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Himalaya Spring 2017: It’s Finally Go Time on Everest.

After years of planning, months of preparation and training, and weeks of acclimatizing and waiting, it’s now starting to look like it is time to climb on Everest. The teams on both the North and South Sides of the mountain have been patiently watching the weather forecasts for the past week or so, and conditions are starting to finally come around. But the weather windows look tight, so squads are setting off now to get themselves into position for the summit push to come.

If you’ve been following the season closely, and you thought to yourself that the weather seems odd this year, you’re not alone. In fact, Alan Arnette has written an article on that very subject, quoting meteorologist Michael Fagin of Everest Weather who has described conditions this year as the most difficult to forecast in the 14 years he’s been predicting weather in the Himalaya. He also indicated that the forecast models have often changed ever 12 hours, which is why it has been so difficult to nail down a good window to launch summit bids.

But, things are changing, and there does seem to be a two short periods of stability about to arrive. The first should take place on May 18-21 – essentially today through Sunday, and then again from May 23-25, which is the middle of next week. The teams on the mountain are now scrambling to take advantage of these calmer days ahead.

Amongst them is the IMG squad, which sent their first wave of climbers up yesterday. They’re expected to reach Camp 2 today, and if everything goes according to schedule, they should be ready to summit over the weekend. But, the team’s guides are keeping a close eye on conditions to determine the right time to climb. They also have two other waves of climbers waiting for their turn, with another one likely to set out today.

Joining IMG will be the Mountain Professionals who also set out yesterday, along with on the South Side, along with the 7 Summits Club and Summit Club on the North Side. Others are sure to join in on the fun too, while some are likely to hold off and wait for the second window to open early next week.
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Himalaya Spring 2017: More Summits on Everest, Dhualagiri, and Makalu.

With mid-May finally here, the pace of climbing has definitely started to pick up in the Himalaya. The season will start to grow short soon, and in just a few weeks it will close down altogether. With that in mind, teams are on the move all over the region, with more than a few now finding success on their respective mountains.

Yesterday we reported that the route to the top of Mt. Everest from the South Side had opened after the rope fixing team took advantage of a small weather window to finish installing the lines to the summit. We also knew that a few foreign climbers followed closely behind but just how many remained a bit of a mystery. Today, The Himalayan Times reports that at least 35 other climbers summited Everest in the wake of the rope fixing team, with some of the most prepared and eager mountaineers also taking advantage of the weather window. The group of summiteers was a mix of both foreign climbers and Sherpa guides. With the weather window now closing, they are all descending back to Base Camp today.

Most of the teams are now in Base Camp and eyeing the forecast, which calls for higher winds over the next few days. But, as we inch closer to the weekend, conditions are expected to improve and another weather window is expected to open. Look for a major push on both sides of Everest to begin on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, with climbers looking to top out over the weekend. We’re in the final stages of the season now, but there is a lot of work to be done before we’re through.
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Himalaya Spring 2017: Ropes Fixed on Everest North Side, Nine Sherpas Reach Summit.

More news from the Himalaya this morning (May 11, 2017), where we’ve learned that rope fixing efforts on the North Side of Everest are now complete. According to The Himalayan Times, nine Sherpas from Kathmandu-based Arun Treks recorded the first summits of the season at 4:30 PM local time today.

This news means that climbers on the Tibetan side of the mountain can now begin planning their summit window, as the weather is reportedly quite good there at the moment. Whether or not that forecast will hold long enough for teams to make their push to the top remains to be seen, but the route is now open and ready to go. Eager climbers will now wrap up their acclimatization efforts and starting looking for the proper timing, with the first commercial summits possibly coming as soon as early next week.

Meanwhile, on the South Side of Everest the story is a completely different one. Yesterday, the rope fixing team descended to Camp 2 to rest and avoid incoming poor weather conditions. The upper flanks of the mountain are reportedly very windy at the moment, delaying all efforts to install the fixed lines above the Balcony. The Times indicates that efforts to finish installing the ropes are now delayed until early next week while the Sherpas rest and wait for better conditions.

If the ropes are installed as planned, expect the first commercial summits from that side of the mountain to occur not long after. By now, the teams have mostly wrapped up their acclimatization rotations, and are heading back to BC to wait for conditions to improve. When that happens, they’ll be ready to head up, with mass summits likely coming within a day or two of the ropes being fixed.

For now, the spring season is still proceeding as expected with only a slight delay in the schedule. If a proper weather window doesn’t open however, things could get very interesting. With mid-May quickly approaching, and the summer monsoon now just a few weeks off, persistently poor weather conditions could make reaching the summit a real challenge. That isn’t likely to happen of course, but Mother Nature is fickle, and the weather always decided when climbers can go up.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on things and report any changes as they occur. For now though, it looks like the North Side climbers can start planning their summit bids, while those on the South Side will have to continue to wait.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Ropes Fixed on Everest North Side, Nine Sherpas Reach Summit

** see also: –

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Himalaya Spring 2017: Rope Fixing Team Retreats on Everest, Kilian Speed Climbs Cho You.

Just a quick update from Everest today, as it seems that the rope fixing team on the South Side was forced to retreat to Camp 2 yesterday before reaching the summit. Reportedly the weather there is quite good, and should remain so for the next several days, but heavy snow on the upper slopes of the mountain have made the process of installing the lines on the mountain more time consuming and exhausting than expected. As a result, the Sherpa team was able to add to the route yesterday, extending it up above the balcony, but after spending several days above 8000 meters (26,200 ft), the squad simply had to descend to regain their strength and get some much deserved rest.

This delay in getting the ropes into place will likely cause the teams that are currently at or above C2 to retreat to Base Camp as well and wait for the work to be completed. Most of the climbers are now fully acclimatized and are simply waiting for the lines to be installed and a proper weather window. Once access to the summit is granted, there is likely to be a mad dash for the summit, provided the weather allows.

Reports indicate that there is plenty of snow on the upper flanks of Everest this year, which is welcome news for the climbers. Most would rather climb on snow and ice rather than bare rock, and it seems that will be the case this season. Not only is it easier to make the ascent over the more technical sections of the climb, it is also safer too. Often the wind clears the snow from the upper sections of the mountain, but this year it looks like it will remain.

So what does this mean for the climbing schedule? It now looks like the ropes won’t be fixed until late this week, which means summits attempts will be pushed into next week. The forecast continues to look good, although winds do pick up some over the next couple of days. If everything holds however, we can now expect possible summits by next week this time, although even that could fluctuate some. So far, everything is still going as schedule, and nothing is really out of the ordinary, but until the rope fixing is completed, the teams remain in a holding pattern.
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Himalaya Spring 2017: Teams Continue Acclimatization and Look Toward Summit Bids.

The climbing teams on Mt. Everest continue to play the waiting game today, watching the weather, waiting for news on the completion of the route to the summit, and plotting their eventual summit bids. Reportedly, conditions are good and things are going according to plan, but it remains unclear as to when the first summits of the season will take place, or when the waves of commercial climbers will follow along. But over the next few days, we should learn a lot about the schedule ahead and have a clearer picture of what to expect later this week and next.

The rope fixing team continues to make progress and could potentially complete their work today. Yesterday, the group of Sherpas charged with installing the lines on the South Side of Everest reached the Balcony and today they hope to go all the way up to the summit. They’ll need to put in a full day’s work to finish the task, but they seem poised to make that happen and record the first summits of the season at the same time.
Once the ropes are in place they’ll descend back to Base Camp for a much needed and deserved rest. At that point, the other teams will check the weather forecast and their own health and condition, to begin thinking about when they’ll launch summit bids of their own. Right now, that looks like it could start as early as this coming weekend, although ultimately Mother Nature will decide when to grant access to the top of Everest.
In the meantime, the teams are keeping busy in a variety of ways. For instance, the IMG squad is spread out between Camps 1 and 3, with climbers in each location wrapping up their acclimatization process. It is possible that they are moving into position to make a dash for the summit once the ropes are installed, or they could be finishing one last rotation before returning to BC for a rest before starting their summit bids next week. A number of the other teams are on track for the same schedule, making a mass ascent in the days ahead as has become the norm on Everest in recent years.
So there you have it. The stage is nearly set, and teams are preparing to make their push. The weather forecasts look good heading into next week, which is pretty much exactly what is expected for mid-May. Now, it is only a matter of time. But first, the Sherpas must finish their work. Hopefully that will happen today, and the summit season will officially begin.
Good luck to everyone!

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: Teams Continue Acclimatization and Look Toward Summit Bids

** see also: –

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Reinhold Messner on the Future of Climbing Everest.

Italian climbing legend Reinhold Messner has weighed in on the current state of affairs on Everest, and where mountaineering on the world’s highest peak is headed, and as usual his thoughts are quite fascinating. Messner recently spoke with The Diplomat about these subjects and more, bringing his years of vast experience and knowledge to the table. In his typical style, the iconic climber doesn’t mince too many words.

In the interview, Messner talks about the crowded conditions on Everest, and the guided climbs to the summit that are now very different than when he made his famous ascents on the mountain. In describing what it is like there, the Italian says that it is not alpinism but is instead tourism. A very different game than previous generations. He also says that with the path more well prepared and set out for the climbers to follow, the sense of adventure and exploration is gone. It is simply a guided trip to the top of the world.

The Italian also discusses the growing sense of resentment amongst Sherpas and how that has led to more locally owned trekking and climbing companies in Nepal. Those companies are able to offer less expensive trips into the mountain, and as a result they are slowly but surely eroding the business of foreign operators. That will have a dramatic impact on the future of climbing on Everest. Those same Sherpa are also now very experienced and talented mountaineers in their own right, and no longer need to follow the foreign climbers up the slopes.

Messner goes on to touch on the dangers of climbing the mountain, the fact that no one listens to the danger signs until it is too late, and the fact that so man inexperienced climbers are traveling to the Himalaya. He also talks about his relationship to Buddhism and his hopes for a free and autonomous Tibet, amongst other topics.

Most of what Messner talks about isn’t especially new, and anyone who follows the climbing scene on Everest probably is aware of the things that are going on there. Still, it is always interesting to hear a man of his prominence and stature share his opinion on where mountaineering was, where its at now, and where it is heading. Check out the full text of the interview here.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –Reinhold Messner on the Future of Climbing Everest

** see also: – https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/travel/

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