Showing posts with label Ama Dablam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ama Dablam. Show all posts

Himalaya Fall 2016: Avalanche on Ama Dablam Claims Life of Sherpa

Sad news from the Himalaya today where it was revealed that an avalanche on Ama Dablam has claimed the life of a Sherpa and injured a foreign climber. The avalanche was caused by ongoing seismic activity in the region, with a 5.6 magnitude earthquake causing the slide.

The 13-member team launched its summit bid this past weekend with the hopes of topping out on the 6812-meter (22,349 ft) Ama Dablam tomorrow. They were hiking up from Camp II to Camp III this morning when the accident occurred.

Reportedly, heavy snow rolled down the mountain, striking the climbers on the slopes. Most of the team was left with minor injuries, including bruises and scrapes, but Lakpa Thundu Sherpa suffered internal injuries and was airlifted from Camp III to Lukla for medical assistance, but unfortunately he succumbed to those injuries while in the mountain town.

The Himalayan Times also reports that a British national by the name of Ciaran Hill was also injured in the accident. The extent of those injuries has not been revealed, but the climber was airlifted off the mountain and returned to Kathmandu for treatment.

The remainder of the team reached Camp III and are now deciding whether or not they should continue upwards, or retreat to Base Camp and head home. It is not uncommon for a team to pull the plug on their expedition following the loss of a teammate, but for now they seem to be weighing their options.

The fall climbing season is slowly grinding to a halt, and it won't be too long before all expeditions come to an end. Winter weather is approaching the Himalaya, and now most of the mountains will close until the spring. Ama Dablam is often considered a good tune-up peak before trying some of the taller mountains in the area. It is generally considered quite safe, although the altitude can play a role in the health of climbers. In this case, it was an unexpected earthquake – an aftershock of the one that occurred in April of 2015 – that caused the avalanche to begin in the first place. Fortunately, there were no other major casualties nor was their extensive damage in the area.

My condolences to the friends and family of Lakpa Sherpa. Also, we'll keep our fingers crossed that Hill recovers fully from his injuries as well.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Summit Push Begins on Ama Dablam

The fall climbing season on the 8000-meter peaks in the Himalaya are all but over, but there is still plenty of action taking place in Nepal on other mountains. Most of the ongoing expeditions are small and relatively off the radar, with some squarely focused on putting up the first ascents on several unclimbed peaks. But, one popular mountain is about to get extremely busy as a large number of climbers launch their summit push.

Yesterday, the rope-fixing Sherpas on Ama Dablam reached the summit after waiting out poor weather conditions all of last week. The team of six mountain guides worked from Camp 2 on the mountain all the way to the 6812-meter (22,349 ft) summit in a single push, clearing the way for commercial teams that have been waiting in the wings. Now, with the ropes installed, it looks like there will be a mass summit push will begin in the next few days.

According to The Himalayan Times, more than 400 climbers will now move up from Base Camp to get into position to reach the summit. 200 of those alpinists are foreign climbers, while the others mostly consist of guides, high altitude porters, and the like. 

It is unclear at this time exactly when the summit push will be completed, but with good weather in the forecast it seems like it should take place within the next few days. Unlike expeditions on other big Himalayan peaks, it doesn't take weeks to acclimatize on Ama Dablam, nor does it take numerous days to top out. Once the push begins, the summit should be very busy  a few days later. 

Ama Dablam is one of the most distinct mountains in the Khumbu Valley, with climbers and trekkers passing by on their way to Everest Base Camp. The beautiful peak is a good place for climbers to get valuable experience for what it is like to climb in the Himalaya prior to moving on to one of the 8000-meter peaks. For my money, it is still one of the most beautiful mountains that I have ever personally seen with my own eyes, creating a very memorable view on the trail to EBC.

Good luck to everyone heading up the mountain in the next few days. Get up and down safely and quickly, and enjoy the walk. 

Video: Take a Tour of a Himalayan Base Camp

Ever wonder what it is like to live in Base Camp on a Himalayan climb? Than you'll definitely want to watch this video. It takes us to 15,000 feet (4572 meters) on Ama Dablam, where Adrian Ballinger of Alpenglow Expeditions takes us on a tour of BC. While obviously located in a remote – and very scenic – location, you might be surprised at how comfortable and accommodating Base Camp life can be.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Progress on Lhotse, Looking ahead to Nanga Parbat in Winter

The fall climbing season in Nepal is slowly grinding to a halt. Not many teams remain in the mountains now, and the poor weather conditions that have persisted throughout the autumn continue to make things difficult. While one team continues to labor away on an 8000 meter peak, another begins looking forward to the winter season ahead.

We've finally received an update from the South Korean team on Lhotse, and they have made some progress, despite very high winds on the mountain. According to ExWeb, the team has now established Camp 4 at 8000 meters (26,246 ft). They had attempted to set camp at 8100 meters, but winds in excess of 70 km/h (43 mph) made it impossible to keep the tents standing. They were able to find some shelter a bit lower power, which is where the squad is now as they wait for an opportunity to go up. The winds may not allow for that to happen though, as reportedly the strong gusts are impacting the entire mountain, including Base Camp.

The plan now is to wait and see if a weather window will come. The team is prepared to wait for a few days and watch the forecasts. Considering how late in the season it now is, this will likely be there last chance to summit, but they're not prepared to give up just yet.

Over on Annapurna IV, the Polish team has decided to pull the plug on their attempt to summit that mountain along a new route. The big wall that they were attempting to climb was already difficult enough, but it is now gotten even more difficult due to avalanche conditions. Early in the season, the squad saw great weather and felt confident that their expedition would succeed. But as they prepared to launch their summit bid, conditions on the the mountain took a turn for the worse, with heavy snow dropping along the Southwest Wall that they had planned to climb. The team stayed in BC hoping for a shift in weather, but it never came. Now, they will pack their bags and go home, although they do feel they managed to get some good intel from the route. Perhaps they'll return to give it another go in the future.

Late last week, 76-year old Spanish climber, Carlos Soria reached the summit of Ama Dablam. The 6812 meter (22,349 ft) peak is often used as a tune-up for bigger mountains in the Himalaya, but considering Carlos' resume, he wasn't there for a tune-up of any kind. Still, his team managed to top out in good weather conditions, which is no small feat considering how difficult the fall season has been. Congrats to him and all of his companions on a job well done.

Finally, the fall season may not be quite over yet, but some climbers are already looking ahead to winter. Among them, Spanish climber Alex Txikon, who has announced his plans to return to Nanga Parbat once again. He'll be joined by Ferran Latorre, Daniele Nardi, Ali Sadpara, and Janusz Golab, as the entire squad sets out for Pakistan in late December. The plan will be to reach the mountain as winter official sets in, and start the climb immediately. They are planning to attempt the Kinshofer Route on the Diamir Face, and are preparing to be there until the end of February.

You may recall that the 8126 meter (26,660 ft) peak is one of only two 8000-meter mountain that have to be climbed in winter – K2 being the other. They will likely not be the only team on Nanga this winter, as it has been a prime candidate for a first ascent for some time. Alex hopes to build on the experience his team – which included Ali and Daniele – from last year to finally reach the top.

That's all for today. More to come as any news breaks. Right now, that looks like it will most likely come from Lhotse, although there are a few other expeditions still ongoing as well.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Summits on Ama Dablam, Waiting on Lhotse, and Conrad Anker on Lunag-Ri

The past few days have been busy ones in the Himalaya, with a number of teams on the move as they work towards their goals, even as the season starts to wind down. There aren't too many climbing days left in the big mountains this fall, so climbers are trying to take advantage of them while they can. As a result, there has been some late season success, with possibly more to come.

Late last week, two members of Lonnie Dupre's Vertical Nepal team topped out on Ama Dablam. The group had spent a couple of weeks volunteering in the region before climbing Kyajo Ri at the end of October, which all helped to acclimatize them for the attempt on this mountain. But with a couple of members of the team feeling under the weather, and wind speeds picking up dramatically, only climber Elias de Andrés and a Sherpa named Phurba went to the summit. They managed to complete their ascent at 7:45 AM local time last Friday, before descending back to Base Camp. The squad has now left the mountain and are already volunteering in Lukla.

Elsewhere, we're now awaiting word from Lhotse on the progress of the South Korean team there. Last week the group had fixed the ropes up the mountain to Camp 3, and were preparing to make a summit push based on weather reports that indicated a window would be opening this week. They had expected to go up the mountain this past weekend, reaching Camp 4 on Saturday. The plan is to then work at installing ropes above that point with the expectation of summiting on Thursday (Nov. 12) of this week.

Unfortunately, there has been no update yet to indicate if things are going according to plan. The team has not updated its Facebook page, although that could simply be because they are in the midst of the planned summit push, and don't have the means of sharing their progress. Either way, since the deadline for their final attempt is nearing, we should know more later in the week.

Meanwhile, Bill Burke has shared an update from Burke-Khang, the unclimbed peak that was named in his honor. The team hoping to make the first ascent of the 6941 meter (22,775 ft) peak have now moved up to Camp 1 and are beginning their acclimazation rotations. At the moment, all seems to be going according to plan, and even the weather is cooperating. They'll need a few more days of preparation to allow their bodies to get use to the thinner air, but they should be preparing for a summit bid short as well.

Bill reports that the climb from ABC to C1 was a tough one, as they gained more than 2500 feet (762 meters), on a wall that was often at an angle of about 70º, and was covered in snow, rock, and ice. In other words, Burke-Khang may not be the tallest mountain in the region, but it isn't easy either. And considering they don't know what awaits for them as the move up, there are likely more unexpected challenges ahead.

Over on Annapurna IV, a team of Polish climbers is acclimatizing for a summit push on that mountain. They report good weather conditions after a fall that has been filled with lots of snow and high winds. The squad also reports that time is running out for a summit push, but they are now ready to go when an extended weather window opens. If that happens, they'll set out for what they hope is a fast ascent.

Finally, Conrad Anker has returned to Nepal to attempt an unclimbed route up the Northwest Face of Lunag-Ri with David Lama. The peak is 6895 meters (22,261 ft) in height, and offers some interesting challenges for the two very experienced climbers. They set out for Nepal this past weekend, and should be in Kathmandu now, and preparing for the start of their climb. It is a late season expedition to say the least, but as Conard tells Nat Geo Adventure in this interview, he once climbed Ama Dablam on Christmas Day, and the conditions were perfect. In other words, he's not too concerned about what the date the calendar says.

That's all for today. More updates to come soon as these final expeditions continue to unfold.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Ueli Steck and Kilian Jornet Share Nuptse Base Camp

Just a quick update today from the Himalaya to shed a little more light on the amazing scene we caught a glimpse of in yesterday's post on the ongoing climbing operations in Nepal at the moment. It may have slipped under the radar for some readers who skimmed by that story, but two of the best alpine athletes in the world were actually sharing Base Camp on Nuptse over the past few days.

Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck and Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet met up in the Himalaya and had the opportunity to spend a bit of time together. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, these two men could compose quite the "Dream Team" of climbing if they were ever to team up on a project. Ueli is probably the better climber of the two, but Kilian is probably the faster man in the mountains. Both are known for their speed however, and have accomplished amazing things in the Alps, Himalaya, and beyond.

Ueli commented on the back that both men were in BC on Nuptse in a Facebook post. He said:
"We had a great day today. Colin and Ben went have a look at Nuptse on the lower part. Helias Kilian and myself did a little tour climbing. Its just great to hang out with this Guys. Very inspiring to me. And the hope for Nuptse is still alive!"
The other people that is speaking of include Colin Haley, his climbing partner on Nuptse, Ben Guiguonnet, and Hélias Millerioux, two young French mountain guides who staged a dramatic first ascent on Siula Chico, and are now hoping to find a new route up Nuptse as well.

As for Kilian, he appears to be back in the Himalaya simply to enjoy some time in the mountains. He has not announced any major plans for while he is there, and does't appear to have any intentions of climbing any big peaks. He is perhaps doing a bit of training to prepare for the spring 2016 season, where he will most likely attempt a speed record once again on Everest. This year that attempt was cut short when the April 25 earthquake brought an end to all climbing expeditions on the mountain.

Is there a chance we could see Ueli and Kilian team up in the future? Anything seems possible, and I believe there is a great deal of mutual respect between these two athletes. As I said above, this would be quite a team, and I'm sure fans of both men would like to see it happen. Only time will tell.

In other climbing news, 76 year old Spanish climber Carlos Soria is back in the Himalaya this fall, although he isn't there to take on an 8000 meter peak this time out. Instead, he hopes to climb Ama Dablam, the striking peak that is viewed so prominently throughout the Khumbu Valley. The mountain is 6812 meters (22,349 ft) in height, and is often used as a warm-up for other big climbs in the region, something Carlos doesn't really need.

That's all from the Himalaya today. More new soon I'm sure.

10 Ways Climbing Mountains Will Enrich Your Lives

Here at The Adventure Blog we don't need to be told just how climbing a mountain can have a positive impact on your life, but it is nice to have it reaffirmed by other sources now and again. This morning while making my usual rounds on the Internet I came across an interesting list of 10 reasons why climbing mountains can enrich your life, and thought it was worth sharing here as well.

The list comes our way courtesy of a site called Sherpa Holidays, an adventure travel company in Nepal that can arrange trekking excursions to Annapurna and Everest, as well as jungle safaris and even expeditions to climb Ama Dablam.

Amongst the list of ten ways that climbing can enrich our lives are such benefits of improved fitness and health, as well as the bonds that are forged with the people you share your adventures with. The list also says that the mountains will help teach you how to be positive, and will show you how to be patient, persistent, and grateful as well. But perhaps my favorite entry on the list is that every mountain will teach you something, which just about any climber can attest to.

I won't spoil the whole list, but would encourage you to read it for yourself. It is fun, insightful, and inspirational all at the same time. It is also a good reminder in many ways why we love the outdoors in general, and the adventure and excitement that they bring to our lives.

Himalaya Fall 2014: Two More Lives Claimed as Deadly Climbing Season Continues

As the fall climbing season continues to grind to a halt in the Himalaya, we continue to get bad news out of Nepal. Today we learn that two more climbers lost their lives in separate incidences, as an incredibly sad, and dangerous, season continues in the big mountains.

The first death occurred on Ama Dablam, where several teams have been making late-season summit bids this past week. Yesterday, an avalanche rolled down the side of the mountain, claiming the life of one Sherpa guide, and injuring three foreign climbers. The Sherpa who was killed has been identified as 26-year old Dendi Sherpa, who was reportedly leading the team above Camp 2 at 6812 meters (22,349 ft) when the avalanche occurred. The other three members of the team – one Swiss, one Russian, and one Brit – were airlifted from the mountain back to Kathmandu, where they are reportedly in stable condition.

Meanwhile, an Italian climber by the name of Robert Gassary has died on Mt. Kyajari, a 6186 meter (20,295 ft) peak in the Khumbu Valley, not far from Everest. Reportedly, Gassary fainted while climbing up the mountain, and died immediately on the spot. The cause of his death has been ruled as altitude sickness.

These latest fatalities only extend what has been an extremely trying year in Nepal. From the avalanche on Everest that claimed 16 lives this past spring, to the massive blizzard that killed 43 a few weeks back, it has been an incredibly bad year in the Himalaya. With the season nearly over, lets hope that there will be no more deaths for the foreseeable future.

While we're sharing news from Nepal, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Korean team climbing on Lhotse. There has been no updates on their progress for a week and a half, and at this point the team's current status is unknown. When they last checked in, they were starting to shuttle gear to Camp 4 in preparation for a summit push, but they have not sent a dispatch since that time. Considering the poor weather that they have experienced since arriving on the mountain two months ago, it is possible that they are simply holed-up in Base Camp, and are waiting for a weather window to launch their summit bid. But, it is just as likely that they have decided to all it quits for the season, and head home. Hopefully we'll hear more soon.

That's all for now. I'll post any more updates as the news warrants.