Himalaya 2009 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /17/ – Week in Review.

Everest was summited for the first time this season on May 5th but the joy was clouded by serious avalanches claiming one life. Everest 1st summit_09  _600 New1

Also Kang and Dhaula got summits, with a near-complete ski descent on Kangchenjunga, but sadly the peak claimed another mountaineer last week. Two major climbs have kicked off: Makalu West Pillar and the SE face of Cho Oyu are full throttle, both in alpine style.

Mountaineers seem undeterred by fightings in Pakistan; some were scheduled to arrive Islamabad last week and with that the Karakoram 2009 list of expeditions is up.

The Indian Ocean Rowing Race keeps losing contestants and around-Antarctica Olly Hicks had a hard time making it back at all. In other news: cool NP debriefs and pics have arrived and two interesting Space events will take place in Orlando and NYC within the month.

Everest Summit news broke early this season. As usual the first top went to Sherpas working on the route with British David Tait following close behind on supplementary oxygen at 12.43 pm local time, on May 5th. Several teams such as IMG and SummitClimb are in the next wave of summit pushes ongoing right now.

Avalanche danger on Everest: Seems that the glaciers and mountain slopes are very active on Everest this year. A big avalanche swept the Khumbu icefall on May 1st, and Thursday yet another huge slide claimed a Sherpa’s life. The trouble is reportedly the West shoulder that has been calving on the icefall consistently this spring. A large avalanche swept also parts of Everest’s north side route Tuesday morning, right below the North Col.

Dhaulagiri summits: Czech David Fojtík and Turkish Tunc Findic summited Dhaulagiri on May 1st around 2:30pm via the NE ridge and skied down from the summit except for a clear ice section between 7,300m and 6,700m. A Korean climber topped-out at 6:30pm. David Fojtik was later airlifted to Kathmandu with frostbite. Sadly, the mountain claimed Iranian Mehdi Etemadfar who reportedly fell to his death while pushing for the summit on May 1st.

Dhaulagiri first Indian summit Six members from the Indian Army led by Maj Amit Aukta summitted Dhaulagiri on 8 May 09, 1130h – bagging a ‘first’ in the history of Indian mountaineering.

Cho Oyu: SE face summit push! Denis Urubko and Boris are ready to leave Cho Oyu ABC in a single summit push up a new route on Cho Oyu’s SE face. Denis reckoned the planned route looked extremely serious but said, “decided to fight ‘till the end – and Boris agrees with me.” The climbers are not bringing their sat-phone, so there will be no news from them until they return. Check in at ExWeb for a special story on this climb.

Makalu West Pillar summit push! Alberto Iñurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo departed BC early Wednesday morning for a single push up Makalu west pillar. The team hopes to climb the imposing ridge in 4-5 days, without previously set camps, Sherpa or fixed rope. Check in at ExWeb for a special story on this climb.

Summer 2009 Karakoram list of expeditions is up! Hundreds of thousands civilians are reportedly fleeing the North-West Frontier Province due to a military offensive against the Taliban. President Asif Ali Zardari however denied that the state of Pakistan is on the verge of collapse; “We are 180 million people. There the population is much, much more than the insurgents are,” he told NBC news Sunday. Also mountaineers seem undeterred; some climbers were scheduled to arrive Islamabad late last week and with that the Karakoram 2009 list of expeditions is up.

Manaslu rescue report: Merelli’s Italian team has packed up after they lost Giuseppe Antonelli on Manaslu. Reportedly, not only Antonelli was in trouble on the summit push: Marco Rusconi turned around at 8,000m, fell ill and his mates had to drag him down to C2, where they learned of Giuseppe’s death. Carlos Pauner’s doctor, the Andalusian female team and parts of the Val Valesia expedition all collaborated in Marco’s rescue and tried their best for Giuseppe. “Two Iranian climbers, on their way up, simply turned around in order to help Marco down. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s solidarity,” Merelli said.

Kangchenjunga summit: Kinga Baranowska, Edurne Pasaban, Nives Meroi – Kangchen is hosting a good number of the world’s foremost female 8000+ climbers. One such is Korean Oh Eun-sun, who bagged the first Kang summit of this season late last week.

Makalu summit and South Korea update: Last week word on Makalu was that a 12-member Korean team was fixing the entire route and breaking trail for Korean female climber Oh Eun-Sun; turns out the dark horse was Go Mi-Sun – and she summited Makalu on May 1st, together with three mates. Oh Eun-Sun is a serious contestant in the current quest for the first woman to climb all 14, 8000ers. Check in at ExWeb for the special report.

Everest south side one step closer to gondola? “80 years from now Everest will be climbed by helicopters and cable cars. In the lift, you will hear somebody say, ‘Hey, remember years ago all those dumb-asses getting themselves killed in avalanches and storms?’ And people will agree, smiling and shaking their heads in disbelief. Fortunately I’ll be gone.” To some, Inaki’s last words at ExplorersWeb before Annapurna took his life are ringing close already. Last week, IMG reported that Kari Kobler donated his Hilti bolt gun and guides Willie Benegas and Adrian Ballinger drilled six new 10cm Mammut stainless steel bolts up on the Yellow Band.

How many credits for Everest High School? Among the climbers currently preparing for a summit push on Everest’s south side are three 17 year old American kids on their first 8000+ meters experience: Johnny Strange, guided by Scott Woolums; John Collinson, guided by Damian Benegas (Mountain Madness), and Erica Dohring, guided by Dave Hahn (First Ascent).

Taiwanese firsts Only Everest remains for a Taiwanese team to bag the first “Seven Summit” quest for the country. “In addition, our only female member Chang is hoping to become the first Taiwanese woman to complete the 7 Summits and to summit Everest from both sides,” the team reported from BC.

Nanda Devi: Polish team in place Marcin Miotk’s Polish team reached Nanda Devi’s base on Monday. “We’ve set up BC at 4,300 m and ABC at 5,000 m,” the team reported.

Baruntse: American Ben Clark and his mates have begun climbing, charting the safest path on Baruntse east face. “We will likely begin by climbing a 20,000′ peak just above us and then suss out the access on the East ridge to get to the NE face,” Ben said. “Sometime in the next two weeks we will summit!”

Vacancy in Nepal: Visionary Leader Needed ExplorersWeb keep close watch of areas that often happen to be political hot-beds. Regular Himalayan/Everest expedition leader Jamie McGuinness has been resident in Kathmandu for years and written regional political analysis at ExWeb since 2006. Go check his latest take on the current situation in Nepal.

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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