Edurne Pasaban, Oh Eun-Sun and Joao Garcia are already on their way to Annapurna, while an impressive number of teams are expected to follow in what will (surely) be the most crowded season the mountain has seen yet. Snow conditions may prove critical for potentially early summit pushes.
Early birds such as the Spanish Al Filo team, in an open race for the first female 14x8000ers record, are highly dependant on good conditions in the first weeks. Edurne, Ferran Latorre, Alex Chicon, Asier Izaguirre and Nacho Orviz need to move fast up the peak’s north side French route, in order to launch a summit push, top-out and then hurry to Shisha Pangma… before Korean Miss Oh gets the cake on Annapurna, the only 8000er left in her own “Great 14” quest.
Good, dry news
So what kind of weather can be expected?
“It is almost impossible to collect reliable data from Nepal,” MeteoExploration’s meteorologist Javier Corripio stated. “Even official sources from the World Meteorological Organization are poor. However, I have downloaded the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, which is data from the global weather models archived from 1948 and post-processed for standardisation and normalization. It shows that last year has been dryer than the average. This is confirmed by the meteoexploration database which shows lower values than the climatic averages given by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) for Kathmandu.”
“A dry year obviously means less avalanches but icier conditions and crevasses less covered,” Javier added.
Edurne Pasaban confirmed the news over sat phone from Kagbeni village. “ We are acclimatizing in Annapurna region since yesterday, and will gather with the filming crew in Tatopani for a chopper lift to BC next Monday,” Pasaban reported.
“Earlier today we saw Annapurna massif and Dhaulagiri – the peaks look rather dry, which is good news for us,” the Spaniard told her home team. “Villagers also say that rains have been scarce through the winter.”
Heroes, knights and the Polish princess
Piotr wants to finish his 14, 8000er quest, and also pay tribute to close friend and climbing mate Piotr Morawski, perished on Dhaula one year ago. Usually teaming up with Slovak Peter Hamor, the trio was known as the “three Peters” in a number of impressive climbs (some bold attempts on Anna included). Hamor will join Pustelnik, in spite of having summited Annapurna already.
The team also includes a climber with a pendant deal with Annapurna: Romanian Horia Colibasanu. Horia was with Iñaki Ochoa on Anna in 2008. While some of the best climbers in the world ran to the peak in a desperate attempt to rescue Iñaki, the Romanian remained with the unconscious climber for five days, in a tiny tent at 7,400 meters. Exhausted and sick, Horia refused to leave his mate until Swiss Ueli Steck replaced his watch. Sadly, Ochoa died soon after.
Horia attempted Shisha Pangma in fall last year, together with Juanito Oiarzabal (also expected on the spot as member in Carlos Pauner’s team).
The expedition sums up with Polish Kinga Baranowska who, still in her early 30s, is ready to turn Annapurna into her 7th 8000er.
Finally, American Nick Rice has changed his mind in the last minute and forgoes his plans for Kangchenjunga in order to join the Anna crowd.
– Annapurna 2010: Piotr Pustelnik: The Knight’s comeback.
Annapurna 2010 wrap-up: Edurne & Co – Annapurna BC-ho!
Still within calendar winter, Spanish Al Filo de lo Imposible team led by Edurne Pasaban, reached a lonely Annapurna north side BC yesterday.
The small helicopter available at Tatopani needed no less than ten trips to BC and back, in order to transport the expedition’s loads and personnel: Spaniards Edurne, Nacho, Alex, Asier and Ferrán plus three TV crew members, four high-altitude sherpas and BC staff.
No time to lose
Fully-focused on a double header which would get Edurne done with her 14x8000er proyect, the team is willing to start the climb ASAP, hoping for an early summit push.
Should they top-out, the climbers would quickly move into Tibet for a shot on Shisha Pangma – that is, as long as Chinese authorities have granted access across the border by the time.
News is expected soon on weather and route conditions, as well as the climbers’ immediate plans. Portuguese Joao Garcia and south Korean Oh Eun-Sun, also aiming for Anna and already in Nepal, are not scheduled to reach the spot before next week.
Links to Annapurna 2010 teams:
Edurne Pasaban’s team
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Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Travel Tagged: | Annapurna, Carlos Pauner, Climbers, Edurne Pasaban, Expedition, Himalaya, Juanito Oiarzabal, Kathmandu, Kinga Baranowska, Nepal, Oh Eun-sun, Piotr Pustelnik, Travel