the problematic Kangchenjunga region, where their expedition staff and gear was held up by Maoists cadres due to strikes. ”The blockade was established by the Limbuan ethnic group, and they inhabit an area located before Taplejung,” reported Edurne’s expedition outfitter after the strike reportedly was called off.
Basque and Norwegian Kangchenjunga camp-songs Described by the late Iñaki Ochoa as one of the strongest climbers in the world; Jorge Egocheaga is to replace Mikel Zabalza on Edurne Pasaban’s Kangchenjunga expedition after Zabalza decided to join Alberto Iñurrategi and Juan Vallejo on Makalu’s West Pillar. Also headed for Kang but in a separate expedition is leader of the 2004 K2 Magic Line expedition Spanish Oscar Cadiach, climbing together with Alberto Zerain (K2 summit last summer) who might attempt Yalung Kang as well. Norwegians Jon Gangdal and Mattias Karlsson will also attempt Kangchenjunga, with Dawa Tenzing Sherpa, Dawa Chhiri Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa.
Everest: hard to reach north side A huge Indian border police team has been granted a permit to climb Everest from Tibet, although the climbers – some of them hoping to ski down from the summit – are not allowed to use their own comms equipment. “The mountaineers will carry satellite phones since the Chinese Government has not allowed them to carry their own communication equipment, citing security reasons,” Indian Express reported. The Japanese expedition launched by Kanagawa University’s Alpine Club is one of the other few reportedly attempting Everest from Tibet.
Everest north side & Annapurna double jeopardy Czech Libor Uher is headed for Annapurna’s East ridge before Everest’s Hornbein Couloir. Libor’s plans are pending the Chinese authorities though, who now are supposed to open the Nepal-Tibetan border by April 30th. Uher had originally planned to acclimatize on Cho Oyu, but had to switch to Annapurna due to the border closure.
Everest: 7-summits Club going south Seven Summits Club Everest Expedition is finally being launched from the peak’s Nepalese side – a first for Everest north side veteran Alex Abramov.
Manaslu’s 2009 hall of fame Manaslu will sport some big names this spring: a strong Russian team led by Alexey Bolotov and including Eugeny Vinogradsky and Gleb Sokolov is headed for the peak. The expedition is sharing climbing permit with Peter Hamor and Piotr Moravski. The Russians are climbing the normal route, the “Two Peters” will go for a new line on the West face. Italian Mario Merelli and Mario Panzeri are also expected on the peak, with Italian friends. First to reach Manaslu BC and after solving some comms problems, Joao Garcia reported a heavy snow-storm wrapping the mountain late last week.
Mehdi Etemadfar: From Iran to Dhaulagiri Iranian climber and “Snow Leopard” Mehdi Etemadfar is in KTM for his second attempt to summit Dhaulagiri. Climbing in an international expedition on the normal route, Mehdi has previously topped Broad Peak and GI in addition to the Leopards of former Soviet.
Pakistan: Russians scouting on Baltoro for Winter K2 A Russian National team will tackle K2 this winter. The expedition will go from Pakistan instead of the previously eyed Chinese side; RussianClimb’s Lena Laletina told ExWeb. Victor Kozlov and Nickolay Totmjanin are on the Baltoro glacier already to scout the faces and choose a line.
Billi Bierling about the reality in Nepal’s peace process “According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Nepal ranks eighth in the list of countries where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis,” Billi Bierling reported, adding that an editor of the Nepali Times told her that if local conflicts are not resolved, a war could break out that would be “Bosnia times ten.” The month of February saw a strike every single day in the whole of Nepal, Billie quoted the source concluding, “so, it is all very well that we are supposed to be having a peace process, however, the reality on the ground looks very different.”
Makalu West Pillar: ExWeb interview with Juan Vallejo, “it’s a committed climb, with no room for errors” Juan Vallejo started his Himalayan career with the Al Filo de lo Imposible TV series. 8, 8000er summits later, Juan turned to tougher routes, smaller teams and a lighter style together with another 14x8000ers summiteer; fellow Basque Alberto Iñurrategi. Makalu’s West Pillar is next, in alpine style. ExWeb’s Angela Benavides caught up with Juan in Spain for an interview.
Kangchenjunga – ExWeb interview with Edurne Pasaban: From K2’s ashes into the 14x8000ers front line As a young mountaineer, Basque female climber Edurne Pasaban just wanted to have some fun. K2 changed all that. In 2004, its summit cost Edurne two toes, weeks in hospital, and a year-long depression. Edurne took a deep look inside and came back sharper, wiser and sure of her goal: to become the world’s first female 14x8000ers summiteer. Before her departure Monday for Kangchenjunga, she sat down for a chat with ExplorersWeb.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Week-In-Review | Tagged: Annapurna, Climbers, Dhaulagiri, Edurne Pasaban, Everest, Everest traverse, Himalayas, Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Manaslu, Nepal, Nives Meroi, Peter Hamor, Piotr Morawski, Polish climber, Sherpa, Tibet, Travel, Valery Babanov, Week-In-Review |