Himalaya 2009 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /15/ – Week in Review.

A century after Cook and Peary; this weekend John Huston and Tyler Fish became the first American team to reach the North Pole without assistance.

Concerns are grave for Martin Minarik, missing on Annapurna.

In other news: several major new route attempts were announced last week. A climber brought news from the Piolet d’Or award. ExWeb ran a number of interviews with researchers, climbers and polar explorers. The Indian Ocean race kicked off to a hard start: three boats retired, two within 36 hours.

Annapurna south watch: Czech Martin Minarik and French Elisabeth Revol reached Annapurna’s Eastern summit (8,021m) on Monday following eight days of rough conditions on the peak’s south side. By Wednesday while on descent, Eli Revol reported over SMS that “Martin is not well.” A report brought Sunday by Libor Uher’s website and later confirmed by Czech mountain news sources said that Eli and Martin split up at 7100 meters where Martin became unable to move on his own. Revol was found exhausted in Manang village and met with Libor´s team and Ms. Hawley in Kathmandu on Friday, trying to detail her route of descent. A two day search by helicopters and a team of Sherpa has been unsuccessful and the heli SAR was reportedly called off today.

From Annapurna to Kangchenjunga: “Conditions on Annapurna’s south face are too dangerous,” Nives & Romano’s home team reported. “Thus, the climbers are switching back to their original goal: Kangchenjunga.”

Annapurna north: Bad conditions on Anna’s north side thwarted all of Babanov & Afanasiev’s attempts to acclimatize up any of the routes. The Czech route was aborted due to a snow storm; a second push up the classical French was halted due to high risk of avalanches and serac falls. A huge snow-slide buried most of the ropes previously fixed by a Korean expedition and by Friday the two climbers decided to abandon altogether. “Annapurna is currently too dangerous both on its North and West sides – under such conditions; we can’t properly acclimatize for a serious climb,” commented Babanov.

Manaslu: massive summit push is on! Carlos Pauner, Joao Garcia, Mario Merelli, the French and Korean climbers are all on a big push, hoping to attempt the summit on or around April 27th. “The forecast shows three days of good weather, and then a major storm,” said Carlos Pauner about the tiny window.

ExWeb interviews with Joao Garcia. He is the first Portuguese summiteer of nine +8000 meter peaks, including Everest and K2 – all without supplementary oxygen. Only three 8000ers now remain to complete Joao’s quest for the 14 tallest mountains in the world. ExWeb caught up with the climber in Manaslu BC for a 2-part interview shortly before the current summit push.

Cho Oyu south-east face: Denis Urubko for new line in alpine style Only Cho Oyu remains on Urubko’s list of all 14, 8000ers. The politics holding his last mountain hostage proved an opportunity in disguise. Together with Boris Dedeshko, Denis will attempt Cho Oyu not from China – but from Nepal. The two mountaineers plan to study the wall for 5-6 days before the upcoming climb, which will go in alpine style.

Everest south side: A large chunk of ice collapsed mid-week in the Khumbu Icefall while over 100 Sherpas were heading up to C2. No injuries were reported, but the route was blocked for most of the day. A large number of Sherpa is currently fixing a double-lane route up the Lhotse Face towards C3. The Kazakh LET team moved their C3 camp to 7,300 meters by Friday. Explore Himalaya is launching “Everest Skydive 2009” run by world champion skydivers. Seven Summits Club reached the top of Amadablam (6856m) on April 18 and Island Peak on April 9 as the first climbers this season. Leader Victor Bobok then headed to Everest south side BC as guide for Alex Abramov.

Everest north side: Norwegian Jarle Traa is off to attempt Everest from its north side. After acclimatizing by climbing Elbrus twice, Jarle will continue his strategy from Shisha in 2006 and Cho Oyu in 2004 to climb independent with no Sherpa and no supplementary oxygen support. Canadian Manuel Pizarro and team mate André are rearranging to climb Everest from Tibet instead of their originally planned South side. SummitClimb reached ABC on Thursday. Japanese Kanagawa University’s Qomolangma team set off from Interim Camp towards ABC on Wednesday. The Serbian expedition was acclimatizing around the lower BC Friday while they arrange yaks to carry their loads to ABC.

Dhaulagiri mourning: Slovak Peter Hamor is back in Kathmandu, working all paperwork related to his friend Polish Piotr Morawski’s fatal accident on the mountain. “Blurry thoughts are slowly clearing up – very slowly,” Peter wrote. “In recent months, some great climbers were lost to the mountains: Jean-Christophe, Inaki, Jean Noel… And now ‘Tres Pedros’ belong to the past, since the youngest and healthiest of the three is gone…”

Cho Oyu unrestricted? In spite of closed borders, a few teams are reaching Cho Oyu’s Chinese BC. Members of a Belgian expedition arrived Monday.

E-Gongga (Mt.Edgar): “Jannu’s” for new route Jannu North face summiteers Alexander “Alex” Ruchkin and Mikhail “Misha” Mikhailov are off to Minya Konka massif (Western Sichuan), hoping to achieve the first alpine style ascent of E-Gongga (6618m) SE face.

Lunag Ri, so close: Following an ascent of the South Face of Jobo Rinzang (6,777 meters), the Eastern sub peak of the main summit – in the last report Joe and David were to climb a knife-edge 2km ridge to Lunag Ri’s main top.

Pumori: Russia for a new route: Russia’s Krasnoyarsk climbers hope to open a new route up the south face of Pumori.

Nanda Devi East: Polish Marcin Miotk and Grzegorz Mroz are leading a team currently on their way to Nanda Devi East, in an anniversary climb 70 years after a fellow Polish expedition achieved the peak’s first ascent. A British expedition led by Marin Moran is also on their way, in the first-ever guided attempt on the mountain’s East Summit.

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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* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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