Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /20/ – Week in Review.

5000+ ascents to date – that’s what the Everest counter clocked before closing a successful season before this With Himalaya folding and Karakoram heating up; last week brought a number of heated climbing debriefs along with a Pakistan kickoff. Other news at ExWeb included vertical blue records and a mutiny. Here goes!

Pakistan wrap-up With only 25 climbing permits issued for all peaks, this may be the quietest Karakoram summer yet. The Polish are already at work on Nanga Parbat; others are in Islamabad preparing to hit the Karakoram. Check ExWeb for some of the coolest attempts.

Teen sailing update: Abby back in business Abby Sunderland has been out to sea a little over two weeks after she left Cape Town. The new autopilot works like it should, but she still has a list of things she must repair. The last week has served her everything from storm, water inside the boat to glassy seas.

Ama Dablam debrief Back home in France, Philippe Gatta has posted a complete Ama Dablam summit report and pictures. He also had a few words of conclusion for ExplorersWeb: “I thought that with less people on the mountain, we would have less problems in high camps, but I was wrong.” Check the report at ExWeb.

Vertical Blue 2010: Trubridge and Nitsch Set New World Records New Zealander William Trubridge and Austrian Herbert Nitsch set two new world records in the free immersion (FIM) and constant weight (CWT) disciplines respectively during the Vertical Blue in the end of April. The new records where set during the Vertical Blue 2010 freediving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole.

Everest north side debrief Reports state that SummitClimb team member Peter Kinloch, 28, died on Everest after a Sherpa team failed to help him down in storm conditions. Other north side climbers are nursing frostbite back home. Check the report at ExWeb.

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /19/ – Week in Review.

5000+ ascents to date – that’s what the Everest counter clocked before closing a successful season before this Memorial weekend. A majority of climbers made it in the final wave, including serial-summiteers such as record-westerner Dave Hahn (12th E top) and SeracFilm’s Michael Brown. Climbers were lost and rescued, while Chad’s speed attempt got stuck in lines on the Balcony. Check all details at ExWeb before the spotlight moves to Karakoram. In other news:

Makalu It’s over for the British Forces team, who finally retreated from the rarely climbed SE ridge. A French expedition summited Makalu from the normal route on May 23rd, Marty Schmidt made it on the 24th descending with the three Ukrainian summiteers who topped out via a new route on the SW face.

Cho Oyu SummitClimb, Adventure Peaks and the Baltic United team (w/o 02) Saulius Vilius, Allan Valge and Tanel Tuuleveski all bagged the peak.

Shisha Pangma German skiers reported they’d try a last-ditch attempt mid last week.

Tracking Explorers: beyond SPOT’s reach – meet Solara Tiny and affordable a SPOT tracker is the “it” thing in Himalaya right now. Globalstar’s satellite system lacks 100% coverage of the globe though, so for transmissions of positions in polar areas as well as much of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans an Iridium based system is a must. Check out ExWeb’s tech review of Solara.

Hero in the making: First Indian to circumnavigate Naval officer Dilip Donde just returned from a full solo circumnavigation as the first Indian national. He did it in the first fiberglass produced Indian sailing yacht – the 56 feet INSV Mhadei.

Erden Eruc update: Cycling Southern Australia In his world circumnavigation, Erden continued cycling around southern Australia westwards towards Perth. He crossed Australia’s longest straight road and Nullarbor Plain, a treeless limestone area of 200,000 km2, and travelled along the Bunda Cliffs that drops vertically into the Southern Ocean averaging 90m.

First Norwegians through Northeast Passage since Amundsen In the summer of 2009 the three Norwegians Trond Aasvoll, Hans Fredrik Haukland and Finn Andreassen left Vardø, just by the Russian border, with an ambition to sail both the Northeast and Northwest Passage in on summer. But Russian officials and paperwork stopped half their dream.

ExWeb interview: Ousland to sail round the North Pole Norwegian Børge Ousland is famous for his expeditions on ice. This summer he is hoping for as little ice as possible as he and his partner Thorleif Thorleifsson will try to circumnavigate the North Pole under sail in one season. So far no one has managed to do that.

ExWeb interview with Christian Eide, “Training in advance, skis on the sledges and a strict daily routine” Christian Eide and his Team Latitude crossed the Greenland Ice Cap in 14 days and 16 hours. “Not a record, but still a good time for 11 persons,” Christian said to ExplorersWeb. He explained what contributed to their success, about his sled modification and the conditions on Greenland.

ExWeb interview with Ian Couch and Ben Thackwray The 2 Greenland skiers teamed up for the first time on a row boat across the mid Atlantic in 2007-08 and made 2 attempts to break the speed record along the horizontal crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap. Ian Couch rowed 3x across the oceans and talked to ExWeb about the importance of the crew’s personalities and the similarities & differences between rowing & polar skiing.

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /18/ – Week in Review.

Mount Everest has had a large number of summits from both sides. Among the major events: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner – in her 13th no-O2 8000er, Jordan Romero, 13, Apa Sherpa in his 20th Everest summit, Silvio Mondinelli, Abele Blanc, etc. On the third day of the current summit wave, wind has spiked and teams are describing tough conditions. Pushes and summits are reported also from Cho Oyu and word just arrived from RussianClimb that the Ukrainians summited Makalu via a new route. Go to ExplorersWeb for all the details. In other news:

Dhaulagiri inferno: Air Rescue Mission debrief A Chinese expedition on Dhaulagiri reached the summit by nightfall and had to force a bivouaq through the stormy night. In an ensuing inferno three of the climbers lost their lives. A frantic effort by Fishtail Air and Air Zermatt rescued the survivors; read their report.

Annapurna Both Iranian Ehsan Partovi-Nia and S. Korean Park Young-Seok have called it quits on Annapurna.

Shisha Pangma summit debrief and pics: Edurne Pasaban ultimate 8000er “I just can’t assume the fact that I am done,” Edurne Pasaban told ExplorersWeb from BC after bagging Shisha at last. Together with Asier Izaguirre, Alex Txicon, Nacho Orbiz and sherpas, Pasaban climbed in rather light style, pitching three camps on the way up to her 14th 8000er.

Lhotse: Kazakhs on top! Kazakhs Maxut Zhumayev, Vassiliy Pivtsov and Vlad Chekhlov summited Lhotse in what became the 13th 8000er for both Maxut and Vassily Pivtsov. As usual, Denis Urubko went his own way and opened a new route on the mountain sans 02.

Christian Bodegren Sahara Desert update: Leaving the camels and the desert The Swede brought his Sahara Desert crossing to a halt due to raising temperatures. Before leaving Christian had to sell his camels.

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /17/ – Week in Review.

Both sides of Everest were summited today, with a large number of climbers topping out the south side. Among them Carina Raiha, calling from the top to the president of Finland. Summit pushes are underway also on other 8000ers. Teen Jessica Watson arrived in Sydney to a hero’s welcome.

Everest summits Both sides of Everest were summited today, with a large number of climbers and sherpa topping out the south side around 8 am local time. Peak Freaks climbers, Summit Climb (Wiktor Mazur), Hanesbrands’ Scottie and Jamie Clarke, Kenton Cool (bagged his 8th summit), Loben Expeditions Basanta Singha Roy and Debasish Biswas from the Mountaineers’ Assocation of Krishnagar (the first private club from India to have their members on top of Everest), team Malta and Carina Raiha were all among the summiteers in the past hours. Carina spoke from the top to the president of Finland as the first female Everest summiteer from the country. More climbers are en route to the top, in a slow climb due to traffic. Adventure Consultants reported about 60 climbers in today’s summit push, with another 60 to follow in a second wave tomorrow.

Sean Disney of Adventure Dynamics reported that the Chinese rope team fixed the route to the summit 1.45 pm on Everest north side today. This is the first Everest north side summit this season.

Weather update Weather forecasts showed high winds with a small drop today, Sunday. Some climbers reported nice weather and little wind but already from early Monday morning wind is forecasted to pick up again. Both Meteo Exploration and Expedition Weather show high to very high winds May 17-21 (range 10-25m/s at 8500 meter level) with lower winds starting May 21/22 (range 2 m/s to 15 m/s).

Shisha Pangma summit push Edurne, Al Filo and Mario Panzeri’s Italian expedition are leading a joint summit push on Shisha Pangma north side, followed by a second Spanish group led by J. Ramón de Madariaga and Mexican Jorge Salazar. Al Filo has no high camps set on the mountain above camp 2; they will pitch tents as they go and plan to continue up the normal route through Sunday. From a last, 3rd camp, they are considering to follow Iñaki Ochoa variation route instead of the summit ridge. “Iñaki’s route is longer and exposed in some sections, but leads right to the Main top,” Edurne explained. “Besides, finishing my 14x8000ers project on his route would be just – beautiful.”

Dhaulagiri Austrians Stephan Keck and Paul Gürtler planned to start their summit push on Dhaula last week. The two climbers use no Sherpa support or O2, and hope to ski down from the summit. “The Chinese team is joining us until C3; the Swiss team will set off in 4-5 days,” Stephan reported Monday.

Cho Oyu High winds were reported also from Cho Oyu. SummitClimb reported that lots of the smaller teams were leaving the mountain due to bad weather and also because the route had not been established above camp 3. “There are 6 or 7 expeditions left on the mountain,” Max explained. “We’re trying to do negotiations to fix the route because it looks like we are going to have to do it ourselves.”

Lhotse update Serguey Duganov perished on May 7 at 7800 meters during descent. The Russian summit push was led by Alexei Bolotov and in addition to Serguey Duganov, it included veteran top climbers Gennady Kirievsky, Nickolay Totmjanin and Vladimir Belous.

Alert: Trekker Aubrey Sacco missing in Nepal American Aubrey Sacco, 23, is missing after a solo, week-long trek in the region of Langtang, Nepal. Aubrey began her trek on April 20 and was scheduled to return on or around April 30, but her family has not heard from her since her check-in at Dhunche on April 20.

Pakistan 2010 season preview, take 2: (a few) more teams apply for climbing permit In addition to added costs and financial security requirements imposed by the government; the global money crunch and political unrest are reducing Pakistan outfitters’ client base. Barely one month before season kick-off, only 29 teams have applied for climbing permits.

New fees and regulations strain battered tour operators in Pakistan A new set of guarantee & renewal fees now make survival even tougher for local expedition outfitters.

Teen wars: Everest record climber caught car-surfing Big Bear Lake resident Jordan Romero is weathering the winds in BC hoping to summit Everest at the ripe age of 13. The biggest headlines in US media were however stolen Friday by Malibu teenager Johnny Strange, who climbed the Seven Summits at age 17 last year. Johnny was reportedly caught car-surfing on the roof of a white BMW SUV along Pacific Coast Highway.

K2 and Karokoram tech last minute check-list The last-minute Everest tech list published in March proved popular so last week there was an encore, this time with target K2 and Karakoram.

Summit? The proof is in the… SPOT Verifiying summits has been an increasing problem in Himalaya. Lately, the tiny 150 gram SPOT tracker has offered to become a great back-up to traditional summit proof. Together with head mounted cameras, Spot is the “thing of the year” in Himalaya.

UPDATE: Exweb Week in Review May 17, 2010

Lena Laletina at RussianClimb.com reports that Kazakh star mountaineer Denis Urubko climbed a new route on Lhotse today.

On Dhaulagiri, Stephan and Paul reported a horrible climb in strong wind that they finally aborted. Xinhua reported that the Chinese mountaineers encountered bad weather after summitting the peak Wednesday, but one climber died and four others were severely injured. Rescue efforts are underway.

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /16/ – Week in Review.

A Sherpa crew topped-out Everest last week along with Himex guide Adrian Ballinger who decided to join the push after bolting parts of the route. Peak Freaks member Lucille de Beaudrap reportedly summitted later with Domhnall O’Doughartaigh and two Sherpa. A Russian Lhotse summit push reportedly resulted in an accident but details are unclear. A forecasted weather window might kick off summit attempts on Shisha Pangma and new pushes on Everest this week.

Lhotse The large Russian team led by Alexey Bolotov began the summit bid late last week. Fatalities have been reported but are yet to be confirmed. The Kazakhs recovered the remains of their mate Serguey Samoilov, perished on the mountain last year. A decision is yet to be made on whether to bury the body in C2 or transport it down to BC.

Makalu After setting up C2 on the SE ridge, four members in the British Armed Forces expedition walked American Chris Warner, ill with serious respiratory problems, down to BC. The Ukrainians have reached the West Ridge and set C4.

Manaslu The expected weather window didn´t last for Carlos Soria and team on Manaslu – they reached C3 in a snowstorm and had to pitch their tent on unstable ice. They retreated back to BC and called the expedition off. Oscar Cadiach will stay and hope for another chance, possibly joining other teams.

Shisha Pangma “The risk/reward balance is wrong, and funnily for the first time in my life I feel afraid of dying,” Mark Hose wrapped his Shisha experience. Since the increased check of true summits, Shisha Pangma has become a tough nut to crack most climbers agree. Still, summit pushes are on this week. Edurne Pasaban and Mario Panzeri teams chose Wednesday as departure day, hoping to reach Shisha Pangma main summit on Sunday. “Weather conditions may also be OK on Monday,” Meteorologist Vitor Baia told Edurne. “It will provide good conditions for descent or an extra summit day if needed.”

Annapurna: Iranian Ehsan Partovi-Nia climbed to C2 on Annapurna’s north side on Saturday to check conditions on the route to C3. An Italian climber had a minor accident on Wednesday, Ehsan said, while a Japanese expedition has left for R&R in Pokhara after a few attempts to reach C3.

Ama Dablam French Philippe Gatta summited Ama Dablam via the SW ridge in rough conditions. With only 6 people on the mountain, Philippe climbed on his own from 6350m after his partner Jean-Marc Wojcik turned back.

Baruntse “I’m an underdog, a guy from Tennessee that comes to the Himalayas every year and pioneers something to no fanfare or avail,” a frustrated Ben Clark reported from Baruntse BC on Monday after breaking his ankle in a fall. “Finally, after all I have learned and taken from these mountains… they have given me something that I can’t ever forget; real pain, real suffering and real luck. The depth of true loss that comes with that is irreplaceable, (massive monetary investment, time and health) a new low that can only go up from here!”

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /15/ – Week in Review.

This past week was all about Annapurna with 24/7 coverage by ExWeb staff and volunteers. Other news involved a brand new Himalaya heli rescue service and an avalanche on Everest. Here goes a fast wrap of what has been up and what’s ahead.

Annapurna: The final summit push took place in spiking wind. But Annapurna had 19 summits in one day – a record number. That included two new 14x8000ers summiteers: Korean Miss Oh – live on KBS TV network- as the first woman in the world to ever achieve the feat, and Polish Piotr Pustelnik, bagging Anna at last. Other summiteers were Slovak Peter Hamor, Polish Kinga Baranowska, Russians Bogomolov and Vinogradsky, Spaniards Carlos Pauner, Juanito Oiarzabal, Tolo Calafat, Jorge Egocheaga, Martin Ramos, and Romanian Horia Colibasanu. Unfortunately, another record number was due: as the seventh straight year with casualties on the mountain. Descent was hard on everyone with several cases of altitude problems and frostbite. The exhausted Spanish Tolo Calafat passed away after two days in the open at 7600 meters. In vain, a Sherpa searched for the climber for 11 hours carrying O2 and supplies. A heli search was also unsuccessful.

Nepalese Fishtail Air and Swiss Air Zermatt rescue chopper airlifted all climbers who remained in C4 (7000 meters) – Carlos Pauner, Juanito Oiarzabal and Horia Colibasanu – in the highest longline rescue in history. This was the new operation’s second record rescue in one week. The first missions took them to Kyajo Ri, where the body of a Danish climber was recovered, while earlier last week on Manaslu 7 Korean climbers were rescued from 6,500m, with one missing and one confirmed dead. The chopper showed up just hours after the Koreans called SOS. “It’s been an amazing feat,” Spaniards on the mountain commented.

But it wasn’t over for Miss Oh: Instead of savouring the joy of becoming the world’s first 14x8000ers lady summiteer, Korean Oh Eun-Sun is having a tough time. Miss Hawley has decided that her Kangchenjunga summit will remain “disputed” until Edurne changes her mind; while the Korean lady also fights criticism from Annapurna. Today Monday Miss Oh and Black Yak rejected all accusations, stating they cut no rope and also that they can only ask, not force, their sherpas to aid in a rescue.

Everest north side: A Hungarian climber escaped an avalanche which sadly took his climbing mate. The search for Irvine has gone undercover while on the north face, Gerlinde and Ralf are facing the first difficulties.

Everest south side: Simone and Denis fixing the route to the summit this week? Simone Moro, Aldo Garioni and Denis Urubko took a chopper back to Kathmandu for some rest and thick air. The three planned for an early summit push on O2, ahead of other teams including the rope fixing sherpas. What happens after that is still up in the air.

ExWeb editorial: brave new Everest for a changing market A report stating that it has been decided on Everest south side that no western climbers are allowed on the mountain while sherpas fix the route spurred ExWeb founder Tina Sjogren to design a new strategy for changing times.

Dhaulagiri: Iranian summits reported Iran Mountain Zone reported that Iran’s national expedition topped out Dhaulagiri April 26th.

Other Himalayan peaks: Park Young-Seok has abandoned his original plan to open an entirely new route and is instead eyeing a variation of the Bonington route on the south side of Annapurna. Chris Warner and Marty Schmidt have changed their plans on Makalu. A big British Expedition, attempting the SE ridge for the third time with Sherpas and bottled oxygen, are reportedly doing well so far on the mountain while the large, well organized Ukrainian team has been fighting for every meter on the SW Face. 6 or 7 expeditions are on the normal route. On Shisha Pangma, Mario Panzeri’s team is ready for a summit push once the weather settles, possibly together with the Al Filo team. “Right after Annapurna, it feels weird to celebrate another puja in yet another BC,” Edurne reported. “We were following the drama on Annapurna, feeling it very close and yet too far away (we couldn´t go there and help) but now at last I’m focused on the climb ahead.”

Latest news: Philippe Gatta summited Ama Dablam yesterday in pretty rough conditions. Russians have launched a summit push on Lhotse while it’s over for Ben Clark on Baruntse.

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Himalaya 2010 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /14/ – Week in Review.

According to Black Yak, Eun-Sun Oh set off for her summit push this morning between 2:00 and 3:00 am. According to veteran Himalaya forecaster Javier G. Corripio a spike in the winds is expected today. Most other climbers reported from C3/C4 during Sunday/Monday, planning to join the push.

In other news: a dark horse couple reaches the North Pole as the only unsupported team following a hairy last trek; an incredible air rescue on Manaslu this morning; and young sailor Abby Sunderland ends her record attempt.

More dark clouds mounting on Anna summit push; Miss Oh’s Kanchen summit “disputed” after renewed accusations Rumor began spreading last week in Spanish media: Edurne Pasaban told a “journalist friend” about a Sherpa stating that Miss Oh never reached the summit of Kangchenjunga last year. Pasaban and her team passed their doubts also to Miss Hawley, who said she would continue to include Oh’s 2009 Kanchenjunga ascent in the database, but would describe it as “disputed” in future editions. Miss Oh’s sponsoring Black Yak answered with a heated press release, while the climber herself deals with high winds and summit push on Annapurna, her last 8000er.

Teen girls sail update: Abby ending non-stop attempt Within close to 100 days of her record attempt and before the next big waypoint, Cape Aghulas in South Africa, Abby made her decision: “I am going to be pulling into Cape Town for repairs thus ending my non-stop attempt,” she wrote.

Air Zermatt + Fishtail Air first rescues on Kyajo Ri and Manaslu Air Zermatt of Switzerland and Fishtail Air of Nepal have joined forces to provide the first Himalayan standby helicopter rescue service in history. The first missions took them to Kyajo Ri, where the body of a Danish climber was recovered, and Manaslu, with 1 dead climber, 1 missing and 7 rescued.

Tente Lagunilla on Manaslu rescues: “The Impossible has happened today” The Spanish on Manaslu witnessed an aerial rescue performed at 6,500m that saved seven lives earlier today. The chopper showed up just hours after a Korean team called SOS. “It’s been an amazing feat,” Spaniards said.

Himalaya wrap-up: The Icelandic ash cloud had Himalaya bound teams stuck in London. On Iceland, one Everest summiteer and a polar skier came much closer than that. On Everest and Lhotse, teams were in stand-by mode while Sherpas fixed the route to Camp 3. No Guts Know Glory West Canada team member John O’Shaughnessy reports for ExplorersWeb straight from Everest south side Base Camp.

Dhaulagiri newsflash: Iranian summits “In the 50th anniversary of Dhaula’s first ascent by a Swiss/Austrian expedition, Iran’s national expedition topped out Dhaulagiri early this morning, April 26th,” Iran Mountain Zone reported.

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