Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /25/ – Week in Review.

American mountaineer Ryan Waters and his team of Elbrus climbers were among the 105 passengers freed from a hijacked plane by Russian special forces today.

In other news: few summits in Karakoram so far and all K2 pushes aborted. Norwegian Plur Nilssen was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear. Wayne Maynard made it to the North Pole alone in his aircraft, 14-year-old Laura Dekker is free to sail and Jury-rigged Franco-Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto finished his circumnavigation.

Boulder climber Ryan Waters after being freed by Caucasus plane hijack attempt: “All is OK” American mountaineer and recent Antarctica record skier Ryan Waters of Boulder is safe following an attempted hijacking of a domestic plane from Caucasus to Moscow. Ryan had just led a successful 8 person international team of members from US and Brazil up Elbrus for Mountain Professionals and was on the way to Moscow to fly back home when the hijack attempt took place.

Svalbard kayakers attacked by Polar Bear Norwegians Sebastian Plur Nilssen, 22, and Ludvig Fjeld, 22, had a nightmare awakening on Svalbard Thursday. Plur Nilssen was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear and dragged off until his expedition partner managed to shoot the animal.

Wayne Maynard’s flight across the North Pole For safety reasons, pilots assisting polar skiers always fly with a co-pilot and have fuel depots en route. But on July 27 at 3:50 pm Wayne Maynard made it to the North Pole alone in his aircraft. The 61-year old solo aviator made a victory flight over the Pole for his charity, took pictures, filmed a short video and made phone calls to donors, friends and family before he headed back to Canada.

Teen sail update: Dekker is free to sail The 14-year-old Dutch girl Laura Dekker has been allowed to sail solo around the world by the court. She is back in the care of her parents, and as long as they agree she can start her plans for a record sail. She will start her circumnavigation in two weeks.

GI and GII double-header bagged Early G1 summit claims around July 20 were left unconfirmed or denied by the climbers themselves. Canadian Don Bowie and Russian Alexei Bolotov’s attempt ended VERY close from target, in chest-deep snow and unstable snow slabs underneath. But, “If you can’t ride that thing like a pony, you ain’t on top!” Bowie “quoted” John Wayne and returned for another shot one week later. On July 29, Bowie and Bolotov summited G1 at last together with American Marty Schmidt and Czechs Radek Jaros and Libor Uher who completed their GI and GII double-header.

Tale from the northern “wild” side of GI After prevailing over solitude, lack of information and Chinese red-tape; avalanches on the virgin face finally forced Italians Daniele, Mario and Herve to abort their alpine-style attempt. Montagna.org editor Sara Sottocornola told ExplorersWeb, “Both Mario and Daniele have climbed Annapurna, and yet they were shocked at watching GI seracs and constant avalanches triggering down from every point of the wall.”

Climbing with a HAP on K2, only three days after arrival in BC Bulgarian Petar Georgiev Unzhiev reportedly went directly to Camp 1 and on to Camp 2 the next day. Fellow mountaineers on the route reported that Petar seemed unwell but trusted the HAP would look after him. After pitching the tent and brewing up, Petar’s HAP however returned to base camp. The next day Petar was found dead inside his C2 tent. Cause of death was probably HACE according to American Trey Cook, climbing with Swedish ski-mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson.

K2 Deep, unstable snow and wind increased during the night finally forced down all climbers pushing for K2 summit via the Cesen route on July 27. A second bid is planned by some, such as FTA and Korean Mr. Cha. Maxut Zhumaiev and Vassiliy Pivtsov arrived at K2 BC on July 25 after trekking along the shortest possible route via Gondogora La. The Kazakhs plan a fast acclimatization round on the Cesen route, collaborating with the Polish team through Russian Yuri Ermachek.

ExWeb interview with FTA: “Don’t expect tea served to you in your tent at C3 in the Karakoram” Although not strictly guided, Field Touring Alpine is one of the few “commercial” expeditions attempting K2. Stu Remensnyder plus guides Fabrizio Zangrilli and Chris Szymiec told ExWeb about the double-header strategy, collaboration with other teams and the real meaning of a “commercial” expedition in the Karakoram 8000ers.

Broad Peak: nothing is impossible Slovakia Marmota expedition, the Russians and Norwegians Peter and Alexander reckon that “everything is possible and nothing is impossible for too long,” amidst massive snowfalls.

GII Altitude Junkies team leader Phil Crampton reported that while he and four other climbers were forced back by high winds, Freddy reached the top on the 18th along with his friends Pasang Lama and Pemba Sherpa and two Korean climbers from the Korean expedition (a Swedish media report stating that Fredrik Strang rescued fellow mountaineers with wild swings of his ice-axe has not been verified). Phil Crampton reported from BC Tuesday that the remains of the team is holding out at BC for improved weather.

J’Accuse: “Summit Sweeper” Arian Lemal strikes again “Staring at the atrocity for ten minutes, I counted 21 shredded-semi-buried-in-the-ice tents,” Arian reported from a junk-filled C4 on GII. “I also found “newish” empty gas canisters and food wrappers […] without asking, climbers believe it to be acceptable and maybe ‘useful’ to leave their unconsumed food for others. In my opinion, this is like abandoning rubbish,” he stated from BC.

Italians Daniele Nardi and Lorenzo Angelozzi are on their way to 6,300 meters Hassin Peak in Hushe valley. The “Hassin Peak Freedom 2010” expedition will climb in alpine style and hope to bag the spire’s first summit ever. According to the Italians, Hassim has been only attempted once, by a Canadian expedition.

Ama Dablam spring 2010: Russian debrief and reply to Philippe Gatta Eugeny Voronov took the thermos, and only the thermos he says, believing it had been left there by Zelenograd climbers. He then gave it back with an apology. He did not take the food and gas. Check out the Russian’s debrief and – um – feisty reply to Philippe Gatta.

ExWeb Interview with Sebastian Copeland, “filming goes on top of the demanding physical requirements” Sebastian and Eric McNair-Landry hold the world record for the longest kite ski distance travelled in a 24h period. Sebastian documents his extreme expeditions on film and told ExWeb about caring for cameras and filming in sub-zero temperatures.

ExWeb interview with Eric McNair-Landry, “I’m a kiter; I want to see the limits of this sport pushed” Setting a kite ski distance world record in June, Eric told ExplorersWeb all about the record setting day, navigating while kiting, and the gear he used on the record breaking trip.

Salt flat solo crossing coming up Greek adventurer Yanni Piveropoulos is in the final stage of preparing for his solo, unassisted, unsupported trek from west to east across Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat located in Bolivia at an altitude of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft).

Charlie Frew’s Trans Eurasian off-road Expedition Charlie Frew is attempting a 25,000 mile off-road expedition through parts of the world’s most fragile environments and remotest habitable places. Starting in May he is currently in Mongolia making his way across Asia and Europe and aiming to finish in May 2011 in Portugal.

Mongolia: Ripley Davenport evacuated Ripley passed the 1000 mile mark while trekking in the Altai Valley on his attempted solo crossing of Mongolia. Losing his footing on a steep slope, he was evacuated with injuries.

Iceland: ExWeb interview with Christopher Mike Two years ago Brit Christopher Mike became the first person to walk solo across Iceland. He spoke to ExWeb about the route, the challenges and feasibility of a winter Iceland crossing, and the responsibility that adventurers have regarding their own safety and towards the host country.

Iceland: Crossing lava and glacier fields Nearing Kotlutangi, the most southern point of Iceland, during the past week Louis-Philippe Loncke crossed a lava field and a section of Vatnajökull Glacier.

Girls around Britain: Setting a new record The Seagals Belinda Kirk, Laura Thomasson, Beverly Ashton and Angela Madsen passed under London’s Tower Bridge Friday 23rd July and set a new new Guinness world record of 51 days 16 hours and 42 minutes for an all-female crew rowing unaided around Britain.

North Pole Yacht Race: Russians in trouble Russian bureaucracy was a challenge even to the Russian expedition but the Russian steel yacht Peter 1 left Murmansk July 14th and got a gale pushing them North fast the first couple of days. Close to the top of Novaja Semlja they dealt with contaminated freshwater tanks.

Challenging ice conditions in the Arctic Several sailboats will try to go through the Northwest and Northeast Passage this Arctic summer. It is not a given that they succeed, says Arctic ice expert and adventurer Knut Espen Solberg: one of the foremost experts on Arctic ice conditions who has lived and sailed in the area.

Jury-rigged Italian finishes circumnavigation On Thursday July 22nd Franco-Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto arrived back in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Alessandro spent the past 268 days circumnavigating the world in a 6.5 meter yacht solo. The last part, the whole Atlantic, of it with a jury rig.

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