Huge summit pushes are underway again however, with most climbers – including on Everest – gunning for a May 18-19 weather window. The Kazakhs Lhotse-Everest team is retreating, while many Everest South side teams are in Camp 3.
Last week brought debriefs on the fatal Khumbu icefall avalanche; deadly methanol in Everest BC; the car accident involving Central Asia Institute staff and journalists; a ghost ship; a cruise in pirate waters; and – the Hubble telescope. There were several interviews and K2 pioneer Achille Compagnoni passed at age 94.
Everest south side icefall avalanche debriefs: Walter Laserer, Lhapka Nuru Sherpa and Bernice Notenboom got hit by the biggest avalanche this season racing down the West Shoulder of Mount Everest. Bernice escaped without much harm, while Walter had to be rescued by other climbers – mostly members in the Indian Mountaineering Institute which were very close when the avalanche struck. Several people looked in vain for Lhakpa Nuru until dangerous conditions forced the search to be called off. A boot belonging to the Sherpa was the only trace found.
Bad whiskey kills Sherpa in Everest BC Ngima Sherpa and Mountain Top Kaji Sherpa shared what they thought was Nepali Royal Stag deluxe whisky – instead this was methanol, part a stock of illegal brew made in Kathmandu and delivered throughout the Khumbu in the last few months. The dealer in Lukla is a Gurung called Lama and so far four other people have died in the region because of this poisoning, Gavin Bate reported. Kaji died while Ngima survived after a prolonged battle for his life first by the Indian Army team doctor and then the HRA medical emergency tent and others.
News from Pakistan: American photographers recovering – obituary for driver Raza Khan Teru Kuwayama, the fearless NYC photographer who has helped Central Asia Institute (CAI) for several years, was in a near fatal accident on the road from Peshawar to Islamabad last Saturday evening. Pathan driver Raza Khan was killed. Preliminary reports said that Lynsey Addario, a New York Times photographer/writer was also killed in the same accident. However, ”both photographers are no longer in critical condition at Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad, and will be evacuated back to USA later this week,” CAI’s Greg Mortenson told ExWeb in an email. “Teru had multiple contusions and head trauma, while Lynsey sustained a broken collarbone and other injuries.”
Cho Oyu: Denis and Boris’ SE face summit, alpine style Only months after his virgin winter ascent of Makalu; Denis is done with his last 8000er – Cho Oyu’s SE face climbed in alpine style for the first time. The summit was attained on May 11 just as a big storm ravaged Himalaya sending down all other climbers; descent took three days, via the ascent route.
Cho Oyu: Anyone to fix ropes? Al Filo Spanish team of disabled climbers reported that there are no fixed ropes above C2, and some climbers are waiting for someone else to do the job for them. “There are no strong Sherpa teams here fixing the route,” they dispatched. “That’s fine with us, but apparently not with other climbers who lack the skill to fix ropes by themselves – and haven’t brought a single meter of rope anyway.”
Ben Clark – 10 days on Baruntse The team was stuck at 21,500 for a few days in the storm. A case of AMS prevented a ski descent so the climbers came back down their ascent route. Ben and Josh might go back up in a few days.
New line in Western Sichuan Jannu North face 2002’s summiteers Alexander Ruchkin and Mikhail Mikhailov climbed an unnamed 6206 m top via a 1000 meter big wall, RussianClimb reported.
Makalu: retreat from the West Pillar Weather forced Albert, Mikel and Juan back from Makalu West pillar last weekend. The climbers returned to BC after a rough night in high winds at 6,500m. This weekend the climbers returned to BC after a second failed attempt.
Kangchenjunga: Edurne Pasaban hoped to reach the top by Saturday or Sunday. “Everybody is here,” Edurne told ExWeb over the sat phone from C3 on Friday. “Mi Sun Go’s Korean team; Spaniards Alberto Zerain, Patxi Goñi, Koke Lasa, Juanjo Garra; Polish Kinga Baranovska; Norwegian Jon Gangdal; a Dutch climber (don´t know his name), and Italian Nives & Romano.” By Sunday the Kangch summit bid was delayed one day due to wind (summits expected on Monday).
Dhaulagiri: Sky-skier Louis Stitzinger’s team, two Korean newcomers and a Japanese team are on summit push.
Manaslu: “There’s a limit for everything – after 40 days on this mountain, we’ve reached ours by far,” Carlos Pauner decided Thursday and called the expedition off. In spite of deep snow burying the route and wrecked high camps, some other Manaslu teams launched a summit push: “The Andalusia girls, Japanese, Swiss and some individual climbers are going up,” the girl’s home team reported Friday. The climbers hope to reach C4 on Sunday, and then go for the summit later that night. Should the wind blow too strong, they may wait for one extra night in C3, in order to attempt the summit on Tuesday. Bolotov’s Russian team is still hoping for the weather to improve, in order to launch a fifth (!) attempt to reach Manaslu summit.
Everest north side: Everest north side teams have been moving slowly due to excess snow. Newcomers are World Wide Viking’s Norwegian expedition which includes Petter Kragset (in his third attempt on Everest), Johnny Brevik (second time on the mountain) and Stein Grønnerøe (Everest first-timer). Some climbers such as the Japanese plan summit pushes within two weeks.
Shisha Pangma: Romania’s Explorers Sport & Charity Foundation is attempting a new route on Shisha Pangma near the 1982’ British route. The team will only use one high camp and a gear drop. The expedition is a first stage in the “Endeavor 8000 Transylvania” series aiming to summit all 14, 8000ers in light style.
Summit pics and debriefs: Joao Garcia, already back in Portugal, sent over some pics from his recent ascent on Manaslu. Also the Indian Army expedition members are back home, from where they sent over a Dhaulagiri summit report and pictures to ExWeb.
Lhotse: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Ralf Dujmovits, David Göttler and Hirotaka Takeuchi are preparing to set off from BC towards Lhotse’s summit. “We’ll wait for a further confirmation forecasts tomorrow, but all going according to plans we will leave BC on Sunday,” Ralf reported Friday.
Nanda Devi: The Polish team is in their second week on Nanda Devi East. Some members reached Longstaff pass last week, and are now on their way back to BC, across C1 and ABC.
Puryear and Gottlieb’s Jobo Rinjang debrief: “It is with great happiness that David and I report the first ascent of Jobo Rinjang (6,778 meters) via the direct south face, in the Khumbu Region of Nepal, climbing alpine style over 6 days (from April 20 to April 25), summiting on April 22,” Joe Puryear reported in his debrief. Americans Joe Puryear and David Gottlieb bagged a first ascent on a highly difficult 6,778 m mountain face in alpine style, and compiled a complete list of surrounding peaks – for those who will follow.
Pakistan: BP/K2double team off to Skardu Elisabeth Revol, Antoine Girard and Ludovic Giambiasi are sharing permit for Broad Peak and K2 with another team and will fly to Skardu tomorrow morning. The trek starts May 18 – the small team’s outfit agency reportedly told them they are first up, with the others expeditions to arrive later.
Achille Compagnoni dies Italian K2 pioneer Achille Compagnoni died on Wednesday May 13 in a northern Italy hospital at age 94.
ExWeb Interview with 2009 Nanga/K2 leader Gerfried Göschl After surprising the Himalayan climbing community by summiting Shisha and Everest (no O2) within one month in 2005; Gerfried Göschl will lead a large team in an attempt on Nanga Parbat and K2 via new routes this summer. ExWeb ran a 2-part interview with the mountaineer.
Chocolate Sherpa Project: Chocs tasted for Nepal mobile hospital Louis-Philippe Loncke and his team reached their goal to distribute 100 kg Belgian chocolate at Everest Base Camp and raise awareness for the necessity of a mobile hospital in Nepal.
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Week-In-Review Tagged: | Avalanche, Cho Oyu, Climbers, Denis Urubko, Dhaulagiri, Edurne Pasaban, Everest, Everest north side, Everest South side, Expedition, Icefall, Kangchenjunga, Khumbu, Lhotse, Makalu, Manaslu, Nanda Devi, Polish Kinga Baranovska, Shisha Pangma, Travel