Himalaya Spring 2017: Teams Arriving in Base Camp on Everest.

Autor : Kraig Becker

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been posting a number of pre-season updates from the Himalaya, essentially setting the stage for the next couple of months of climbing in Nepal and Tibet. But now, its time to get down to business with most mountaineers now having arrived in Kathmandu and are either preparing to head to their respective mountains or are already en route. Some, are even now arriving in Base Camp, particularly on Everest.

The most prominent squad to reach EBC at this point is International Mountain Guides (aka IMG). The company’s first team reached Base Camp last Friday and are now settling in, while they await the arrival of two other IMG teams that are still further down the Khumbu Valley and trekking up to that location. The climbers who are already there have been spending the past few days getting settled and resting up, while also working on their skills in a special obstacle course that was set up to prepare them for what they’ll face on the mountain, especially as they cross through the dreaded Khumbu Icefall.

The first team has also gone through its Puja ceremony, which involves a Buddhist lama and several monks asking the local mountain gods to protect the climbers as they prepare to head up the mountain. During the ceremony, the mountaineers all receive blessings, as does their gear. They also ask for safe passage up and down the mountain as well.

While the Puja may sound like a superstitious ritual, it is also tradition on Everest and other Himalayan peaks. The Sherpas in particular are reluctant to step food on any mountain without first getting the blessings from the lama, and over the course of the next few weeks, every team will have their own ceremony in anticipation of the start of the climb.

Now that the IMG team has gotten settled, their next step will be to head back down the Khumbu Valley today to trek to Lobuche Peak. This 6118 meter (20,075 ft) mountain will serve as a warm-up climb and acclimatization trek before they start on Everest. Over the past few years many teams have chosen to acclimate on other mountains as a way to avoid passing through the icefall too many times, and it has proven to be a safe and effective way to get accustomed to the altitude before heading up to Camp 1 or 2.

Meanwhile, there are a number of other teams that are still making their way up the Khumbu to BC and are now at various points along the valley. For instance, the Adventure Consultants are on their way to Kongma La after climbing Chukkung Ri as part of their acclimatization efforts. They expect to be in BC by Thursday of this week. RMI has several trekking teams in the area as well, as does Mountain Professionals, who last checked in from Lobuche, which means they should probably reach Base Camp today.

In other news, Ueli Steck should now be in Nepal after departing from Europe this past weekend. He’ll spend a bit of time in Kathmandu before heading out to the Khumbu, where he’ll undergo his own acclimatization training. From there, it’ll be on to EBC before the start of his much-anticipated Everest-Lhotse traverse. There are some rumblings that if all goes well, he may extend that traverse to include Nuptse too. We’ll have to wait to see, as it is already a very ambitious project.

On the other side of Everest in the north, the Tibetan border has now reportedly opened and the first teams are driving to EBC in that country. While the mountain is much easier to reach on the North Side, climbers still have to take their time and allow their bodies to become accustomed to the altitude. Most make several stops along the way to try to slowly adjust, but they don’t have the same kind of acclimatization trek as the teams on the South Side do. Still, we should see the first climbers trickling into camp on that side of the mountain over the next few days too.

That’s it for now. More new from the Himalaya soon.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Teams Arriving in Base Camp on Everest

** see also: –Himalaya Spring 2017: The Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition – 3 Miles Across the Death Zone.

Video: A View From the Summit of Lhotse.

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Himalaya Spring 2017: ExWeb Provides Yet More Expeditions of Note.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Yesterday I posted an article sharing some of the more interesting expeditions that will be taking place in the Himalaya this season, most notably on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. Later in the day I also shared the reveal of the Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition that will send Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger on an epic high-altidue odyssey unlike anything that has ever been done before. Today, we have another list of interesting climbs set for this spring courtesy of Explorer’s Web.

ExWeb’s round up includes some of the expeditions that I’ve already posted about, including Ueli Steck’s ambitious Everest-Lhotse Traverse. But, it also includes brief looks at a lot more projects that I haven’t mentioned yet. For instance, the article has an overview of everyone who is attempting Everest without bottled oxygen this year, including names like Ralf Dujmovits, Ferran Latore, Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards. Ballinger and Richards are back once again to share their antics on social media, which was closely followed last season as well. The article also mentions that Nobukazu Kuriki will be back on Everest this spring as well, this time making an attempt on the North Side without O’s. Kuriki is famous for his solo attempts on Everest in the fall where he has sometimes run into trouble in the past.

The story also mentions that Min Bahadur will be back on Everest this spring as well as he looks to set a new record for the oldest person to summit the mountain. If successful, he’ll have reached the top at the ripe-young age of 85.

Elsewhere, Peter Hamor is looking for his 14th – and final – 8000 meter peak without supplemental oxygen as he takes on Dhaulagiri this spring. Carlos Soria will also be on that mountain searching for his 13th eight-thousander at the age of 78. They’ll be joined by several other teams as well. Italian climbers Nives Meroi and Romano Benet are returning to the Himalaya too. They’re already Base Camp on Annapurna and looking to nab their final 8000-meter mountain as well.

Finally, a four-person team made of Polish climbers is already in pace on Makalu and making steady progress. According to ExWeb they reached Camp 1 at 6400 meters (20,997 ft) on April 4. The plan is to acclimatize and summit that mountain first before moving over to Lhotse later in the season.

As you can see, we’ll have plenty of action to follow all spring long. There are probably even a few big expeditions that have yet to be revealed. One thing is for sure, it’ll certainly be an interesting season as usual.

* source: –  Himalaya Spring 2017: ExWeb Provides Yet More Expeditions of Note

** see also: –Himalaya Spring 2017: The Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition – 3 Miles Across the Death Zone.

Video: A View From the Summit of Lhotse.

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Himalaya Spring 2017: The Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition – 3 Miles Across the Death Zone.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Earlier today I posted a story about some interesting expeditions to follow in the Himalaya this spring the aren’t taking place on Everest. Not long after that story went live on The Adventure Blog, we got news of yet another very interesting climb that is set to get underway soon as well, with one of the most difficult mountains in the world as the target.

This morning, Simone Moro took the wraps off of his next project which is called the Kangchenjunga Skyline Expedition. As has been the case in most of his recent expeditions, he’ll be climbing with Tamara Lunger on what promises to be one of the most difficult endeavors of their careers – which is definitely saying something.

The plan is for the the duo to attempt an incredibly difficult and high altitude traverse without the use of supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. They’ll start on the Kangchenjunga plateau and cross over four massive peaks along the way, starting with Yalung Kang (8505 m/27,902 ft), then on to the third highest peak on the planet in Kangchenjunga itself at 8586 meters (28,169 ft), before proceeding on to Kangchenjunga Central (8482 m/27,828 ft), before proceeding to Kangchenjunga South (8476 m/27,808 ft). Along the way, they’ll cover more than 5.5 km (3.5 miles) above 8300 meters (27,230 ft), all the while trekking above the so called “Death Zone” without bottled oxygen.

Once acclimatized, Simone and Tamara will spend seven days on the traverse, completely unsupported along the way. If they are successful, it will be the longest traverse at altitude ever.

To learn more about this impressive expedition, check out the announcement video below.

Video: A View From the Summit of Lhotse.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Earlier today we shared several stories involving Lhotse, the next-door neighbor of Everest. In this video, you’ll go up the mountain to get a look at the surrounding region from must below the summit, including the view back down the approach to the top, and images of Everest itself. As you look across to the tallest mountain on the planet, you’ll also see the ridge that connects the two mountains. That ridge is the way that Ueli Steck will traverse the two summits later this spring. The clip was shot back in 2008, but will still give you an indication of what he’ll face in a month and a half. Obviously not a project for the faint of heart.

Himalaya Spring 2017: Blind Austrian Climber Returns to Everest.

Autor : Kraig Becker

As I mentioned early, the spring climbing season in the Himalaya is still a month away from truly getting started, but we’re starting to see some interesting stories emerge ahead of the climbers arriving in Kathmandu. As usual, there will be a number of fascinating climbs to follow over the course of the two months that the season runs, not the least of which will be Andy Holzer’s expedition to Everest, his third attempt in the last four years.

Andy is an Austrian mountaineer who happens to be blind. He has set a goal for himself to climb the seven summits, and has already knocked off six of those mountains, leaving just Everest yet to be climbed. He first traveled to the mountain back in 2014, when the collapse of a serac claimed the lives of 16 porters, abruptly ending that season before it ever got started. In 2015, Holzer returned to Everest, only to have the devastating earthquake that occurred that year bring an end to his efforts. After skipping 2016, he now plans to return again this year.

Recently, Holzer conducted an interview with Stefan Nestler, which as now been posted to his adventure sports blog. In that interview he talks about his return to the mountain, the reasons he’s climbing from the North Side in Tibet, his training and preparation, and a lot more. He also talks about his relationship with Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind climber to summit Everest to date. The two have been friends for awhile now, but Andy’s approach to the climb is a bit of a different one.

Everest always delivers such interesting stories and 2017 is already shaping up to be no different. I expect the mountain will be very crowded this year, with a record number of summits. Most of those men and women will go up and down the slopes with relative anonymity, But every once in awhile we get a really great, touching story. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more to share in the days ahead.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Blind Austrian Climber Returns to Everest

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Himalaya Spring 2017: Bill Burke Heading Back to his Namesake Mountain.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Over the past couple of climbing seasons in the Himalaya, one of the mountains that we’ve watched closely has been Burke-Khang, an unclimbed 6942 meter (22,775 ft) peak located in the  Solukhumbu region of Nepal not far from Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu. The mountain is named after American climber Bill Burke, who has spent the past couple of years trying to complete the first ascent of the peak that bears his name. Those efforts have been stymied by bad weather, and in some cases bad luck, so far but, and after not being able to summit last year, it looked like it might be awhile before anyone would try again. But, it turns out that a new expedition is in the works, and Bill will once again be taking a crack at the mountain.

In a recent blog post on his website, Bill wrote “It’s a Go!” regarding a new expedition to take place this spring. Apparently, the team of Sherpas that he works with on this climb have made a reconnaissance flight over Burke-Khang and have spotted a route that will take the team up the mountain more safely. Last year’s attempt was blocked by a dangerous icefall, but in the months since they were last there, the seracs that made up the icefall have collapsed, clearing the way forward.

Bill says that there are still a few crevasses to traverse, but the snow is reportedly in good condition and the route up is much safer and more straightforward. There are a few sections of blue ice to climb, and the headwall on the way to the summit is described as “steep,” but everyone is feeling much better about their chances heading into the 2017 season.

Burke left for Kathmandu on March 1 and should now be in Nepal and making plans for the start of the expedition. Hopefully, after two years of being denied the chance, he’ll finally stand on top of his namesake mountain at long last.

We’ll be following Bill’s progress and adding a number of other expeditions to our line-up in the days ahead. The start of the season isn’t as far off as it would seem at this point and things will start to get very interesting in just a few weeks time. Stay tuned.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Bill Burke Heading Back to his Namesake Mountain

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Winter Climbs 2017: Icefall Route Restored on Everest.

Autor : Kraig Becker

Alex Txikon and his team of Sherpas continue to make progress on Everest as they attempt one more shot at the summit. The squad arrived back on the mountain earlier in the week, and have been working on restoring the route through the Khumbu Icefall ever since. Now, with that job done, they are turning their attention upward with the hope of making a final push to the top soon.

In all, it took three days to completely rebuild the path through the icefall. According to reports, more than 60% of the route was destroyed while Txikon and his crew were back in Kathmandu for eight days. Bad weather and shifting ice took its toll on the path, which is mostly made up of ropes and long aluminum ladders that are used to cross open crevasses.

With the icefall now tamed once again, the team is planning their next move. Yesterday was a rest day, but today they intend to get back on the move. They’ll climb straight up to Camp 2 and 6400 meters (20,997 ft). Since the group should be fully acclimatized at this point, this could indicate that they are prepared to make a summit bid now, although it could simply be a recon mission to check the status of the camps prior to resting for a few days. That said, time is now of the essence. With just three weeks left in the winter season, and their endurance starting to be tested, we’re closing in on a “now or never” situation. And of course, as always, it is the weather that will ultimately decide when they can have a go at the top again.

To get an idea of what it is like to work in the Khumbu Icefall, check out the video below. We’ll have more updates as we learn more about Alex’s plans moving forward.

* source: – Winter Climbs 2017: Icefall Route Restored on Everest

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