Himalaya 2011 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /9/ – Week in Review.

It’s been a rollercoaster month. Let’s go straight to it:

K2 editorial: end of an era in womens’ Himalaya “Summiting K2 with a small group of friends, through the peak’s wild side, and without supplementary oxygen is almost as beautiful as it gets,” wrote ExWeb founder Tina Sjogren about Gerlinde’s success closing the dramatic and decade-long quest for the first female fourteen 8000ers.

Leila Esfandyari in fatal fall on GII Iranian lady climber Leila Esfandyari fell to her death while descending from GII’s top July 22. According to Iranian Mountainzone, Leila summited with a few of her team members but fell on descent to C3. The first female expedition leader from Iran, Leila had sold her house to climb. Deeply admired by her countrymen, “she lived free and died free,” commented a reader the news at ExplorersWeb.

K2 north pillar summits Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner summited K2 and bagged the first female No-O2 14x8000ers challenge. Darek Zaluski, Vassiliy Pivtsov and Maxut Zhumayev followed on top soon after. K2 became also Max and Vasso’s last 8000er without supplementary oxygen.

K2 south side no-go The wind was too strong to even think of a summit push. Disappointed (this was Gerfried’s third attempt on K2 since 2007) all mountaineers descended and left the south side unclimbed yet another year. American Fabrizio Zangrilli and Polish Kinga Baranowska were first to arrive and last to leave. “K2 is a tough nut to crack,” Fabrizio noted.

9 days after bagging GI Alex Txikon topped out GII together with Louis Rousseau on July 22. Another 11 climbers reportedly followed, including Spanish Pauner after climbing for 11 hours non-stop. Pauner mentioned there were no fixed ropes high up before the summit.

This was 8000er summit number 12 and a sweet comeback for Carlos Pauner after his latest two summit climbs (Anna in 2010 and Lhotse this spring) when Carlos needed help to descend, while his climbing mates got into trouble (Tolo Calafat died on Annapurna and Lolo Gonzalez was rescued by other teams from above 8.000m on Lhotse).

Pompili: a debrief and a tribute. Led by Goeshl, Giuseppe Pompili posted an upfront debrief about his expedition to which Gerfried and Louis both strongly responded. Pompili further wrote a tribute to Iranian Leila Esfandyari whom he knew since an attempt on K2 last year. “She was a beautiful Iranian woman, determined to climb, even alone against all, against the bureaucracy of a country that does not give too much space to independent mountaineers, especially if on bad terms with the powerful federation,” Pompili wrote.

ExWeb interview with Louis Rousseau: “Friends fight, brothers fight – then become stronger together” There were a few fights, two rescues, and lots of route breaking on GI. In other words: classic Himalaya climbing. With three 8000ers in his bag, ExWeb ran an interview with Canadian Louis Rousseau about Gerfried, rope fixing, summer vs. winter climbing, fear, conflicts, friendship, rescues, summits, and future plans.

Broad Peak and more Xavi Arias, Xavi Aymar, Alexey Bolotov and Christian Trommsdorf summited Broad Peak. So did three FTA climbers, including 14x8000er racer Sophie Denis. Luis Stitzinger skied down from the col on Broad Peak (and later carved a 2,800 meters long run on K2). Scott Mackenzie (UK) reportedly summited Broad Peak and skied down.

Rodrigo Granzotto-Peron compiled a mid-season heads-up on various expeditions including the spires.

Shigar porters killed in avalanche 3 porters from Shigar were buried under a boulder slide at Urdukass on the Baltoro glacier on August 16. 4 other porters were injured, two seriously. Army Aviation in Skardu flew a MI-17 helicopter sortie to Urdukass to evacuate the bodies to Dassu and the injured to Skardu.

Kanchenjunga: How Anselm found Cleo in the snow, take 2 Brazilian/American Cleo Weidlich has compiled a Kanchenjunga debrief posted in English by online Brazilian climbing news source Extremos.com. Thanking in part her rescuers Anselm Murphy and Ted Atkins; Cleo also states they acted by their own choice and defends her Sherpas.

BSES youth died in polar bear attack on Svalbard 17-year-old Horatio Chapple was killed in a polar bear attack at a BSES camp in Von Postbreen, 40km from Longyearbyen. 4 other persons were severely injured. BSES (British Schools Exploring Society) chairman Edward Watson later said that BSES will leave no stone unturned in investigating the incident.

Turk & Boomer finish Ellesmere Island circumnavigation while scaring off polar bears Erik Boomer & Jon Turk traveled 1485 miles in 104 days, skiing on rigid fast ice, jumping from flow to flow on moving pack ice & finally paddling through ice choked water. During the last week they were targeted by polar bears; one bit through the tent while 5 looked on.

Resolute Bay plane crash South Camp Inn is known to most Arctic skiers as the final Base Camp before they are flown to the Canadian edge of the ice. Last Saturday (August 20) a chartered First Air 737 passenger jet crashed near Resolute Bay, killing 12 people and injuring three. Aziz (Ozzie) Kheraj lost his 6-year-old granddaughter Cheyenne Eckalook, other victims included Arctic researcher Marty Bergmann and South Camp Inn cook Randy Reid.

Ogita and Kakuhata finished Canadian tundra expedition The two Japanese adventurers completed the tundra section of their expedition in the high Canadian Arctic. They sledge hauled, backpacked and rowed 565 km to arrive after 54 days at Baker Lake from Gjoa Haven. The trip was tough, but fun and with lots of wildlife around, said Ogita to ExplorersWeb.

Crevasses thwarted Greenland speed ski record attempt “Hats Off for the Norwegians,” said Alex Hibbert & Andrew Wilkinson who were stopped on their skis near their finish point on the west coast of Greenland. The 2 Brits started their speed ski attempt over 350miles on August 12. The weather was good, but the crevasses on the glacier were a challenge. To top that, one of their skis broke. Leaving the Norwegian record safe in the bag, Alex and Andrew reported that the final 60 miles were possibly the most difficult to cross as they encountered 30ft wide melt pools; furthermore the crevasse field of the final 10 miles proved impassable.

NWP: Shoestring projects stretches Edvin Buregren and Nicolas Peissel finally reached the southern tip of Greenland on their Northwest Passage on a shoestring project. The ice conditions were difficult, but the crew on the Hallberg Rassy 31 enjoyed their time in ice. Due to delays the team has decided to over winter the boat.

2011-12 Guidelines for NGO Visitors to the South Pole Station A significant larger crowd of people are expected at the South Pole during this 2011-12 Antarctica summer season, because of the centenary celebrations of Amundsen and Scott and their teams’ arrival at 90°S. The United States, who runs the South Pole Station, has published guidelines for non-governmental visitors (skiers, car drivers, fly-in visitors, pilots) at 90° South regarding access routes, camping areas, prohibited areas, and more.

NASA Research Leads To First Complete Map Of Antarctic Ice Flow The map shows glaciers flowing thousands of miles from the continent’s deep interior to its coast. Researchers discovered a new ridge splitting the 5.4 million-square-mile landmass from east to west. They also found unnamed formations moving up to 800ft annually across immense plains.

Heads up: Leon McCarron & Rob Lilwall’s walk and kayak from Mongolia to Hong Kong In November 2011 Leon McCarron and Rob Lilwall will set off on a 2,500 miles trek in winter from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert via the Great Wall of China and the Yellow River. McCarron told ExWeb about the challenges they are facing, getting and carrying food and water, and about the logistics of the trip.

Dimitri Kieffer heading towards The Road of Bones Cycling along The Road of Bones in Far Eastern Russia is the next challenge for Kieffer in his human powered circumnavigation. Joining him on this 1760km road between Omsukchan (Magadanskaya Oblast) and Yakutsk, (Republic of Sakha) is his girlfriend Gulnara Miftakhova.

Erden Eruc: Last country in Africa by bicycle The Turk-born American climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, had a serious crash on the road, accomplished his third antipodal point, enjoyed Zambia, and cycled into Namibia. His latest concern where to launch his rowboat and the long Skeleton Coast with its shipwrecks, swells and onshore winds.

Big 5 Kayak Challenge Retrace Historic Gold Rush Route This is Harpham’s 11th expedition and he has now 5000 miles of pure human powered ground behind him. In his toughest expedition so far, Richard Harpham brought his brother to do The Juneau to Whitehorse expedition by sea kayak, mountain trekking and packaraft.

Disaster for Joyon as he capsizes In his attempt to get his record back on the single handed transatlantic west to east sail between New York and UK Francis Joyon did only get to sail 7 hours before he capzised his 30 meters long trimaran IDEC. The French sailing legend was unhurt in the incident.

Teen update: Dekker approaching Australia One year out already teen sailor Laura Dekker is soon halfway on her quest to sail around the world. The 15 year old girl is now underway from Vanatu to Darwin, Australia, and she has reportedly grown accustomed to the easy lifestyle of sailing single-handed from harbor to harbor around the world.

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* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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