Himalaya 2009 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /16/ – Week in Review.

Celebrations and terror both took place on Manaslu last week. Closing April 2009; high Himalayas have already claimed the lives of three mountaineers.

There was triumph at the North Pole, with both full length teams, one unsupported and one guided/supported, breaking a number of records. ExWeb ran an interview with Simone Moro, Henk de Velde reached another harbor, and Everest is slowly getting ready for the big day – on both sides.

Manaslu summit and tragedy Joao Garcia, Kim Chang-Ho, Seo Sung-Ho, and Lhakpa Tsering Sherpa (in a repeat) topped out in lousy conditions. A short sat call to his home team from Czech Radek Jaros said he summited Manaslu the following day. The mountain claimed the life of Italian Giuseppe Antonelli, who was lost to HAPE while retreating from C3.

Annapurna: Elisabeth Revol’s recount French Eli Revol reported that she and Martin Minarik reached Annapurna’s Eastern summit on April 19th. The weather turned for the worse that day, adding to the climbers’ exhaustion after 8 days on the face. The two reportedly came down the north side in a terrible snow storm, with Martin feeling increasingly weaker. Revol took a fall and barely escaped a gaping crevasse the following day. The last she saw of Martin was a dot descending at about 6,700m in her tracks. Search parties have been unsuccessful and hopes for Martin’s survival have faded.

Lunag Ri summit! Joe Puryear and David bagged the virgin summit of Lunag Ri, also called Jobu Ribjang, reported their KTM outfitter Climb High.

Everest north side: Gabriel Filippi’s team is in place with Peruvian Richard, who will attempt a no-O2, no Sherpa support Everest climb. Libor Uher’s team also crossed the Nepal/Chinese border. Manuel Pizarro and his mate climbed to 11,000 feet in a little less than 72 hours, and met mountaineers crushed by the altitude which had to descend all the way to Kodari. SummitClimb ascended to NC April 26 and will head back up on April 30th for a camp 1 and camp 2 rotation before the final summit attempt.

Everest South side: The jet stream descended on Everest early in the week; trashing a number of tents in C2. The fixed lines have been put in as far as the South Col, and the Yellow Band is to be bolted. Climbers are heading up on a last rotation trip which includes one night in C3, while some groups have reportedly not gone through the icefall at all, but are acclimatizing on nearby peaks instead. A snow weather front was expected to move in on Friday.

The Croatian Everest women got a cool visit from Andrej Stremfelj with wife Marija (the first married couple on top of Everest 19 years ago), Viki Groselj, Stipe Bozic, Tone Skarja and others from the Slovenian/Croatian/Bosnian 1979 Everest west ridge expedition.

Lhotse-Everest traverse: The team was visited by 14x8000er summiteer Silvio “Gnaro” Mondinelli, possibly going for Lhotse. The Kazakhs set off on their third rotation trip to C2 late week, with the goal to set and supply C4 at 8,000m, spend a night and then return to BC for final rest before the planned Lhotse-Everest traverse.

Cho Oyu: “Welcome to Tibet” SummitClimb’s international Cho Oyu troop crossed into Tibet April 25, uneventfully and the customs official said, ‘Welcome to Tibet’, Martha Johnson reported from Nyalam. Spanish Al Filo reported eight teams of barely 50 foreign climbers and about 20 high-altitude Sherpas in Cho Oyu BC.

Makalu: West Pillar Alberto Iñurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo climbed Baruntse as a preparatory climb before attempting Makalu’s West Pillar in alpine style. The climbers used no fixed ropes or camps on the way to Baruntse’s summit. Next acclimatization trip will be up to Makalu La, where the climbers plan to spend one night.

Makalu normal route: Roland Hunter and his team made it to the Col on Tuesday. Next stop is Makalu La and then the final push. Other climbers on the peak include a 16 men-strong Indian team, two Swedes, two Spaniards, one Japanese, one Mexican, and an American team led by Steve House (currently acclimatizing on Baruntse).

Makalu/Kangchen double for Korean dark horse? A 12-member Korean team is currently fixing the entire route and breaking trail for a female team member. “She has not left BC yet. Once the route is ready, she’ll just go all the way to the top, while a chopper waits in BC, ready to airlift her to Kangchenjunga,” the Basques reported. “Another Korean team is currently working for the lady on Kanchen, so she can go for another summit push right after arrival in BC, with everything fixed for her.” The Korean lady is probably Oh Eun-sun, hoping to bag the 14x8000ers in record time.

Kangchenjunga: Edurne & Co left a cache in C3, while Oscar Cadiach’s team did a first trip up to C1. No news yet on Nives and Romano, expected in BC any day. Norwegian Jon Gangdal’s team is also working on Kangchen’s southern side.

Dhaulagiri: Sky-skier Louis Stitzinger’s team left a cache at C1 and returned to BC. “An Indian expedition has fixed thick 10mm ropes on the lower sections of the route,” they reported. “In addition there are Korean, Japanese, Polish and Czech teams here.” Some climbers reported there might be a summit push ongoing, but no news is available yet. The Polish team of Tatra Mountain rescuers reported strong winds and tough sections of crystal ice between C2 and C3, which forced the climbers to fix a large amount of rope.

Pumori: Russian Krasnoyarsk team set up Base Camp (5180 m) by Pumori’s South face on Monday. “Weather’s being great – conditions are unusual for spring-time in the Himalayas: There is little snow and the rivers are dry,” they reported.

Steck, Anthamatten and Samurais awarded Piolets d’Or – BAC prize for Ochoa’s rescuers A wider choice for election turned the brand new award into plural “Piolets d’Or”, multiplying the number of prizes. Three teams – two of them Japanese – were unanimously awarded (Kamet’s SE face, Kalanka’s North face, Tengkampoche’s North face). A ‘life-time-award’ went to Walter Bonatti, 79. A “Spirit of Mountaineering”, award went to the group of voluntary rescuers who attempted to rescue Iñaki Ochoa on Annapurna’s South face.

Winter Makalu debrief interview with Simone Moro: Following his first winter ascent of Makalu, Simone returned home to a chain of dramatic events. His Shisha climbing partner was lost on Dhaulagiri and an earth quake struck his country. ExWeb caught up with Moro in US this week for a 2-part interview.

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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