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: New Routes on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma .

Autor : Kraig Becker

Not all of the action will take place on Everest this spring. While the tallest peak on the planet always takes center stage at this time of the year, there are plenty of expeditions to other mountains to keep our eyes on in the days ahead as well, including two attempts to open new routes on Cho You and Shishapangma.

ExWeb is reporting that the four man team of Louis Rousseau, Adam Bielecki, Rick Allen, and Felix Berg have announced that they will attempt a new line along the North Face of Cho Oyu. Their plan is to start at the base of the North Wall and climb directly up to a completely untouched section of the mountain. Much of this route is reportedly unexplored and the team isn’t sure what to expect when they get there, other than that it will be extremely technical.

The 8201 meter (26,906 ft) mountain is the sixth highest mountain in the world and is often described as the “easiest” of the 8000-meter peaks. But this team will be attacking its most difficult section, as the big wall they hope to ascend is roughly 2000 meters (6561 ft) in height and requires excellent rock climbing skills to go along with the demands of high altitude mountaineering. They’ll likely have to climb in alpine style and it could potentially be quite cold there. The North Face sees very little sunshine and even in the spring it can see temperatures well below freezing.

Meanwhile, Stefan Nestler has the scoop on another major expedition that has just left for the Himalaya. David Goettler is joining forces with Hervé Barmasse to attempt a new route along the South Face of Shishapangma in Tibet. Goettler attempted this same route last year with Ueli Steck, but the two were turned back in their attempt. This season, he is feeling much more confident about their chances.

The two climbers joined Steck in the Khumbu Valley for acclimatization training in February and will return to that region to tune up for the expedition again. They’ll spend another two weeks there prior to crossing over to Tibet to begin the climb. They’ll trek throughout the area and even warm up on Island Peak (6180 m/20,275 ft) before jumping across the border to begin.

Last year, Goettler and Steck were turned back on the 8027 meter (26,335 ft) Shishpangma due to bad weather. This year, the team is hoping for improved fortunes with better all around conditions. They should have already arrived in Kathmandu as I write this, and will be preparing to head out on their acclimatization treks soon.

Add both of these expeditions to your lists of ones to follow this spring. It is shaping up to be an interesting time in the Himalaya for sure.

* source: – Himalaya Spring 2017: New Routes on Cho Oyu and Shishapangma

** see also –

Himalaya Spring 2017: Ueli Steck Shares Everest-Lhotse Traverse Plans.

Autor : Kraig Becker

One of the expeditions that we’ll be keeping a close eye on this spring is Ueli Steck’s attempt to summit both Everest and Lhotse in a single push. As most of you probably already know, the two mountains stand next to one another, and are joined by a single long and difficult ridge that sits above 8000 meters (26,246 ft). That means that any climber attempting the double summit will be above the so called “death zone” for an extended period of time, although Steck has shown his ability to move quickly and tolerate the challenges of thin are at altitude in the past.

In a nutshell, here is Ueli’s plan. The Swiss climber has already done some acclimatization in Nepal this winter, and has been preparing int he Alps too. But, he’ll still have to allow his body to adjust to the altitude before he begin the climb. To that end, he’ll depart for Kathmandu this Saturday, April 8. After handling some logistics in the city and finishing his gear prep, he’ll then head out to the Khumbu Valley to being the trek to Base Camp.

Once he is fully acclimatized and ready to begin the traverse, Ueli will first depart BC for Camp 1 just like everyone else. He’ll make his way up the Hornbein Couloir on his way to the summit of Everest, before descending back down to the South Col at 8000 meters. From there he’ll traverse the ridge between Everest and Lhotse and climb another couloir along Denis Urubko’s route before approaching the 8511 meter (27,923 ft) summit of Lhotse. From there, he’ll descend along the standard route to Camp 2 for rest, before crossing the Khumbu Icefall and returning to Base Camp.

* source: –  Himalaya Spring 2017: Ueli Steck Shares Everest-Lhotse Traverse Plans

** see also –  Winter Climbs 2017: Messner Visits Txikon in Base Camp on Everest.

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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Everest 2017: Looking Back Before We Look Forward.

Autor : Kraig Becker

The 2017 spring climbing season on Everest is about a month from getting underway at this point. The first teams will begin arriving in Kathmandu around the end of March, with more streaming into Nepal – and eventually Tibet – in the early days of April. For most, it will be a two-month long adventure, during which they will be attempting to reach the summit of the highest mountain on the planet. Right now, those climbers are putting the final touches on their preparation, organizing their gear, and starting to look ahead to the challenges to come. But, before we also look ahead to the season that is now fast approaching, it might be appropriate to first look back at seasons past.

Our friend Alan Arnette has been covering Everest for 15 years, and is now gearing up for the 2017 season as well. Over the past decade and a half, he has offered some of the best insights and commentary on the evolving climbing scene, which has undergone a lot of change since he penned his first blog. To start his coverage this year, Alan has written an excellent post in which he looks back at each of the seasons from 2010 through 2016.

If you follow Everest closely, you probably already know that some of those years were amongst the most unusual and tumultuous ever. For instance, 2013 was when the now infamous brawl took place on the Lhotse Face between a group of Sherpas and a team of prominent European climbers. At the time, that incident shocked the mountaineering community and sparked debates about who was wrong and who was right. The following two seasons, 2014 and 2015, were marred by tragedy with significant loss of life both years. Those seasons also ended abruptly, with climbers and Sherpas leaving the mountain.

To wrap up this blog post and set the scene for the season ahead, Alan has also posted his thoughts on what he thinks 2017 will be like. He predicts a record number of summits, but also expects disorganization on both the North and South Sides of the mountain. There will be more new operators guiding clients on Everest this year, many of whom will be inexperienced. Additionally, more climbers are also flocking to the Himalaya as prices for climbing continue to drop. That inexperience could show through as well.

The article, which you can read in full here, is a good introduction to the current climate on Everest. It also sets the stage nicely for what is to come. In a few short weeks, I’ll begin my regular Everest coverage as well, and as usual it promises to be another interesting year.

* source: –Everest 2017: Looking Back Before We Look Forward

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Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

Autor : Kraig Becker

The start of the 2017 spring climbing season on Everest is still a couple of months off, but already there are climbers, guides, and Everest junkies all over the world who are gearing up for its start. Amongst them is mountaineer/blogger Alan Arnette, who always follows the climbing scene on the Big Hill closely and provides excellent insights as to what to expect and thoughts on events as they are developing. With a new season on the horizon, Alan is currently looking ahead and says that we can expect big things this year.

In an article posted to his blog yesterday, Alan says that 2017 is looking like a year for the record books. Two months before the first climbers start to arrive in Kathmandu, he is already predicting a record number of summits and many new climbers in Base Camp. This is in part because of the low cost operators who have begun taking over the mountain. This has allowed an influx of climbers from India and China in particular, and since those operators don’t mind dealing with large groups of clients. In some cases, more than 100 at a time.

But beyond that, there are a number of stories to watch this year that should prove of interest. For instance, Alan notes (as we have here at The Adventure Blog) that Ueli Steck is planning to return to attempt an Everest-Lhotse Traverse. He also mentions the Indian survey team that will be measuring the current height of Everest to see if the 2015 earthquake has had an impact on that number. And as if that wasn’t enough, Alan also notes that Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan will be on the mountain in an attempt to set a new record for the oldest person to summit. At the age of 86, Min Bahadur says he is still in good shape and ready to go.

Of course, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of storylines and drama that we’ll see on Everest this spring. As always, it will be a never ending source of inspiration and motivation, and probably a bit of controversy along the way too. It wouldn’t be Everest otherwise. Stay tuned for regular reports throughout the spring as events unfold.

* source: – Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

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